Travel shaming. It’s a common thing in the midst of a pandemic. But honestly, it’s something that travel advisors have seen in its various forms for a long time.
Our teammate, Sara Newbury from Travel Leaders in Lewisburg Pennsylvania, was recently interviewed about her experiences with travel shaming. Here’s what she had to say…
Travel shaming seems to be the next polarizing topic: should I or shouldn’t I be traveling?
Experiencing travel shaming is coming in in 3 forms:
Direct travel shaming isn’t subtle. It’s your friend, relative or co-worker literally telling you that you shouldn’t be traveling or how dare you even think about going anywhere during a time like this.
Indirect travel shaming takes the passive-aggressive approach. “Well, if you think it’s wise to visit such and such place, just don’t come around me for 2 weeks after you get back.”
Internal travel shaming is an inner dialogue we might have where guilt sets in, like we need to hide our travel plans or risk being exposed for indecency.
I also found that travel shaming varies from state to state. States that have been super restrictive with longer lockdowns and travel bans have caused their own residents to question leaving home. These residents tend to directly shame travelers.
My approach is if I’m following all of the recommended CDC health and safety guidelines, then I’m doing my part. I don’t go out without a mask, I wash my hands for 20 seconds when soap and water are available, or I sanitize after touching anything while I’m out and about and at work. I try to keep my distance and avoid large gatherings. I’ll self-monitor for any symptoms and limit exposure if I’ve been to a hot spot area.
We cannot live in a bubble forever, so be mindful of your choices and wear a darn mask!
As I stated earlier, travel shaming has been around for longer than people might realize. The best example I can offer is when a client asks me if they should be traveling to Mexico because their friends and family tell them it’s not safe. Here we have direct travel shaming which leads to internal travel shaming. Which took place long before anyone had even heard of COVID-19.
Many people are familiar with TV personality, Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame and his voice narration of popular shows and specials such as “Deadliest Catch” and Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”. A few weeks ago a follower of Mike’s Facebook page wrote to him regarding his travels saying, “Is it really so important to film a television show in the midst of pandemic? Is it responsible of you to encourage this kind of behavior when infection rates are spiking? Don’t you watch the news? More and more cases every day – aren’t you concerned?” Mike’s answer to her question was simple: “Of course, I’m concerned. I’m just not petrified.” He went into an explanation of how he came to that conclusion and finished his response saying, “I’ve made a decision on how I wish to live my life. Sooner or later, you will too. We all will.”
The point I’m trying to make is that people need to make choices that they feel is best for them. If they are following safe practices, being vigilant about said practices, taking CDC and WHO guidelines seriously, and taking steps to ensure they are properly informed about their travel destination then they have every right to travel. It may not be what you choose to do. And that’s OK! You do YOU. Let them do THEM. Leave shaming out of it. It serves no purpose whatsoever.