As a traveller I meet a lot of people. And meeting people is always the highlight of my trips. Personally, no matter how beautiful the place is, it becomes forgettable without meeting awesome people on the way. And there are also not-so-awesome places that becomes unforgettable because of the people you meet. But with meeting fun people comes meeting people that you don’t simply get along with because of certain things they do…or say. It’s not that I hate them but they just say things that make me question their existence. Just kidding! So here are my major travel pet peeves.

Yours truly laughing at the silliness of these debates 🙂

1. Tourist vs Travellers Debate

We heard it all the time, we saw it in memes and has been a subject of discussions among so called “travel experts”. Apparently, there are categories for people who like selfies, visiting landmarks and eating at McDonald’s aka tourists vs people who like to “bask” in the moment, speak the local language and sleep on rat-infected accommodations to immerse oneself in local culture aka “travellers”. With the latter being more aggressive.

I get it. You sound cool when you can pronounce sawadee ka with perfect Thai accent and wearing your elephant pants make you look like a local. But since when we should dictate someone’s way to travel? I personally hate it. I sometimes cover several countries in short period of time and stay in nice hotels when I want it but also do slow travel, hang out with locals, visit ethnic tribes to study their way of living and stay in hostels. But my travel expert friend called me out for visiting a country for just a couple of days by asking me “are you a traveller or are you a tourist?” Like being a tourist is a bad thing and being a traveller is the hip thing. He thinks staying in bug-infested room and asking random strangers to let you in for the night are much cooler things that real travellers do whatever that means. Things that personally I won’t do because you know my safety is more important than being “cool” and because there’s no way I would sleep in bug-infested room when I can afford to stay in nicer places.

So what about letting people enjoy their way of travel whether it’s “touristy” or “real traveller’s” stuff? What’s with label anyway?

Me being a “tourist” in Taipei

2. Counting vs Not Counting Layover Countries

Ever heard of people dictate (yes they shove it on your throat) that you should not count layovers as a country you have been to. Because you only have been there for few hours. Therefore you haven’t seen the place in real sense. Even if you stepped outside of the airport, eat local food, talk to locals, seen some things – nope you’ve never been in that country. It will ruin their experience because they stayed longer and they think it’s unfair to them you count your less than 48 hours layover when they don’t count theirs. Yes, totally unfair to them.

So why not let people count their own numbers the way they want it? It’s not as if it’s a crime. And if that makes them happy, let them be.

Long layover in Tokyo where I ate my authentic ramen, rode Japanese trains and cross Shibuya. Pardon my haggard face. I travelled for more than 2 days on this trip alone.

3. The America vs US

People get annoyed by Americans addressing themselves as “from America” because you know America is a continent divided into to two, one is the North and the other one is the South. And so therefore Americans should say US and not America. Yes, you get an instant lecture in geography on your own country by experts. And as if it’s not enough, it will be followed by discussion which one is the proper term for Americans since it’s United States of America so therefore Americans should call themselves United Statesians of America or United State Americans – whatever you prefer as long as it’s not American. Because you know, in Brazil, they call themselves Brazilians, in Chile with Chileans etc etc and they are also Americans (coming from South America) but then don’t claim to be Americans.

What about this? Let people call themselves whatever they want and let them claim wherever in the world they’re from. For sure they know better what to call themselves and where they can identify from.

Apparently an almost similar situation some Austrians experienced, is when other people insist they are Australians  or Germans instead of Austrian. 

When in America 🙂

A post shared by Christine Rogador (@backpackingexecutive) on

4. Staying In vs Staying Out

Although it’s not as bad as the first three, I heard travellers complain about how someone love to stay in rather than go out. I get this. You spend money, you fly far away and you want to sleep inside the comfort of your hotel? Then why travel?

Well, what about minding your own business? Some people have their own level of comfort. Also you don’t know what’s their exact situation. When I’m travelling for too long, I miss a routine. So from time to time I would soak in my hotel room and watch movies to recuperate from all the walking and from all the stuff that “real” travellers do all day. There are other people that would prepare a staycation from time to time because you don’t know how stressful life is for some back home. Besides, as long as they are not asking you to pay for their trip, so what’s the deal?

One of the few times I just stayed in my hotel in China for the whole day because my room was so rad. I am somewhere in this picture 🙂

5. Taking Pictures vs Be In The Moment   

I love being in the moment more than anything else. For me, it’s a time to commune with nature. But I also love taking pictures and taking memories with me; whether it’s a silly selfie or landscape photography. So I won’t judge people who take too many pictures or people not wanting to take any. Some people need solid reminder of the places they’ve been to and others want to keep it in their hearts. Whatever floats your boat.

And yes, learn to mind your own boat.

horse shoe bend
Being in the moment in Horse Shoe Bend and combining my love for photography. Win-win! 🙂

This is not in any way to insult those travellers who fall in this spectrum but since when travelling has become a competition? And since when it becomes about the “cool things”? Do we have a travel coolness congress somewhere we don’t know about?

A lot of people travel for different reasons and on different ways. If you are going to judge them for the way they travel, then the point of travel fails you. And that is to expand your horizon and open yourself to the culture and ways of others and to accept that everyone is different and they will want different things from you no matter what you think.

My advice? Do you.

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  1. Not that is annoys me, but I get sick of reading about people who ‘sold everything they owned’ and ‘sold their house’ to travel the world. As much as I encourage people to travel, and I have done so for over 20 years now, did they really need to sell everything? Could they have just put in in storage? Like it somehow validates their experience. It became quite fashionable for bloggers to say this for a while, let’s hope that fad has passed.

    • This is so true! I believe in balance life. I invest, save and travel at the same time. This makes yolo-ing enjoyable for me because I know when I get back home, I still have a home and enough savings not to live like a beggar for the next few months. It is also sad how people encourage to quit their work and leave everything to just travel because it’s all about priority lol.

    • Don’t agree, I sold everything to travel, I had a shit time and decided it was now my turn to do what I had always wanted to do. By the way I am 58 so if I didn’t do it now I might never get the chance again – rant over

      • Hi Christine, you made some good points in your write up, however in your comment above, I’m with Chris here. Excuse me if it comes out blunt but isn’t it ironic to be advocating open mindedness and “do you” but then judge that it is “sad” when some people quit their jobs etc to travel? Who knows what circumstances they were in. All that matters is how THEIR decision served them, it really isn’t for us to judge what their “priorities” are. So good on ya Chris!

        I’m priviledged enough that I don’t have to quit everything to travel, in fact it actually makes me think people who quit everything to take the leap of faith is courageous.

        We can all be a little more empathetic. I wish all travellers out there happy travels in any way they like 🙂

        • Hi Chris and Shelyn thanks for your input! Also I think you misunderstood my comment above. When I say sad, I actually meant travellers and sometimes bloggers who say that travelling is all about priorities. I directed that comment to people who don’t acknowledge that travelling is a privilege and it’s not simply about “You can quit your job to travel the world. You just need to know your priorities and work hard.”

          I wrote about this subject and you can check the link below to understand my point better.

          P.S. I also quit my job to travel the world 5 years ago but let’s face it, you have to have some sort of privilege to do be able to do this and it’s not just about the money.

  2. Very true! People have their own way of how to travel. As long as they’re not harming the environment and they’re not insulting the people, history, and culture of the place they’re visiting, that’s fine with us. That is why we stay away from this “tourist vs traveler” debate thing; it’s just nuts.

    Also, we were ridiculed by some people because we take photos and not “live in the moment.” What the heck?

  3. You are so wise!
    Really, we are usually in the twilight zone between all of these examples. If people only minded their own buisness a little more often than trying to conquere their own insecurities by being “better” than someone else!
    We’ve literally had people whom we just met, eg. people who does not have ONE clue about our economy, telling us we should be more careful with our money.

    GREAT that people like you help others realise that we travel for our own sake, not anyone elses.
    Great post!

  4. I love this! I agree with you 100%. It’s not a competition. There’s always more than one way to do something, including travel. I don’t actually mind listening/reading arguments about these topics though, because maybe one day I’ll understand why it’s so important to them that there actually is a distinction between travellers and tourists, or that being in the moment trumps taking pictures. So far, all I understand is that people should “mind their own boat”.

  5. Great article! Traveling has become a contest and like everything else social media makes it easy to envy other’s lives. “Let everyone do their own thing” has been my motto for awhile now, even thought is can be hard to live by sometimes. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I am fortunate enough to come from a fairly well-known place, so when people ask, “where are you from?” I can say, “California”
    I am, however, guilty of staying in a few times. Sometimes the TV broadcasting in other countries is just that good!

    • True! I always spend sometime to actually just rest. The thing is I work and travel at the same time so I dont have the energy to go out sometimes. And I love California!!!

  7. Thank you! I got judged for going to McDonald’s in Vienna. Because there is so much more to eat there. True, but what they also don’t know is that I lived there once for 12 years. I experienced the lifestyle! I was trying to save money and they have wifi. Plus I was feeling like chicken mcnuggets damnit!

    I also stayed in the hotel for a day. I needed rest. When I am home I am always at work and don’t always have time to be lazy. It was glorious. I have a selfie stick too!

    But I also love being in nature and with the locals, sleeping in tents and hostels. I hate travel snobs. Focus on your own trip and not others.

    Thanks for this!

    • I dont go to fastfood back home but I do when abroad. Sometimes, you get tired of trying new food and you want something familiar and fast food is the closest thing. And thanks for sharing your experience and keep travelling the way you want it.

      P.S. Who doesnt like chicken mcnuggets? Lol

    • Yeees lol. Lots of serious issues in this world and people are getting ancy on the way you travel 🙂

  8. You are the first i see, to say what most bloggers were afraid to. Agree with every word. I was judged on so many of my trips by travellers from my own circle: “why the 3 star hotel? Why not blend in with everyone in a hostel? Why do you eat in restaurants/fast food instead of supermarkets? (LOL what) why only one week?? Why not hitchike? Its free”
    If i can afford to, if it makes me happy..why bother me with questions?
    That is how i like to travel..doesnt make me less of a traveller, doesnt make me spoiled.
    Not only do they compete with you and try to make you feel inferior, like your travels don’t count because you are not doing them the “proper way”..they also shove their nose in your budget and make you feel uneasy..WHAT FOR? Total travel snobs.
    I really wish everyone would try to get inspired from one another, getting new travel ideas, world views and a new understanding of different people than judge them for their habits and makr them feel unworthy of the title “traveller”.

    • First and foremost, thanks for visiting my site and sharing your thoughts Alexandra. It’s really sad how people perceive travel these days like it is some kind of competition. For me, it has always been about my experience. Travel is somehow my escape from my busy life and I make it a point that it’s all about what makes me comfortable and what makes me happy. Continue travelling the way you want it. It’s your story, not theirs 🙂

  9. Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  10. Hi Christine,

    The last one killed me. For years. I own it 😉 I was featured on Richard Branson’s blog to share my biggest digital nomad mistake. That was it. Not being in the moment. Snapping versus breathing in the moment, the gorgeous beauty of places, the people around me. Lesson learned!

    Super list. Thanks for sharing 🙂


    • Thanks for visiting my site! I think there’s nothing wrong with too much snapping esp if you enjoy it 😉

  11. You captured what’s exactly on my mind. Love this article. Moral of the story is for people to just mind their own business.

  12. Hello would you mind letting me know which web host you’re working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you recommend a good hosting provider at a reasonable price? Kudos, I appreciate it!

  13. Preach!!!!!!! I haven’t read an article that I can relate to in a long while. Yeah, just do you. In true Pinoy fashion that’s when we say “Walang basagan ng trip ”

  14. Yes! I hate being judged and, as an Introvert, I go out all day exploring but I need time off at night and always book an apartment so I can avoid people. I understand that sounds odd, given my love of travel, but it makes my anxiety spike sometimes and I find ways to make that better. I love travelling and people, but I also need quirt space so my Introvert can recover! Great article x

    • Thanks for dropping by Suz! And I can relate. Im also extremely introvert sometimes! I made sure I stay in private accommodation at least half of the time so I can enjoy my own space.

  15. Hahahha had to laugh real good because always had same thoughts but always tolerated the opponent and never said a thing but 100% agreed. ESPECIALLY #1

  16. More or less agree except for number 3. For starters, most of the world considers North and South America one continent, not two (it is taught this way in ALL of Europe, most of Asia and all of South America). In the USA, they’ve made the distinction for political reasons. Most people from the USA don’t even realize that Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, etc. are considered North America by their own 7 continent definition (most countries recognize 5 or 6 continents, not 7). When people point this out I think it’s less that they’re “offended” that someone has called themself American and more that they want to open one’s eyes to USA-centrism. If you met someoneone from Germany, you’d probably expect them to say they’re German, not European. I’m from the US and live in Spain and in Spanish my citizenship is estadounidiense, not American (you can’t have citizenship of an entire continent!) Just some food for thought in hopes that you reconsider that one!

    • Well, there’s that geography lesson you mentioned ??? we knooooooooow, dude. Everyone in the world, except central and South Americans, calls it America and calls us American. It has nothing to do with being ethnocentric and everything to do with the name of our country. It’s not going to change.

  17. United Statesians of America? Did someone really say that? LOL

    I personally would say I’m from NY or US instead of saying I’m from “America” — just a little more sensitive and respectful. But I wouldn’t call out what other people say, haha, like the whole point of your article — stop being judgmental! Love it.

  18. I think I am a combination of traveler and tourist. I love to go on a trip and see the “sights”, but I also love to meet people, visit their homes, see how they live day to day, how they educate their children, etc. etc. I honestly don’t care how other people travel as long as they let me travel the way I want. I very seldom spend long periods of time in my room because I want to see everything I can. Do I care if other people want afternoon naps or to take a long soak in the tub? Absolutely not. I do sometimes have people ask me why I could possibly want to go some of the places I go because they think they are strange or unsafe ( I’ve never gone anywhere I would consider unsafe). Europe is not the be all and end all. There are many different countries and cultures out there and I want to experience as many as I can.

  19. I agree on all of these and have come across most of them. As a resident of the UK I’d add to this list ‘please stop refering to Europe like it’s a single country.’ It is 50 countries with 60 spoken dialects with a temperature that has been known to range between 48*C down to -55*C!! So when someone asks ‘What shall I pack for Europe?’ Please tell us which countries you plan on visiting and we can help! ??

    • Haha! It’s not similar but I remember packing all my summer clothes/ tropic corporate clothes thinking that South Africa is hot as the rest of “Africa”. I came down there for business last month. It was effin cold! I compared the weather with Finland, Russia and Iceland and Cape Town is colder these days and it was even snowing in some parts. Whoever thinks the entire African continent is dessert, humid and dry are as ignorant as me haha.

  20. I am for sure a tourist and traveler lol and yes that debate annoys me. What’s the point in going to these amazing places that are known for cool sights and you think you’re too cool to see those sights. Hahaha who goes to Paris and doesn’t take time to see the Eiffel Tower? London and don’t see Big Ben? Because you want to travel “deeper” no thank you

  21. I love what you guys tend to be up too. This kind of clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve incorporated you
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