We’re pretty sure your love for travel led you here so let’s cut to the chase: Do you inspire travel or are you simply being a show-off?
Surely you’d agree that the lines are blurred between the two… so which is which? To be honest, it’s difficult to pinpoint signifiers set in stone for an issue as delicate as this. It’s easy to say you’re just sharing tidbits of your recent trip when people are already rolling their eyes at you for seeming so boastful. But who are we to judge a person’s true intentions?
In this era of Instagrammable things and humblebrags, of #flex and #blessed, there are too many grey areas that leave much to interpretation. The digital world we move in (a.k.a. the Internet and its many realms) has totally changed the way we go about reaching our #travelgoals. So the question begs to be answered: Are you just showing off? Here are some telltale signs. Oh, and we threw in ways to inspire travel as a countermeasure.
Disclaimer: Bato-bato sa langit, ang tamaan huwag magalit! Hehe.
1. You ask about others’ trips so you can talk about yours
As my brothers would tell me, “Style mo bulok”. If you’re only going to ask about what’s going on with another person’s life just so you can lead the conversation back to you, then spare your friend the agony. That’s a terrible way to #flex and interact.
Instead, inspire travel by taking a genuine interest in others’ adventures. Ask out of your love for travel (or for that person), and not just so you can quench your thirst to share your own experience. There’s a proper time for everything. And the world doesn’t revolve around you.
2. You say this a lot: “Buti pa sa <destination>…”
Some may be more familiar with, “Sa <insert destination here> walang ganyan/meron din niyan!” We’re not saying this is wrong. Every now and then is fine. It’s totally normal to compare! But when you do it every single time, that’s just overkill.
Instead, inspire travel by rephrasing how you say it. You can note how an experience is so different or similar in another country by plainly stating the fact. Sometimes, people will think you’re showing off by the mere delivery of your statement. It’s just human nature. Something like this calls for a little more sensitivity, after all.
3. You ignore social cues
Speaking of being (in)sensitive. This doesn’t really count as bragging per se, but sometimes you’ll know that people think you’re boasting simply through social cues. The solution? Huwag kang manhid!
Make sure you’re actually inspiring travel by picking up on how your friends or companions react to your story. We all have different personalities so how one thing sticks to one person may be different from the next. If the person clearly isn’t interested in what you have to say, then your travel stories also deserve a better audience!
4. You compare budgets and make unnecessary comments
As a rule of thumb (and as propriety suggests), money matters are best discussed with those close to you, or only when asked about them. But in the world of travel, money matters are often easily divulged. It’s common to pass on spending tips and compare budgets, especially if the goal is to get the most out of your every peso. But of course, there’s a limit.
It’s one thing to productively compare budgets and another to make unnecessary side comments. More specifically, comments that show how you can go from merely comparing to lowkey competing.
“Mas nakatipid pa rin kami kaysa sa inyo.”
“Bakit ang laki ng ginastos niyo diyan?! Kami <amount> lang!”
“Kung kami ‘yan, di kami nagbayad ng ganyan kamahal.”
“Ano ba yan, pagkain na nga lang tinitipid niyo pa.”
“Masyado kayong kuripot. Nag-travel pa kayo!”
…and the list goes on. Can you say travel shaming?
Also read: Shame Culture: 10 Ways You Can Deal With Travel Shamers
Here’s a tip: Inspire travel more by discussing money matters and comparing budgets only when invited to. Provide saving/spending hacks that would help other travellers keep within their budget. And even if you’ve been given the permission to compare away, keep unnecessary and hurtful comments to a minimum. Master the art of constructive criticism. But if your social cues are off in the first place, then this might be more challenging for you.
5. You treat travel as a competition
I really don’t get why other people do this. Travel is supposed to bridge gaps, not create them. I could only deem this acceptable if it were healthy competition between travel-loving friends. But to get a kick out of one-upping another traveller just for the heck of it? No thanks.
For example, there’s a difference between simply keeping a tally of where you’ve been and obnoxiously bragging about it every chance you get. If you’re trying to beat a record — personal or otherwise — then good for you! But don’t attack other travellers who are trying to do the same thing.
Instead, inspire travel by encouraging each other to reach those #travelgoals. Share tips. Spread heartwarming stories. Take it as a chance to touch another person’s life with good ol’ motivation. If you’ve done it, they can do it too! Why not tell them how?
Also read: This Filipino Couple Has Travelled the World’s Seven Continents — Here’s How They Did It!
6. You insert travel in everything you say without considering if the person you’re talking to is interested
Now, this is something people easily read as showing off. Why? It all points back to social cues. They’re already showing you that they’re not interested. So if you keep at it, they’re going to think that you just want to brag about your travel experiences even if that’s not the case. So what to do in this scenario?
Also read: Why You Shouldn’t Care When “No One Cares About Your Travels”
Instead, inspire travel by discussing your adventures at length with people who have the same interests. Your friends. Family members who fly frequently. People you meet on your travels. The TripZilla Philippines Instagram community! Surely you have a lot of options to choose from. Sometimes, it’s only a matter of choosing the right audience.
7. You post misleading photos just to make your trip look better
If your only goal is to make your trip look good, then you’re obviously aiming to impress. No one will fault you for doing that, especially here. We embrace all types of travellers after all.
Also read: An Open Letter — To Travellers Who “Do It For The Gram”
If you just want to look good (who doesn’t?!), we totally respect that. But if you go out on a limb just to make your trip look better or seem better than it really is so you can #lowkeyflex online, that’s another story.
So you see, that’s one other thing you have to ask yourself. What are your intentions for sharing or posting about travel? This requires a bit more reflection, but it’s a healthy exercise! Also, keep in mind that you’re more likely to inspire travel by being real.
8. You’re outright bragging to the point of zero value add
Are you currently part of a travel group? What about an online forum dedicated to all things travel? Then I’m sure you’ve come across folks who saying nothing else but, “I’ve been there!” or “Seen that already in person”. Totally zero value add if you ask me. More often than not, the point of these discussions is to inspire travel or spark interest. Plus points if you actually offer something helpful, like a travel tip or a tour hack.
If you really love the destination and you feel the urge to make that known, by all means, do gush! But if all you can say is “been there, done that” every time, please don’t even bother. It’s a waste of cyberspace.
Bonus: You’re a travel a know-it-all
This one’s the no-brainer. Know-it-alls are often labelled as show-offs. That does tend to happen if you think you’re the smartest/most well-informed/most experienced person in the room every single time. Time to burst your bubble: You’re not. Not every time, at least.
While it’s always good to share travel advice and recommendations, maybe you can wait until the person you’re talking to actually asks you. If they’ve done their research, chances are the stuff you know might already be in their itinerary and you’ll run the risk of sounding like a know-it-all.
So how do you slip in suggestions but still keep it cool? Wait to be asked or offer advice ahead, but don’t bombard the person with travel facts and travel hacks. When a fellow travel lover finally asks you for tips, you’re more likely to inspire travel by knowing what they want to know. Not what you want to share. Eventually, you’ll strike a balance and keep the conversation going smoothly.
So do you inspire travel?
How did you do? If you aren’t guilty of these things, then congratulations, you’re not a travel show-off! Trying to inspire travel? Hope you learned a thing or two from our tips, if you aren’t doing them already.
But at the end of the day, reflection should also extend to those who think people only talk about travel to show off. When you start to feel like someone’s gloating about his or her trip, take a step back and breathe. Reassess the situation before you start hurling accusations. Baka naman travel envy lang ‘yan? Nagyayabang ba talaga siya o nagshe-share lang?
Remember, the travel community is often positive and open. Be nice, don’t overthink it, and just make sure you say as much as you give others a chance to speak — and you should be fine. See you on the road!