Travel Shaming Is On The Rise During Covid-19 — But It’s A Good Thing

Eden Roc

When “passenger shaming” was coined in 2013, and incidents were rampant the past few years, travelers took to social media to call out unruly passengers. Now, the tables have turned during Covid-19. Non-passengers are calling out travelers for packing their bags, hitting the road, and going on a trip. It’s a crazy twist of events proving that travel shaming is on the rise post Covid-19.

Honestly, who wouldn’t take a selfie on this beach?

Travel shaming is on the rise

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This story was originally published January 3, 2021.

We’ve said it again and again, and well, we’ll say it again. There are only three officials who can give the green light to traveling: The U.S. Department of State, CDC, and The World Health Organization.

The greenlight from these three officials—U.S. Dept. of State, CDC, and The World Health Organization—should be considered when planning your trip to a specific destination, because these organizations are looking out for not only your health, but the safety of others. They do not want the virus to continue to spread, and that risk of spreading is increased every time you leave the house.

Many people who book a trip now will likely only consider their own safety and how it might be affected if they go on a trip. However, they likely fail to consider the safety of people around them.

These three officials have not yet given the green light to travel again, so if you do want to book a trip in secret, you should consider the type of trip you plan on booking.

For instance, if you book a trip to Chicago, your chances of getting or spreading Covid-19 is high. If you book a camping trip in the Catskills, your chances decrease because you have less contact with people.

If you go on anyone’s social media, you’ll see that the ratio of travel shaming is higher on a person’s photo on a flight, beach, city or bar while a photo of them in the woods will have less negative comments. Sure, travel shaming is on the rise, but the level of shame depends on what trip you take.

So why exactly is travel shaming on the rise? 

travel shaming on rise
Turkish Airlines safety standards during Covid-19.

One could argue that travel shaming is on the rise because of the obvious: If you travel, you run the risk of spreading the virus.

It’s considered completely selfish to go on a trip right now. The more people stay home and social distance, the sooner the pandemic will be over. There are hundreds of millions of Americans who are still quarantining, laying low, and minimizing contact so the virus can end. When they see people traveling, they’re quick to shame—and with good reason. They have every right to be concerned.

Think about it this way: Let’s say you live in an apartment complex where no pets are allowed. The ‘no pets’ rule is strictly because many people in that building, both adults and children, are known to have severe allergies. Then, one day, a new tenant moves in and sneaks in a cat. Now, everyone has to suffer because that new tenant decided to only think about themself. That new tenant will clearly be nobody’s best friend.

Why is travel shaming a good thing? 

Is travel officially dead?
Eden Roc Cap Cana Pool Suite Sunset.

Here’s the bad news for travelers: Travel shaming is on the rise, and it will continue to rise until there’s a vaccine and/or the three officials green light travel again. If you don’t want to be shamed, don’t travel. Don’t put your photos on social media. Be a good citizen and think about other people.

The good news? Travel shaming works. There are so many people who are anti travel-shaming, but again, it’s for selfish reasons. They feel attacked, and they feel like it’s not the best way to handle things.

But, look at it this way: Without travel shaming, racists wouldn’t be kicked off flights. Without travel shaming, airlines wouldn’t get away with killing dogs onboard. Without travel shaming, passengers who know they have Covid-19, risking the life of others, wouldn’t be banned.

So before anyone goes on a rant about how travel shaming doesn’t solve any problems, stop thinking about yourself and help reduce the spread of Covid-19 so we can all safely go on our dream trips again.

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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