Why Today’s PC Culture is Ruining Travel Blogging

There’s a growing movement in the US that we’ve been following from afar. It’s the notion that society has become way too politically correct to function successfully. And you know what? We couldn’t agree with this more! In fact, we are catapulting ourselves onto the bandwagon and would be honored to lead the un-PC parade. Many would think this only applies to the world of politics, but even in our world of travel blogging, being politically correct has gotten WAY too out of control. It’s almost made us wonder how worthwhile travel blogging even is when people are scared to offend or to give their honest opinion.

Our quest has always been to find, and then share, places that have great value for the dollar. How does one effectively do that? We believe it’s by living an experience and using a review process to share reflections and the outcome. For the most part, travel experiences can be great, rewarding, and positive. But things can really suck too, and when you have a limited amount of funds, you don’t want to waste your money on crap.

After almost 100 different accommodation experiences, the reaction from our reflective, constructive feedback always seems the same. Defensive! Defensive! DEFENSIVE! Is there NEVER room for improvement? Not in this overly sensitive world!

However, the world has become so damn sensitive that you cannot NOT like something anymore. You are not allowed to have an opinion. You cannot judge. You can’t say something was subpar or shitty. Everything has to be lined with an unrealistic positivism that is causing travelers, like us, to have difficulty spending their money wisely. We read a lot of positive posts and reviews, but it’s uncanny how we rarely read anything negative.

Everything has to be lined with an unrealistic positivism that is causing travelers, like us, to have difficulty spending their money wisely.

These days people walk on eggshells in their travel reviews, especially on Airbnb and TripAdvisor. This becomes a problem when you make a reservation and find yourself in a dumpy apartment wondering why it has a history of glowing five star ratings. For example, we recently stayed a month in an apartment that had a serious sewage smell due to improper plumbing. There were 19 previous reviewers who failed to mention this. Why were we the first to bring this up in a review? Because no one wants to be the bad guy. Unfortunately, this is leading to a society of people that cannot take any form of constructive criticism and are hyper-sensitive to anything that is not putting them (or their goods) on the highest pedestal.

Early in our trip, I posted an Instagram photo a title that said, “Because backpacking isn’t sunshine and rainbows all the time folks” and a fellow traveler came back replying, “But it is…” Umm, no! I beg your pardon, but it’s not. Having a bug infestation in your apartment is not our definition of a good time. The funny thing? It took about 30 minutes to convince the apartment owner here in Budapest to give us a refund! Dude…there are bugs crawling on the toilet, kitchen counter, and on the bedroom walls!

Take, for example, our “controversial” India vlog. As many of you know, we really disliked our time in India. We tried to keep a positive mindset during the entire trip, but everything that surrounded our travels was corrupt, dirty, and disappointing. If you look at our YouTube video, we had 9 people actually dislike the content.

A viewer even added a comment “...it is not necessary that every guy focus on negative aspects, you went there for fun and so you should enjoy every such conditions also.”

Wait! Enjoy the conditions? Are you serious? Why must we say that we enjoyed our time in a country when we actually hated it? To top it off, a family member even told us, “You better delete that video!” WHY?

Would I recommend to a friend or family to go where we went in India? No. Was it worth spending our limited travel funds in a country that we felt scammed the entire time? No. Did I enjoy seeing men urinate and defecate openly in public or getting harassed every time I was in a public place? No. Did I feel safe? No. Was it worth the $500 a day cost? Hell no!

I wouldn’t advise my best friend to go there, so why should I lie to other travelers deceptively describing how “unique” and “different” India was? Why the need to lie and paint India as this enchanting place when to us it wasn’t? Maybe we should just play the typical, PC travel blogger role and conveniently choose to never bring up any negative aspects of travel? But if you were investing YOUR hard-earned money, who would you rather seek advice from? The PC traveler or the tell-it-like-it-is traveler?

Providing honest and realistic commentary when traveling is a must when you are a travel blogger. In fact, it’s your responsibility. And despite what this overly sensitive, PC world keeps telling us, you are entitled to have and openly express your opinion without the fear of being called “harsh,” “self-centered,” and “negative.” So fellow travelers, do everyone a favor, and start being real! Your honesty and thoughtful feedback is really the best way of paying it forward to the next guest.

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7 thoughts on “Why Today’s PC Culture is Ruining Travel Blogging
  1. Great post and you’re so right. When I’m deciding where to go I want to know the good and the bad so I’m fully informed. Everywhere has some more negative aspects and not everyone likes everywhere and I find it so useful to know why.

  2. I totally agree with all of this. We have a bunch of negative posts on a few places (Brazil & Costa Rica, Hua Hin and Lucerne come to mind) and people get very sensitive to criticism. Some think you shouldn’t say anything unless it’s positive – they want the fluffy, everything is rainbows and unicorns version. That’s not the reality of travel. But even worse than readers are bloggers, the majority of whom are too chicken shit to ever say anything negative. And that’s incredibly boring…

    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. Exactly Frank! In fact, so many travel bloggers are going “sponsored” these days that I find I don’t even care for their content or material. It’s all contrived and phony. Seems kinda counterproductive, huh? Wish there was the freedom and ability to work with companies and/or visit areas, but still be at liberty to be honest in the experience. Definitely a travel trend that we wish was more discussed within the travel blogger community. As always, thanks for your honest reply!

  3. Completely agree with you on this one. In travel and most aspects of life, people find it easier to shut up and smile than say something negative.

    We had an experience years ago at a new B&B. We had a few small issues and provided the owners with feedback and tips on our last day. We didn’t mention the issues on TA as most were just small issues that as a new business they probably didn’t realize were missing/lacking. Either way, we didn’t give the B&B a glowing 5 star rating that their other ratings were giving them as we just didn’t feel it was warranted.

    Also, I think a lot of bloggers might glace over the “bad” or “disappointing” because they received the service or accommodation for free and don’t want to rock the boat.

    1. Exactly! Given the fact that travel bloggers can’t be honest about their experiences, it really makes you question the whole point of the concept of travel blogging. We really struggle with this. Sure, it benefits the folks being sponsored, but does it really help the masses? To some degree, not really. There almost needs to be an “Ethnics in Travel Blogging Course” that people would be required to take and code of conduct that travelers /bloggers would need to adhere to, just like there is in other professions. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s kinda true if you think about it.

  4. Thanks for responding Howie. I wasn’t sure how this post would go over, but this issue has been driving us crazy for a long time. I think it’s very difficult for people to point out anything negative in their experiences. For example, in the majority of Airbnb stays, you meet the owner face to face. If there are issues that are causing an unpleasant stay, it’s difficult for people to bring that up in a conversation. It’s easier just to say, “Yup. Our stay was good” and move on. However, we are noticing that it is lowering the standard and quality of our travel experiences. How could so many people claim, “We had a great stay!” and when we show up it’s a really bad experience. Something is not adding up!

  5. Seems like all this is a no brainer, but I’m glad you guys are bringing to light how it really is! I’m kind of shocked you can’t trust travel reviews!! That’s what they are there for! For real people to give real reviews. …I’d be so pissed if i stayed at a place with LIMITED time off and a set budget and found all the reviews were basically fake and DISHONEST. Good for you for setting a new HONEST trend! (And ps i think we are all dying to know who in the world would “advise” you to take that video down!! : O ) dying to know who in the world would “advise” you to take that video down!! : O )

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