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Travel Blogging & Glaring Omissions

Last week I came across a post that had been written by a blogger I check out a couple of times a week. She’s extremely well traveled and always has well written content, not to mention beautiful photos.

The post was old but the topic was of interest to me-she described the time she visited Mesoamerican ruins. Throughout the post she tells her readers that they should visit these ruins and not another equally famous group that receives countless more visitors each year. I myself had been to the set of ruins she was telling people not to visit. The ones she hadย  visited, I’m still dreaming about traveling to one day. I was a little miffed that she would put off the one set of ruins but I thought to myself, if she’s been to both she obviously would have a valid opinion in saying so whereas with me, I’ve only been to the one. It was only after I got to the comments section and started reading them did I come across someone who asked the question, “Have you ever actually been to the ruins you’re telling people not to visit?” I will say this, the bloggerย didn’t lie (I could see many people saying why yes, they had). A third person then chimed in along the lines that the blogger was ridiculous telling people to not go somewhere that she herself had never been. While I was definitely thinking the same thing, I avoid confrontation at all costs, especially in an online medium where people get downright nasty at times. She responded that if it was ridiculous, then so be it.

Travel is entirely subjective-where one person might love a city or a set or ruins, another person may not. But for a traveler to say not to go somewhere is flat out “ridiculous.” Her reasons for dissuading travelers from going to these ruins came down to, it seemed, observations from photos and other people’s written content. She had “stated” that the ruins she had visited and loved were not crowded versus the ruins she was telling people to not go to were mobbed with people, many of them embarking on a day trip from a nearby popular destination area. Plenty of people chimed in that when they visited the supposedly “crowded” ruins, they were in fact, not crowded (I’d agree with this myself). The blogger had also said she could take photos without people being in them; once again this is going by photos on the Internet she had seen, nothing having to do with an in-person experience.

 

To me, this blogger, who I had always thought seemed intelligent and well-versed, left out the bigger picture between the two ruins she so ignorantly compared.

 

-The ruins she visited most likely are more deserted but that is to do with their much more remote location. So while you may encounter less people there to “obscure” your photo, it can also cost more money to get there, not to mention take longer.

 

-Mobs of tourists anywhere can be a bit much, but in developing nations, the locale of the ruins that the blogger hadn’t been to, those mobs of tourists pour a lot of money into the local economy and thus help the many individuals who live in abject poverty. Without those tourists, many of the locals would be worse off.

 

Being a well-informed traveler means not saying something that has no validity to it. The blogger had just said she wanted to tell readers why people should visit the ruins she had; I’m not sure why she didn’t just do that, instead of bringing in a destination she had never been to herself, yet through her writing had implied that she had.

 

(I kept the blogger and the ruins anonymous on purpose. I wrote this post not to “call her out” but rather to show why being truthful in the blogosphere is important at all times, especially if you want to be taken seriously as a legitimate voice. Although minus the two people that questioned her, no one else seemed to care about her omission of truth which I thought was odd.

 

What do you think?

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Polly Heath
    January 7, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Hi! I’ve just recently found your blog and I’m really enjoying it. (Particularly as a fellow redhead!)

    I think this is a great post and an important reminder that just because you’ve traveled a lot, it doesn’t make you an expert on everything. Honesty is, well, the honest and best way to keep readers on your side!

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      January 7, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      Hi Polly! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! All the more cool that you’re a fellow red head ๐Ÿ™‚

      I could not agree more with what you said. Travel doesn’t mean you’re smarter, savvier, or as you wrote, an expert on any and everything! Being informed and honest is the best traveler I feel.

  • Reply
    Angelal
    January 7, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    I completely agree. If I do not travel somewhere, I try to specify that even though my tastes would not like it, it would be acceptable. It is hard to know what content is good these days, and that is why I do LOTS of research by reading blogs and guidebooks before traveling to a destination. I am all about honesty and understand that everyone has a travel preference, but as a blogger, it is important to stay positive unless you have a terrible experience.

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      January 7, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      To me, it always amazes me when I hear from one person who absolutely hated a particular destination but then someone else just loved it (I’m actually going to publish a piece soon on four cities/areas that have that type of a reputation).

      What I found the most disappointing about her post was that she could have just talked up the set of ruins she did to a T. I know they’re world famous and incredible-entice me to visit them. Don’t essentially lie by saying why I shouldn’t go to ones you yourself have never been to!

  • Reply
    Jo Ann M.
    January 7, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I would have to agree with you. Making comments like this about a place you have never visited is like reviewing a movie by watching trailers and reading other people’s reviews. Personally experiencing something is the best way to form a valid opinion about it. Anything less is being dishonest or at the least misleading.

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      January 7, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      To me, it is sheer dishonesty and no need for it. The web has so much inaccurate and total lies already, it would be nice to know that travel bloggers who are so regarded in many ways, are not contributing to it!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    January 8, 2014 at 1:35 am

    I find it interesting that her objective is to get no one in her photos! I always find that people have very different opinions of places, I have been advised that Hobart was boring (we loved it); the food in Tokyo was bad (I still scratch my head at this one) and that avoid Australians becuase they don’t travel (my favourite, becuase I have never been anywhere where there wasn’t an Australian). The only place that I ever went to and was disapointed in was Belgrade, I am sure there are 1000s of people who love it.

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      January 9, 2014 at 1:46 am

      Yes, I completely agree that no two people will like the same place, attraction etc. That’s crazy that someone actually said the food in Tokyo was bad! I can see Japanese food not being a person’s thing (I had issues with some Korean food) but it wasn’t bad per se, just such a cultural adjustment.

      Too funny about Australians not traveling. It’s the same for me when I hear that Americans are the most obnoxious tourists…not the case as I have seen ridiculous levels of obnoxiousness being displayed by other nationalities.

  • Reply
    Laura
    January 9, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Sounds like a good way to lose credibility with your audience. I naturally avoid making specific recommendations like that because 1) everyone has different preferences and 2) who am I to tell people where to go? What I do is share what I’ve done – what’s worked for me and why. To me that’s the biggest appeal for bloggers – that we can share our personal experiences. Often readers relate to that and sometimes their experiences are different, but there’s a personal factor that’s important. That’s probably why it’s a turn-off when a blogger makes recommendations on a place she’s never been!

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      January 10, 2014 at 1:51 am

      Conveniently enough, she kept the part about her not visiting the one set of ruins OUT of the actual piece. Only in the comments but then that would be missed by a lot of people. So her credibility or lack of rolls on…

      I couldn’t agree more-share what you have done and let people make their own opinions. And yes, it’s tacky and doesn’t seem legitimate when you have to phrase something like “I’ve read or I’ve seen.”

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