Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Thu August 04 2016

The 6 Things Travel Snobs Love to Hate (But Really Shouldn't)

Features & Advice | Melinda Crow | August 04, 2016

The 6 Things Travel Snobs Love to Hate (But Really Shouldn't)

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Go ahead and admit it: You've partaken of some of travel's guilty little pleasures.

We may occasionally put on travel purist airs and pretend to shun chains and tacky roadside attractions,  but industry growth across these sectors does not lie.

Let's stop the hate and proclaim our love publicly. Here's a guilt-free list to get you started.

Chain Restaurants

These exist to make eating on the road easier. Even though exploring local cuisine is one of the best reasons to travel, there are times when the adventure is not about the food. I openly admit that I have eaten at McDonalds in Milan, Taco Bell in Kailua-Kona, and KFC on Bonaire.

I feel no shame. 

And guess what? My fast food fixes in far off places usually take me away from throngs of tourists. I have stood in line with giggling Bonairian school girls on lunch break and friendly Milanese bank tellers grabbing an Egg McMuffin before work. Aren't those the moments we travel for?

Chain Hotels

Why we claim to hate them is beyond me. I love a great independent as much as anybody and living like a local by staying in a home share is divine, but I also like consistency, convenience, and accumulating points.

Here's another way to look at it--do you seek out one-plane airlines when you fly, shunning the big guys? Of course not.

Some of the best hotels in the world are chains. And some of the best chains in the world are getting better at diversifying their offerings so that we get what we want, without the cookie-cutter feel.  Marriott's Moxy chain is just one example of that.


The offerings have become so diverse that it is now impossible for travel snobs to accurately claim not to like cruising. Up and down the cruise scale from "standard" to "luxury" there is a vast array of cruising styles. Add expedition ships, river cruises, and even small independent vessels plying coastal waters and there really is something for everyone.

There are parts of the world that are practically impossible for the average traveler to visit other than by cruise ship. Antarctica anyone? Last fall on a Silversea cruise I visited four World Heritage Sites in ten days — a difficult accomplishment without hitching a ride on a cruise ship.


Sheer entertainment! Whether you gamble or not, walking through a glitzy casino listening to the clinking of chips and change transports you to another lifestyle. The bonus is that the serious players help attract big-name entertainers and celebrity chef-operated restaurants that make casinos fun escapes for those who don’t gamble. 

Tourist Traps

The dirty little secret most of us pretend not to enjoy — whether it's an artisan village in the Florida Keys with a giant fake lobster outside, or a Greek sandal shop, it's easy to cross the threshold of wonder and step inside. Go ahead. Marvel at things you didn't know existed, laugh at tacky souvenirs and learn about the people inside.

Group Tours

Long been the underrated step-child of the travel world, today's tours are a far cry from busloads of bored pseudo travelers of the past. Look at Abercrombie & Kent's small group journeys for examples of just how incredible a group tour can be.

A little protip: often the best group tours are those where you participate in creating the group, the itinerary, or both. Think family reunion tours, clubs, or just a group of like-minded friends. Pick your people, then turn to professionals to help you plan the perfect trip.


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