COVID Travel Shaming: 99 Problems and a Beach IS One

October 6, 2020

Remember when you couldn’t contain your excitement over sharing plans for your upcoming vacation with coworkers and friends? Or the thrill of posting travel highlights on social media – and making everyone a little jealous? Adios, beaches. My, how the tides have turned. In the COVID-19 world, on the heels of “mask shaming,” we’re seeing a new phenomenon making waves: travel shaming. Many of us had trips put on hold or canceled due to the pandemic – and after months of quarantining, are now itching to get away. And some of us are packing our bags and jet setting, but flying under the radar.

Back in June, Ketchum Travel released a survey that found almost 70% of the 4,000 Americans polled would judge others for traveling before it’s considered “safe.” And more than half said they would censor their social media posts to avoid travel shaming. That’s a pretty dramatic change from data last year showing about 80% of respondents shared vacation photos on their social media pages.

We’ve been hearing more and more stories of travel shaming lately, from vacationers being shunned or berated by their friends – and sometimes complete strangers – to people being bullied on social media for choosing to get away. The Boston Globe recently wrote about “vacation vigilantes” in the Northeast, along with the open hostility the pandemic has brought about toward tourists and second homeowners. It’s causing many to adjust their plans and change their behavior to avoid being shamed.

Why is this happening? In the cancel culture era, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to call out others for doing or saying something they don’t agree with. Often, we see this have a dramatically negative impact on reputations. And with the pandemic now in the mix, many who canceled vacations feel upset, or even resentful, when they see others enjoying nonessential travel. Ultimately, as we start to reopen and navigate this new “normal,” it’s up to all of us to choose how we go forward – and whether we choose to let the critics get to us.

If you have questions or would like to discuss further, please reach out to Student & Athlete Defense attorneys Susan Stone (scs@kjk.com or 216.736.7220) or Kristina Supler (kws@kjk.com or 216.736.7217).


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