9 Faux Pas When Seeking Travel Advice from Your Travel Blogger Friends/Acquaintances

I love talking about travel and sharing specific and personalized travel tips, advice and info. But I don’t love when people abuse my time and generosity, which happens often in this world as most people don’t realize how personal and subjective traveling is.

So today I’m sharing 9 Don’t Do’s, when it comes to asking your travel blogger or avid traveler friends for travel advice.

Text me:”I have ten days, where should I go?” Ummm….I have no idea! What’s your budget? How far do you want to travel? What kinds of climates do you like? What activities do you want to do? There are SO parameters to factor in and your question is thoughtless. And to be honest I find it pretty inconsiderate as it demonstrates the person’s disregard for my time.

Email me something like this, “Hi! I’m going to Thailand this summer? Do you have any tips?” Really? Like I’m supposed to spend my time telling you everything to know about an entire country? How about narrowing it down to certain places in Thailand? Better yet, narrow it down to an area, plus types of activities i.e. hiking, boating, adventure, temples etc., plus how much time you have, plus things you’re interested in and not interested in.

No research: When I’m out socially, people will often ask me for advice on their next travel plans. If it’s a place I’m familiar with I’m happy to talk about it and I start by asking questions. And that’s usually where the conversation breaks down, because the person usually can’t answer any of my questions – because they haven’t done any research or homework to learn about their destination. Depending on the situation I take a step back and give them a brief overview of the country/destination and things to consider. And by then, their attention span is lost and the conversation moves on.

Withholding Info: I recently helped a friend with her general, “I have a week in Australia, what should I do?” inquiry. As a travel writer that focuses on nuance and detail I asked her a few questions to narrow down the scope of her trip and from there spent an hour of my time writing a very thoughtful response with everything from:

  • places to go
  • things to see
  • restaurants, bars, and shopping
  • and even sample itineraries for a few days.

Afterwards she sent me a thank you email and only then did she share that this trip is her baby moon. Seriously?? The majority of the activities I suggested were unsuitable for a pregnant woman. And a lot of the restaurants I recommended revolved around drinking great wine! It was so incredibly inconsiderate and rude of her and she wasted my time.

I’m thinking about going to “x” country/place? Tell me about it: Ummmm, ok. Can you be more specific please? What do you want to know?

It’s annoying when people start their trip planning by reaching out to me first: I spend hours writing the articles on my blog. Please don’t disrespect my time by contacting me about something you could have found on my blog, on your own.

Non-specific questions: For example, “can you recommend where I can find vegetarian food in Australia/France/Brasil?” You’re asking me for recommendations for the entire country? Let’s narrow this down: what areas are you planning to visit? What kind of restaurants do you like: casual, fine dining? What cuisines? How are you planning to get around in-country?

A much better question would be, “can you recommend a restaurant where we can get vegetarian food in Darling Harbour? We’re looking for something that’s relatively quick as we have a small window in-between activities”.

When people say to me, “Name a place I absolutely HAVE to go”: I have NO idea. This is 100% subjective. I don’t know your tastes and preferences, where you’ve already been, what kind of traveler you are – luxury vs. backpacker. What you like to do, what you don’t like to do.

I had to interrupt someone who was going on and on about all the amazing seafood and steak she ate at wherever destination she’d recently traveled to. As she spoke, I felt like I was going to be sick as she in-detail described how the steaks and seafood were cut, prepared, and cooked. She had no way of knowing I’m vegetarian and that I had literally 0 appreciation for anything she was describing. But that’s my point. She didn’t ask me before she started talking either. She assumed that I’d value what she was saying. And in fact it had the exact opposite impact on me, as I was only further and further deterred from going there.

I was at a dinner party a few weeks ago and joined a circle of strangers. This one man was talking a lot about how everyone MUST visit China. And he shared some pretty interesting stories of things he saw – cultural things that were so different than anything he’d ever seen and certainly different than life in the US. That was his first international trip so he experienced major culture shock. I listened to his funny stories and his insistence that everyone has to go to China – “you’ll never see anything like it!” The thing was all the funny stories he shared about behavior in China, I’d seen the same or similar things in India. So while I’d definitely love to go to China his perspective was just that….his.

So when people ask me “Name a place I just HAVE to go”, I don’t answer because I can’t answer that question intelligibly.

Your Help is Forgotten: I appreciate it when people whom I’ve helped circle back with me later and let me know how their trip went, send a photo or two, or just say “thanks, your tips were helpful”. Most people don’t do this. It’s one of those things that if that person asked me for help again in the future I’d be much more inclined to go out of my way for them compared to someone who didn’t circle back with me. And it’s just good etiquette!

{Jerry Maguire: Help Me Help you!}

The overarching theme here reminds me of Jerry Maguire’s famous words, “Help me help you!”. I love talking about travel and if I have time I enjoy helping people with travel tips and advice in addition to my blog. But meet me half way by doing your homework before you come to me. And be considerate of others’ time that they’re taking to help you.


If you’re going to ask someone for travel advice:

  • Do some homework first before asking for help.
  • Ask specific questions.
  • Don’t withhold info that could impact their recommendations.
  • Read my/your friend’s blog and tell me/them know you read it.
  • Circle back with me/your friend after your trip.

{About PassportPages}

I created the PassportPages travel blog, to provide nuanced, detailed travel advice, tips, and hacks for traveling all over the world — from a unique and different perspective than the other popular travel blogs. There aren’t as many travel blogs geared towards:

  • nuanced, detailed travel tips and advice
  • vegetarians/vegan travelers
  • ethnic Americans, Canadians, and others
  • women, especially petite women

{About Samta}

When I’m not traveling and/or adventuring (and even when I am), I operate my tech startup, ShaadiShop. ShaadiShop is a marketplace for Indian-friendly wedding venues in California.

During undergrad I decided to study abroad which triggered my travel passion. I lived in Adelaide, Australia for a year and after that, for the next 10 years I spent 1-2 months each year, traveling to various destinations around the globe, on my own while I managed my direct marketing company.

I think traveling solo, prepared me to become an entrepreneur – journeying into new experiences, figuring it out as I went, self-reliance, facing your fears head on, trying new things, and so much more!

Then I decided to get a Masters in Business Administration in southern California, and I met my husband. Now we travel around the globe together and often. I love backpacks, vegetarian and vegan cooking and of course planning our next trip. I’m also kinda addicted to blueberries. =p

Check in on the blog or better yet follow PassportPages to get travel info from around the world. And definitely post your questions and comments. I love hearing from our readers! Cheers!

Samta, Founder, PassportPages

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