Who else spent all last summer working? And who else now barely has any money, and will end up going into overdraft? I remember that on my days off, I would look at travel TikTok. Which I guess makes sense, considering that we had been in a pandemic for the last, well, 1 and a half years. But never mind, because at least there was TikTok to keep us company, and to, well, keep us hopeful about what we may be able to do in the following year. And guess what guys! I have been lucky, as I have only recently returned from Portugal, and it was bloody beautiful! Yet, also expensive. Of course, there is also the time factor. And although it is true that a lot of us would rather spend our young years travelling, as opposed to working our buts off, if it were so easy and doable, surely more people would be doing it.
What is Travel TikTok?
Travel TikTok refers to short videos on TikTok featuring various places suggested for people to visit, which are often aesthetically appealing. However, digging a little deeper into travel TikTok, I found that some of the videos contained extremely helpful messages to potential viewers. For a start, the videos had places which would suggest destinations which the viewer “probably hasn’t heard of.” Therefore, if less popular destinations are being featured on TikTok, it should lead to less over tourism. This would reduce overcrowding in small areas, which would have a positive impact on locals, the general environment and even tourists! Plus, it does make sense to travel to less well-known places because it is likely to be far less expensive! Finally, I would like to mention that there are many full-time travelers on TikTok who produce tips, including tips on solo travelling, guidance on how travelling can be done on a budget, and even tips on how to travel the world- as a rather tempting alternative to settling down in life…
The Advantages of Travel
So, from what you have heard so far, “travel TikTok” is not only innocent, but it can also be extremely helpful. As National Geographic puts it, TikTok may end up changing the way in which people go about travelling, which is especially true for millennials and Gen z who are more likely to use TikTok than the older generations. But let’s remind ourselves of the advantages of travelling. Also, it enables us to see and experience a range of diverse cultures, which enables us to open our minds and understand people around us. From a more practical point of view, in the interconnected world that we are in today, this could be something of real value in the workplace. Finally, whilst this is just my own opinion, the purpose of us being in the world is to be able to experience things, see and learn new things, and really to have fun.
Problems with Travel
Nonetheless, it is now important to take a deeper dive into this generation’s obsession with travel and see whether this is something as feasible as it appears. As “web MD” states, being able to travel somewhere is an Exciting Privilege. Exciting because hell yes, if you can travel somewhere, see somewhere new, and if you happen to be between 18 and I do not know late 20s, then get drunk every night without feeling guilty, then it is extremely exciting! Nonetheless, as already mentioned, it is awfully expensive, making frequent travel unfeasible for many. Another point about travel, According to Web MD again, is that people who travel extensively may be using it as a form of escapism, rather than as a way of addressing their former problems. This can potentially be dangerous, because of course when you go to a new place, especially on your own, nothing is familiar, and you are less likely to have close friends or family there who have your back, therefore adapting to new routines alone can leave someone already vulnerable, well even more vulnerable. Meanwhile, it can prevent people from settling down in life. Meanwhile, travel can have a negative impact on local and global environments.
How we can Overcome this
However, there are ways in which the environmental impacts can be mitigated. For instance, you can visit out of peak season. Furthermore, flights and accommodation are likely to be far cheaper. Also, there is the option of going to places where less people have heard of, because again these places are likely to be just as nice, potentially even nicer as there’s fewer people trying to visit at the same time, compared to places which suffer significant constraints of over tourism. Some other ways of travelling responsibly can include aiming to spend money on local businesses, such as in small cafes or in local markets, be environmentally conscious when travelling such as using the local public transport when you can and appreciating and taking note of cultural differences. Again, on TikTok I admit that I have seen little on tips concerning how to be more environmentally friendly when travelling, and while it is fair that there are plenty of environmental posts if you have the right for you page, this does not link to travelling.
Another issue concerning tourism is the potential contrast of cultures. Often when travelling to a country with a culture very different to one’s own, it can lead to culture shock, which according to “go overseas,” relates to a feeling of disorientation, annoyance, and/or hostility experienced when you visit a country with norms and traditions different from your own.” Therefore, this is something which does take time to adapt to, nonetheless if large groups of tourists simply choose not to adapt, this can be discomforting for the local population. An effective way to overcome this is to read up on the culture before you visit somewhere whether you are going to volunteer or just to visit the place.
Overall, travel TikTok has a positive impact, encouraging people to try and explore more of the world, and suggesting cheaper ways of doing this. Nonetheless, it is important to be aware of some of the advantages and disadvantages of travel, while it would be good if travel TikTok could contain more advice concerning how to travel in a sustainable and healthy way.