A woman who works in the travel industry has taken to TikTok to “deinfluence” potential travelers from visiting destinations that have been “hyped up” by popular content creators.
On Sept. 1, Bekyy Khera (@bekyykhera), who works in the travel industry “with Italy as their expertise,” posted a video in which she addressed common misconceptions about travel hot spots that appear to be better on Instagram than in real life.
“I’ve seen a lot of TikToks lately of people saying they felt duped by Positano and how travel bloggers and influencers act like Positano is the greatest place in the world and then they get there and they’re like, ‘Hmm,'” Khera said of the Italian village located on the Amalfi Coast. “Positano is really beautiful and I did enjoy my time there, however, I think it’s one of those places that if you don’t have a lot of money, if you’re not rich, if you’re not making this a big splurge trip, it’s not really worth doing on a budget.”
If experiencing “those quintessential Italian towns” is your goal, Khera suggested visiting neighboring villages on the coast like Liguria or Cinque Terre instead.
“It was one of my first places I went on a total backpacker budget, staying in hostels, and it can really be done in any price range,” she said.
Following a recent trip to Positano, which she dubbed “the Instagram capital of the world,” Vox writer Rebecca Jennings further called into question this idea of being influenced to travel somewhere that requires disposable income to actually experience some of the luxury presented on social media.
“Everything about the way the industry works now — booking websites, credit cards, Chase points, Instagram — makes us believe that actually, we can afford to visit a place like Positano, and that it will look just as glorious as the photos taken from the most expensive resorts,” she writes. “Being adjacent to luxury, though, is not the same thing as experiencing it.”
Bali, according to Khera, is another travel destination that she feels is “hyped up way too much” by influencers.
“Most pictures you see of Bali are just nearby islands. Now, I love Bali. I have been twice … but I’m a beach girl, and I just think there are better beaches. So if you only have so much PTO and you can go on one trip, go to the Philippines instead of Bali,” she suggested, referring to paid time off. “The beaches are immaculate. The local food, the culture, the people are just incredible.”
Blaine Musca, also known as “professional adventurer” @beachbumblaine on TikTok, frequently shares dreamy and aesthetically pleasing travel content with her more than 435,000 followers. Musca posted a video on Aug. 31 showcasing the villa she rented with her best friends in Bali, Indonesia.
The video has since been viewed more than 2.1 million times and has over 423,000 likes.
Similar to the Philippines, Khera advocates for a trip to Dublin instead of London.
London, said Khera, seems like a city that “U.S. study-abroad girlies” visit and then refer to as “the best place in the world.” Dublin, on the other hand, is more worthwhile to visit, she said.
Similarly, while influencers may hype up Madeira, Portugal, said Khera, the Azores has “the same Portuguese culture” and “welcoming people” but with an arguably better view. Osaka, Japan, which Khera claims influencers typically visit just for a day trip, is more favorable to visit for a longer time than Kyoto is.
“Same with Chicago,” she added. “I was born and raised in New York, and I will live and die by Chicago being a better city.”
‘Too many travel influencers with perfect pictures and not being really honest’
Khera’s video has resonated with several travelers, the majority of whom are grateful for her honest opinions about overhyped travel destinations. Some TikTok users, however, are less inclined to agree with her suggested cities to visit.
“HARD agree on Osaka and Chicago!! I went to Osaka and absolutely fell in love with it,” @theliabird claimed.
“I think this is much needed advice. Too many travel influencers with perfect pictures and not being really honest,” @nutellaandvanilla wrote.
“There are not hostels in cinque terre. It is not affordable,” @fuzzycockface argued, to which Khera replied, “There are hostels in La Spezia which is just a few minutes away. Most people stay there and take the train into the villages.”
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