The Whiteness of Travel: Privilege in the World of Travel Blogging

Travelling is a privilege. And when it comes to privilege, nobody racks that shit up like us white people. That, my friends, is a historically inescapable fact. I wanted to explore that very fact a little further within the wonderful world of travel blogging. Now, I don’t spend a whole lot of time reading travel blogs except when I am doing specific research for a trip. Aside from taking part in Nomadic Matt's forum, I usually just focus on my own writing, peppered with some travel research when I am planning my next adventure.

according to  Leave Your Daily Hell  white privilege is "gobbledygook"

according to Leave Your Daily Hell white privilege is "gobbledygook"


After seeing the above quote (and subsequently face-palming) I decided to explore the lack of POC in the world of travel blogging to see just how white that world really is. To do so I looked up the top 50 travel blogs for the first quarter of 2015, ranked by visitor traffic. I took a gander through them all to find out more about the bloggers themselves, and while a few of the sites weren’t actually working/had problems/lacked info, I was able to collect the most basic of info from the majority of the blogs and bloggers.

At a glance, 9 of the top 50 travel bloggers are people of color. I say at a glance because I am merely going by the photos made available and by their own bios on their sites. Perhaps some of these fine individuals are white-passing, which if that is the case I totally apologize for misrepresenting their identity. That being said, we have around 18% of the top travel blogs being run by people of color. While that is more than I expected, 18% still isn’t a lot. 

28% of the top 50 blogs were run by women; that's about 14 of the 50 (20 if you include couples and teams with women, which would bump that shit up to 40%). That is a lot higher than I expected, though I think it's also worth noting that the vast majority of these female bloggers are white. 

On top of that, the financial icing (vanilla!) on this deliciously privileged cake: around 86% of the top 50 bloggers are from G20 countries. That is to say around 43 of the 50 top travel blogs are run by folks from the most wealthy countries in the world. *mic drop*

Looking at these numbers, while hardly anything in-depth or decidedly scientific, does paint a pretty white picture when it comes to the world of travel. Don't believe me? Take a look at any hostel dorm room and tell me it isn't stacked with white people, no doubt all wearing New Balance shoes and watching TED talks. 

Real Talk. The overwhelming majority of people on this planet can't just quit their shitty job(s) and buy a plane ticket to some remote destination, highlighting their journey with generic quotes on over-saturated instagram photos. Being able to do that shit is a privilege, and one that is decidedly white. Keep in mind, the median annual HOUSEHOLD income for the world is UNDER $10,000. So think about that next time you slap a Kerouac quote over a sunset and seek to inspire the world to #yolo. 

The following infographic has updated stats from the 3rd quarter of 2015. Still pretty darn white...

P.S. – Did you know I wrote book? Check it out on Amazon!