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Selfies – Are they Ruining Travel?

19th August, 2018

Today’s blog is close to my heart and I know from my chats with many of my clients it is an activity that irritates the hell out of you too.

Visit the Trevi fountain …. In fact, any major sight in Rome …. And you can feel like you are at a rock concert, your view disturbed by a forest of outstretched arms waving camera phones. What is this obsession of uploading endless photos of ourselves in exotic places?

Now let me set you straight

I am not against taking photos of yourself. Who hasn’t reached for the camera to preserve a pinch yourself moment in a far distant land? And who doesn’t want to share it – remember slide nights!

But at what point did we reduce travel to providing backdrops for us to simply ‘shoot’, tweet and then leave without really enjoying or understanding the ambience of a place?

The travel I love is clearly not the travel they love. I go in search of history, culture and atmosphere – the romance of living life, albeit briefly as a local, collecting bread from the local bakery, shopping at the weekly market and being on nodding terms with the locals.  And I know I am not alone in wanting this slow travel experience.

So, I have a favour to ask. How about we strive for a way to coexist so we can enjoy the celebrated sights in our own ways without the push and the jostle, and the ‘fisty cuffs’ that sometimes erupt over getting the exactly right spot for a selfie.

Here’s my contribution to coexistence ….

1. Be discrete and be conscious when you are intruding on someone else’s privacy and space. Take your shot and move on so others can enjoy their moment too

2. Find alternative viewpoints that won’t ruin the experience for others. Surprise yourself at how creative you can be. Buy a zoom lens (yes even I-Phones have add on zoom lenses now!) This means you don’t have to be on top of the sight to get a fabulous shot

3. Go at quieter times – there is something magical about being at the Trevi Fountain at 7:30am, with only the workmen scoping out the previous days coin taking from the fountain

4. Ask permission if you are taking photos with people in them. Some people are camera shy and asking permission prevents animosity

5. And remember there is a time and place for photos. Shoving a camera in someone’s face while they are mediating in a monastery in Tibet is not one of them. Put your phone away and enjoy the silence and act with respect

And what about you? What are some of the tips and etiquette you practice around photography? I’d love to hear them so please drop me a line at I can share them with others in later newsletters.

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