Does “Travel Snobbery” Exist?

Does “Travel Snobbery” Exist?


A few years ago Huff Post (Snob term, see what I did there) posted 22 Reasons You Are a Travel Snob. While the article focused more on international and leisure adventures than business travel, it did make me reflect a bit, which pleased my therapist.

Hello, I’m Steve. I’m a travel snob.” Everyone in unison, “Hello, Steve.” Not a total snob, but I do have a few snobbish tendencies. I don’t get in the TSA line behind old people and families with small children, especially if the small children are wearing mouse ears flying out of Orlando. I rarely stop at the front desk when I’m checking out of a hotel, as I know they’ll email me a bill. I want a hotel room at the end of the hall, away from the elevator and the traveling swim team that insists on running up and down the hall screaming at 1:00 AM.  A few idiosyncrasies, but nothing to make me the poster child for travel snobbery.

This snobbery post was brought on by the recent Thrillist article I Wore an Expensive Watch While Traveling, and People Treated Me Wayyy Differently. I read a lot, I call it research.

For me, the article comes down to this paragraph;

Over the course of the summer, the way I was treated while traveling generally improved. Hotel front desks actually seemed to care when my internet didn’t work. Flight attendants gave me whole cans of soda. When I got first-class upgrades, the people I sat next to actually talked to me (watches, I later learned, are how regular first-class flyers can tell the real money from the upgrades). I wasn’t sure if it was just the confidence that came from wearing an expensive watch that caused people to treat me better, or it was the watch itself. Either way, my watch and I were clearly sending a message.

I’m a watch guy, nothing like John Mayer, but enough to appreciate a solid quartz movement and a watch face that shows signs of patina. To my knowledge, nothing on my wrist has led me to any sort of an upgrade. I also doubt that it’s given me an edge in any business discussion, and more than likely anything from Diesel would generate more comments than what I’m wearing.

Watches are an extension of one’s style, be it blinged out or something you picked up at the local Stop-N-Rob, but don’t think it’s going to get you anything, especially an upgrade. Expensive watches are just gonna make you more of whatever you are. If you’re a snob and you strap on an expensive watch – You’re a super snob, right?

My secret for getting upgrades with hotels & rental cars (It’s much tougher with the airlines) is very simple, just ask. The key is in the execution of asking, here are two tips

  1. Put your cell phone away, no texting, no sexting, no checking in on Swarm and no tweeting…. #NoUpgrade
  2. Stand up straight and ask clearly, “Is there a chance you have any upgrades available?”


In this crazy and cold world, people still enjoy helping others. They like the ability to make someone’s day, or night, no matter how insignificant it might appear. Besides if you get shot down, you’re no worse for wear.

**** If you’re a watch person, or know someone that is, then check out Eleven James. It’s like NetFlix, but for watches. For a monthly fee, you’ll have access to wear (borrow) watches that few can afford.Try it, and let me know if you get that upgrade.

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