Cultural Sensitivity and Travel Writing

After returning from a trip, travellers are usually consumed by an overwhelming desire to tell everyone about the amazing experience they have had. This is what a travel writer is paid to do in the most eloquent way possible. However, it can also be the hardest part to master when it comes to depicting and representing other cultures.

Cultural sensitivity should be paramount when writing travel content, but it is often sorely overlooked. Mariellen Ward of the Breathedreamgo travel blog has discussed the dangers of cultural imperialism (or the belief that your way of life is better) in travel writing, while photographer Bani Amor has criticised colonialism in travel literature.

As a graduate in Social Anthropology, and an experienced travel writer, I am aware of the complicated politics of writing about location, ethnicity and society. Although there is no one-size-fits-all phrasebook to help travel writers avoid all controversy, here are my top tips to help any well-meaning travel writer traverse this complicated terrain.


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