Influencer sparks backlash for telling people to ‘just book a flight’ to Thailand

One American travel TikToker is being criticised for making a statement that has been declared “out of touch” by many of her viewers.

Kat Crittenden posted to her page on 17 August during her recent excursion to Thailand. In the video, she was seen wading through crystal blue water with her arms up as she spun the camera to pan her surroundings. “What are y’all still doing in America?” she asked.

The influencer, known for her worldwide travel content, attempted to encourage her followers to be spontaneous and plan the trip of their dreams like she had. Crittenden told viewers that they could be swimming between magnificent mountains on a Thursday night too “if you just book a freaking flight”.

“Me again, convincing you to travel, lol,” her caption read.

While Crittenden’s intention in posting the video, which has now gained over five million views, may have been innocent, her followers were quick to call the message insensitive. Over 12,900 users flocked to the comments under her post, where they explained that they don’t have the money or means to go on adventures like her.

“I don’t have rich parents,” one viewer wrote, while another sarcastically asked: “Can you get your parents to pay for my travel expenses as well?”

Another person added: “I’ll put living paycheck to paycheck on hold so I can do that. Thanks for the advice.”

“Some of us actually have to work,” one TikToker noted.

Crittenden posted a secondary video to address the criticism she’d received and set the record straight about where her travel funds come from. She clarified that her parents aren’t funding her vacations, and said she never grew up with a lot of money. According to the TikToker, the only family trip she took was to Wisconsin at a young age and her first time leaving America was for a solo trip when she was 18 years old.

“I am endlessely grateful that I had the ability to go see my family and this video is not complaining about that AT ALL, it’s emphasising that I travel with my money and I worked for this and saved for this for years myself,” she said.

Even after uploading the follow-up video about her background, individuals still criticised her for not acknowledging how traveling even within the US is a privilege. Many pointed out how her original post disregarded that some people couldn’t just book a ticket on a whim due to a lack of expendable income.

Crittenden’s spokesperson and talent manager at Bloomie, Sofia Cano, told The Independent: “First and foremost, Kat wishes to acknowledge and deeply apologise for any insensitivity conveyed in her recent video encouraging travel.”

She continued: “While her intention was purely positive, she recognises the concerns raised by many, especially in light of the current economic challenges. Her goal with the video was to motivate others to explore and step outside their comfort zones. However, she understands that the timing and delivery might have been off.”

Cano announced Crittenden’s plan to give back to her audience as she acknowledges that she couldn’t travel the way she does without them.

“I wouldn’t be able to create my content and travel to the lengths that I do without my community of followers that I’ve built from the amazing people that support me. Everytime I grow another 100,000 followers, I have a tradition of doing a giveaway,” the TikToker said. “Typically it’s a backpack or some travel goodies, but this time I’ve decided to do a flight voucher to better help someone in my community go out and explore. Not only do I want to inspire others to explore, I also want to help them travel by sharing budgeting tips and helpful guides.”

Looking forward, Cano expressed her client’s desire to change her approach online. “Kathryn is committed to being more mindful and considerate of the broader context in which her content is presented,” she added.