California-based travel influencer Kat Crittenden, known for her globetrotting adventures and captivating TikTok videos, recently found herself in hot water after posting a video promoting travel to Thailand.
What did she say?
In the now-infamous video, she enthusiastically encouraged her nearly half a million followers to "just book a flight and join" her, seemingly oblivious to the financial realities most people face when planning international trips.
Crittenden has gained fame with her travel content, amassing over 19 million likes on TikTok. However, her latest video missed the mark. In the video, she frolics in the crystal-clear waters of a picturesque Thai island, exclaiming, "What are you still doing in America? This is how 5:30 p.m. on your Thursday night can look if you just book a flight. Come to Thailand; it should sell itself—just move over here."
Contrary to her expectations, the video received a barrage of criticism.
One commenter wrote, "Sister, I had to stop buying eggs because they cost $6, but of course, here I am jumping on a plane to Thailand."
Another added, "I'm in crippling debt right now, and you're telling me to get on a plane like it's something trivial?"
A third remarked, "I will ignore my debts and payments for a second so I can do it. Thanks for the advice."
And yet another commented, "I'm a full-time student, working and still struggling to pay rent, but okay, a $1,000-plus plane ticket makes perfect sense."
How people in Australia live
The majority of Crittenden's followers hail from Australia, a country grappling with a severe cost-of-living crisis. Local media reports indicate that three-quarters of Australians are currently cutting back on non-essential spending, with over two-thirds expressing heightened concerns about paying their bills, according to Cash rewards research.
Despite these economic pressures, Australians are surprisingly resolute about their travel plans. Booking.com data reveals that 63% of survey respondents have no intentions of postponing their flight plans. Moreover, more than half (53%) plan to increase both the frequency of their flights and their vacation budgets.
View this post on Instagram
Critics were quick to suggest that Crittenden's ability to travel so freely was due to financial support from her parents.
One commenter stated, "If I lived with my parents and didn't have bills to pay, I would definitely go on trips abroad every month." In response, Crittenden shared another video vehemently denying claims of parental financial support.
"My only childhood vacation was visiting family in Wisconsin during the summer," she said in the video. "I never left the country and barely ventured beyond my immediate surroundings until I started flying when I was 18."
Crittenden added in the caption, "I'm endlessly grateful that I had the ability to go see my family, and this video doesn't complain about that at all. It emphasizes that I'm flying with my own money and I've worked and saved for it for years." However, even this video stirred controversy, with one person remarking, "Whether you have rich parents or not, flying is a luxury, and most people can't just jet off whenever they want."
Reflecting on the backlash, Crittenden explained to Insider, "When I posted the video, the goal was to put up a happy, lighthearted video, just trying to inspire people to get out there and explore the world. I thought because all of my social media is travel-based, I'd just post a fun video. It was a one-take moment where I spoke my mind like, 'Oh, what are you doing in America? Go travel around the world.'"
She further revealed, "The worst reactions for me were from the people who said it was dad's money—because that's really far from reality. It bothered me the most because I didn't have a good relationship with my dad growing up. I haven't even spoken to my dad in five years."
Nevertheless, Crittenden remains undeterred by the haters, vowing to continue creating the content she loves and exploring the world.