Are You a Traveler or a Tourist?

Many people may not think that there is a difference between a traveler and a tourist, because in the dictionary these two words are listed as synonyms for one another, but there is actually a  difference.

You are probably wondering how could there be a difference when a tourist travels to other locations just as a traveler would. That is the difference – – a tourist and a traveler do in fact travel to other locations, and can be in the exact location, at the same time, BUT, a tourist does not travel like a traveler does. The difference is between the definition of the two words. They have slightly different meanings and ideas, making one term more broader than the other. Let me explain.

A traveler’s purpose for traveling is to go on a long journey, and to immerse themselves into the culture that they have just stepped into. Travelers want to fit in, this does include their choice of clothing, and experience their travels as if they were a local of the area. They take photographs of their experiences, and not just the must-see sightseeing attractions. They love to experience the local food, and see things that only the locals may know about. They will learn more than the typical words a person should know when they visit a place that is not of their native language. And they will develop a deeper, richer connection with the place that they are traveling to.

A tourist’s purpose for traveling is to see a new place solely for their pleasure. They are not concerned with immersing themselves in the culture that they are visiting, because once again, they travel solely for their pleasure – – then they return home admiring the photos that they took of the must-see sightseeing attractions, and the trinkets that they purchased. Their photographs look like everyone else’s, which does include travel agencies. They tend to dine at franchises, because they are more comfortable with what they know. Even though, the surroundings are different, they tend to experience their travels just as they would experience their homeland, because it is comfortable for them.

All tourists are considered travelers, but not all travelers are considered tourists. The tourist label has a tendency to carry a negative connotation, and therefore, many tourists choose to not associate themselves with that label, even though their sole purpose for traveling is for pleasure.

Regardless, of whether you are a tourist, a tourist who prefers to be called a traveler, or a traveler, we are all traveling to experience our world and all of its riches.

What type of traveler are you?



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