Tourist Vs Traveler, Which One Are You?

Tourist Vs Traveler, Which One Are You?

I came across a series of illustrations from the internet about the ways of traveling of a tourist vs a traveler. As I go through it, I cant help but get annoyed at how shallow and pretentious it was. It somehow suggests that one is better than the other based on their traveling style. It’s stupid, surfaced-level and plain non-sense.

The sad part is, people can get hung up on labels. They want to be called travelers instead of tourists. They thought that to be a true traveler, one must carry a backpack instead of a suitcase. One must sleep at cheap hostels instead of comfortable hotels. One must not plan their trips ahead and be spontaneous. One must hitchhike than get a cab. One must have a DSLR and a tripod instead of selfie sticks. One must go off the beaten path than see the popular sights.

tourist vs travelerWe can all have our preference, it doesn’t make you less than a traveler if you stay at a hotel with private rooms instead of a shared hostel dorm. It doesn’t make you less than a traveler if you prefer to see the popular sights than go climb a mountain somewhere. One must never shame the others of their traveling style. I for one loves eating at posh restaurants even when Im on a budget trip but I also eat a lot of street food. It doesn’t really matter. I wouldn’t intentionally avoid a fine dining restaurant just because Im supposed to be backpacker and I should only eat local street food. Unless Im running out of budget, then naturally I would avoid pricey restaurants.

tourist vs. travelerThe truth is, its not about how we travel but rather how we see things when we travel. A true traveler knows how to appreciate things even in the most unlikely situation. They always have this childlike wonder and they always choose to see the beauty in everything. You may be sleeping in a tent instead of a hotel but when all you do is complain about the inconveniences instead of appreciating the fact that you are sleeping under the blanket of stars, then it defeats the purpose. As Pico Iyer said, nowhere is magical unless you can bring the right eyes to it. Let’s not get hung up on labels. If some people wants comfort when they travel, let’s not shame them for it. Stop telling others how to travel because yours is not the only right way. I couldn’t care less about this “tourist vs traveler” label, I can be both for all I care. To each his own.



  1. Lurhen

    Hi Getz! I’ve read something similar. Some people put themselves on pedastal and choose to invent their own definition of a word to glorify themselves. Yes, annoying!
    So I checked again the simple meaning of those two words:
    Travel-to GO FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER; as on a trip; journey.
    Tourist- a person who are traveling or visiting a place FOR PLEASURE.
    I strongly believe we are traveling tourist!
    I AM BOTH. I wouldn’t let another human being to define my journey.
    Safe travels!

    • Getz

      Hi Lurhen, sorry for the super late reply. I totally agree with you. We should not be defined by these labels. Wishing you more travels this year. Cheers! =)


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