A tourist or a traveler… Which one are you?

It’s not the same being a tourist and being a traveler. Many people don’t  know the difference between these two concepts and yet there are many!
If you have been a backpacker, you know that it’s far from hopping on a tourist bus and getting pretty pictures from not even getting out of the comfort of the AC. There is a lot of elements that make up for one trip or the other.

While the term we use for all types of activity that involves leaving our city is to “travel”, there are different types of travel. The two main groups are tourists and travelers. What distinguishes one group from another are the preferences and choices they make on how to move, what attractions to visit, where to stay, who travel, among other things.


1. Traveling in packs?

Tourists often travel in groups, either with family, friends or on organized tours. By contrast, travelers often prefer to do it alone or in very small groups. The tourist believes that traveling alone and meeting people in the way is more fun; a traveler thinks that traveling alone allows you more freedom of movement.

2. Accommodation

This point is key to differentiate a tourist from a traveler. A tourist will have his bookings, hotel and daytrips planned. A traveler will always choose local accommodation, or probably not even knowing where he will be spending the night. He must always have a plan B, in case everything goes wrong.

3. Mobility

While on the first glance both the tourist and the traveler usually travel by plane, once they reach destination,  tourists prefer to rent a car or buy bus tickets.On the other hand, the traveler chooses to wait for someone a ride or simply choose to walk.

On the other hand, the traveler chooses to wait for someone to provide a ride or simply choose to walk. Travelers prefer to move on their own, bike or walk.

4. Activities and day planning

Tourists will ensure visiting the attractions and popular references in each city. They may even hire a complete tour, to avoid the hassle of getting lost orinteracting with “scary” strangers.

On the other hand, the traveler makes an adventure in a very particular way, doesn’t plan what to visit, and instead asks locally for references. The traveler prefers to discover lesser known places that often are not even in the guidebooks.

5. Luggage

Luggage tourist absolutely covers all the needs that may arise in the middle of the trip. From credit cards of all kinds, lots of clothes to painkillers that will cure anything.

Contrary to this, the traveler detests plan, as he feels that his trip loses all magic and is carried away by what he feels like doing at the time, no worries. The traveler is more relaxed and does not foresee a need to overpack; just pack needs, little clothing and a good camera to record everything properly… Little money and big plans!

6. Memories

The difference is really huge. Tourists takes pictures of which they are main accesory to a sightseeing destination. He does not find it logical to photograph landscape, architecture or regular people doing everyday things.

Unlike the tourist, the traveler takes beautiful records from different places and natural landscapes that they visit and does not care if he appears in them or not. He just wants to take in the real essence of and adventure!

Tourist or traveler?


These are just some of the main differences between the two groups of people who, despite performing the same activity, have very different styles of doing so. It is important to note that none is better than another, they are simply two very different ways of an adventure, and depending on the way of being of each person, will enjoy one more than another.

Perhaps we could summarize the differences enters travelers and tourists saying that tourists tend to plan their travel more, including going to see and where they are staying, while travelers prefer  to improvise.

You know the difference between a tourist and a traveler. We can ‘t say that one is better than another, it all depends on how you look at it!  Which one are you?

 Which one are you?

What’s the point of being in a beautiful place but not interacting with the locals, without knowing how they live and think? Do you know where you fall? 

It’s amazing and unique from my point of view, as the people you know can make a difference on a journey, and can help you have that immersion in a culture that enriches incomparably one’s travel to meet other countries and cultures.

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