Tourist vs Traveller. Which One Are You?

We often use the words, tourist and traveller, interchangeably not quite making any difference between these two terms. Dictionaries are just the same and they think as we do. But in life, these two types of visitors have different attitudes and way of exploring the country they are visiting. It has a little bit with the one’s personal lifestyle and a character as well.

It’s more of a personal choice of how anyone would like to spend their time in foreign destinations. The truth is that tourist or traveller, both may certainly have an experience unique to the country.


The tourists would keep their comfort when traveling and be visiting other countries. They usually like to pack their most comfortable clothes in a big suitcase, or check-in luggage and will accommodate in hotels or resorts where international menus are served, most of the time with all-inclusive packages. They prefer meeting with people from other parts of the world, tourists just like them. Being with people that have that same desire to see and explore the best that the destination has to offer is a very nice feeling though.

They would spend most of their time on the beaches just resting and enjoying the sun. Or they’ll take few organized tours when the tour guides will lead them throughout that experience and they would take a lot of photos of the most astonishing and significant places of the destination on the way.

These tours are often provided in different languages and the tourist would rarely speak the language of the destination visited. Tourist would simply never get lost in the new place but instead would always stay strictly attached to the maps. Even when they shop they tend to do that in their comfort zone in the chain markets or specific souvenir shops. Finally, a tourist would constantly make that comparison between home and there.

Although for every one of us, being responsible in our travels, includes learning few words of the local’s language and most importantly use them with the people there, the thing is that not everyone can learn easy to speak and express themselves in other languages than their mother tongue. Still, at least anyone can do is learning five to ten most commonly used words or phrases of the local’s language.

Another thing is the food, which is also a sensitive subject. Many people won’t or can’t experiment much with different dishes and foreign kitchens. Simply, eating and sleeping are the two most important activities of our body for proper health and for many people food is their main enjoyment. Most of us feel really bad without a good night sleep or the good food that we like to eat. But, it won’t do much of a harm either, trying some of the delicious local specialties too prepared in the local restaurants. If you pick your favorite type of food, like potato or rice, for example, it might work just as great.

Tourism was developed with the intention of many people to be able to visit foreign countries, enjoy their beauty, to get to know other cultures, as well as experience a bit of people’s way of life there.

So, every country has a system of presenting the most beautiful and popular landmarks in the best possible way. And that is something we should all be respectful of. Everything that exists in the way of organized tours or excursions for tourists, exists for a visitor’s better experience of that country. It saves a lot of our time too.

Simply put we are the guests in those countries and the hosts would love to show us in their best way what they have in their home countries that are proud of.

Immersing yourself in the local’s everyday life and culture it simply takes time and most of the people don’t have that much of a time when on vacation with more or less 10 days available off work. It’s more of an escape from the daily routines and seeking relaxation. That’s why most of the people would like their time in those limited days to be best spent more in a way of, enjoying the weather the sand and sea, swimming and relaxing or exploring the nature, or the significant cultural marks as much as they can.

Finally, we are on a vacation and should feel excellent.


The other way around is the travellers way of exploring the destination. They would go on their own or with a companion, and never take group tours when exploring the places they visit. A traveller would pack light and accommodate in local houses, private condos, guest houses, or camp. He would probably avoid the main attractions, usually overcrowded with tourists and visitors, and go off the beaten path.

Travellers would spend their time with locals, eat local food and experience the place through the lens of the people that live there.  That’s why they will probably learn a few words or more of the local’s language too. They will make that link with the people there and sense a little bit of their way of life. Their photos would be full of people they’ve met on the way and the natural surroundings, expressing everyday life, instead of the usual typical photos of the most popular attractions. A traveller would probably read and get to know a lot about the destination beforehand, simply because he would prefer traveling out of the tourist area in the places that are not included in the guidebooks.

Most of their money would be spent in local communities and not in the tourism sector. Eating in a local restaurant, shopping in local markets, buying souvenirs and handmade products will help the local communities a lot.

Although most of the people that work in the tourism sector are employees, residents from the destination or locals, like the ones working in the hotels or at the tour operators still, the owners of the resorts and hotel chains are overseas residents, so the money often goes outside the country. But, nowadays there are examples of successful cooperation between the hotels and local communities as well in a way that a lot of the local cultural performers or people that sell handicrafts for example, on particular days of the week, are invited in some hotels to perform, dance or sell their goods to the guests.

In the end, we shouldn’t forget about the fact that today the term tourist is broadened and it doesn’t just cover tourists traveling only for leisure, but includes anyone that visits another destination or any visitor in short, outside of their usual environment for less than a year, including for business, health, education or other.