Tourist and Traveler. Both these words have the same meaning but practically they differ in many ways. To be frank all tourists are travelers from a literary point of view but not all travelers are tourists. There are many major differences between a tourist and a traveler.
I have also noticed people associate the word traveler to someone who is always on the road doing odd jobs to support their trip. Being a solo traveler who takes short trips, I can tell that the word Traveler is a much broader term than that. A traveler can even be a businessman who goes to a foreign location for a meeting but takes time out after the meeting to explore the place. But the same person can become a tourist if he goes for a family vacation but decides to check his work emails occasionally.
The duration of the trip does not matter, it is the mindset you travel with.
So what exactly keeps a traveler apart from tourists.
A traveler plans trips but does not plan each and every bit of it. A traveler is always in search of an element of surprise. A traveler might know where he is going but never knows what he is going to experience. While a tourist has a scheduled itinerary for each and every thing he needs to do and expects to be chauffeured around by a travel agent. Simply put, tourists squander, travelers wander.
Tourists tend to get Homesick, while a traveler just loves waking up in different locations.
Tourists find it hard to adjust to a new cuisine and culture and tend to go back searching for the familiar McDonalds and KFCs while you see travelers huddled around a street food stall.
It is quite funny how a person’s social media gives away whether he is a tourist or a traveler. If you have more filtered selfies posted than landscapes then you, my friend, are a tourist. Why would anyone spoil a good landscape shot by placing themselves in the frame. That is one reason why I follow many travel bloggers so that my Instagram feed is updated with photos of places than faces.
A traveler tends to remember the airport codes of the places they visit. Strange but true. I remember all the airport codes I have flown from. A tourist barely remembers the name of the airport; airport codes are a long shot for them.
A traveler’s passport is the most important document for him. The more crumpled and dirty it gets, the more it makes a traveler happier.
A traveler does not go on rampage, checking off places on their bucket list. If a traveler loves a particular place, he will take it slow. He will be ready to spend more time there even if he has to miss out on other places.
A traveler loves traveling so much that he makes it a part time or full time job.
A traveler switches between the tourist trail and the off-beaten path to get a taste of both while a tourist sticks to the tourist trail.
Tourists go by the guide books and clicking the requisite photos while a traveler searches for the real beauty and mystery of a place and are the ones who often write the book.
So to summarize the whole thing, a traveler is someone who travels to experience a place and a tourist is someone who travels for pleasure. But there is no wrong side to traveling. Being a traveler and a tourist is basically based on personal preferences and mindset.
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