Here’s how we think about it. Both tourists and travelers are on a journey. But the experience and destination are very different between the two.
A tourist is someone who is visiting only the most popular places where other tourists will be. They are thinking about ticking boxes and showing people up on social media. Their trip is more of a standard two week vacation, and they don’t plan on immersing themselves in the culture and world of the place they are visiting. When you think tourist, you think tour buses, cruise ships, tourist traps, and selfie sticks. The word has a negative connotation to it.
By contrast, a traveler is someone who is less directed in the way they travel. Travelers have time to wander and take advantage of this time. They realize that not everything will go according to the plan and they are fine with that. Overnight buses, hostels, and camping in the woods are not problems in the slightest. They eschew the bigger tourist destinations in favor of places that are harder to get to, less crowded and more fulfilling. They curate their own experiences and don’t rely on others to do the work for them. The experience of traveling and immersing oneself in a foreign (or domestic) culture is the destination and the goal. What do you think of this comparison? Do you agree? Vote on the best image below or add your opinion.