Are you a Tourist or a Traveler? Well, let’s see here, what is the difference between the two words? The Merriam-Webster dictionary seems to think that they are nearly the same. The trusted book defines a tourist as “one that makes a tour for pleasure or culture” and a traveler as “one that goes on a trip or journey.” There really isn’t much of a distinction between the two.
However, in the pompous travel community, a big, intimidating line has been drawn between these two similar terms. Being called a tourist is more condescending than being called a traveler. The tourist has been distinguished as a sort of amateur traveler, and a traveler has been determined as more of an experienced tourist. Let’s see if we can clear things up a bit.
You need to be a child before you can be an adult; likewise, you need to be a tourist before being a traveler. An all-grown-up traveler knows what it’s like to be a tourist and actively avoids most (if not all) “tourist activities.” Tourist activities are planning a short week-long trip out weeks in advance and hitting all the famous sights. It’s staying in a nice hotel, eating at fancy restaurants, taking photos of yourself, so it looks like you’re holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa…just to show your friends back home.
The traveler avoids these over-crowded activities and seeks the road less traveled to appreciate the destination’s real culture. Trust me; you want to be a traveler if you want respect from both the locals and other travelers. Confused? Don’t worry! Here are some tips that will help you with this:
Explore the Hidden Places
A tourist is most likely to see the famous landmarks or monuments of a place. But, as a traveler, you should be exploring hidden gems in a city or country. It could be anything from quaint little cafes to forests in the countryside. To do this, get in touch with like-minded people to know more about your destination. You can even run a Google search to do a little bit of research while booking cheap flights, for instance. Additionally, you can contact travel agents or guides who have expertise in this area. They will be able to take you to places that aren’t visited by too many tourists.
Immerse Yourself in the Local Culture
When you are traveling to a new place, the best way to experience it is to become a part of the local population. You can start by dressing like them and enjoying their local delicacies instead of eating at food chains. Also, you can visit the place when they have a carnival or festival going on. That will truly enlighten you about the area. This is why it’s essential to conduct a little research before starting your trip. Check out blogs and various travel sites to determine the best time to travel to a place.
Make New Friends
Don’t let the opportunity of making new friends pass when you are traveling. You never know how that person might ultimately bring in a fresh perspective to your life. Mingle more with fellow travelers and locals alike to bond with people from a completely different background than yours. One way to make new friends would be to be bond over food and music. Ask them about it and share a meal with them. This way, when you return home, you will have a lot of good memories. Who knows, your next trip might even be with someone you met on your last journey?
Now that you know how to be a traveler and not a tourist start planning your next vacation. Keep these points in mind while you are traveling, and you will come with a priceless experience.