Travelers and Tourists


On the road, you meet tourists, and then you meet travelers.

Tourists: boring. Those poor folks who are content with fixed itineraries, and who get ferried around in tour coaches from one place to another. They swarm around in groups, and are given 5 minutes at each destination to snap photographs before scooting off. Oh, and they usually stay at hotels. That’s really uncool.

Travelers: exciting, no? Those folks do not bother about itineraries, and are content with hitchhiking from one place to another. They do cool activities like downing half a dozen shots of vodka (or more), before jumping off a bridge. Oh, and they usually stay at hostels. That’s really hippie.

Some travelers also launch into a mighty fit when others call them tourists.

It’s true. Just search ‘travelers vs. tourists’ on and you’ll know what I mean.

I wonder: is there a difference between travelers and tourists? Even if there are differences, is there a need to be different?

Those who are academically-inclined would do well to author an entire book devoted to this travelers vs. tourists debate. It is, undeniably, an interesting social phenomenon.

But for the rest of us, travelers and tourists alike, isn’t it more important to just have a good time?