The Traveller Vs Tourist debate has been ongoing for years, with many arguing there’s actually no difference between the two.
Others say being a “traveller” is about immersing yourself in local culture and being a respectful traveller.
One of the greatest gifts life has to offer to us is the opportunity to travel, and those who are fortunate to have experienced it know that it’s hard to forget.
The Travellers Vs Tourist Debate
The memories stay imprinted with you forever and you feel like a humbled, happier and more appreciative of the life you are so fortunate to live. Possibilities are boundless and travelling is a deeply enriching experience which everyone should experience at least once in their lives.
However, where some people find travelling second nature, others find it a burden.
Travellers are impulsive at heart and ready for everything, they blend into their surroundings like a chameleon, and if you didn’t know them before their journey you would have sworn they were a local.
Tourists, however, find it difficult to adapt, hard to settle and spend most of them time travelling on edge as they fear the unexpected and miss the comfort of familiarity.
When it comes to the ‘travellers Vs tourist’ debate, I believe this is the real difference. One is a natural nomad, thriving in the unfamiliarity of their surroundings. The other is a tourist, a visitor ready to experience their surroundings at arm’s length reluctant to leave their comfort zones.
Although the difference between these two might be seemingly small, their experiences are substantially different. The travellers experience is unrivalled, their experiences are more authentic and more enriching.
For those who find it difficult to visit other countries and become a traveller instead of a tourist, we have put together a few tips on how to do just that.
Traveller Vs Tourist – How To Travel Like A Local
A guide book is just a guide.
Most people follow a guidebook when travelling to get the lowdown on all there is to do and see in a place. But there is much more to see and experience in a destination than iconic landmarks and sites.
In fact, it’s not even half of what there is to do. As most tourist attractions have become super westernised – due to the number of western tourists – a lot of the iconic places seem to lose their sense of magic and authenticity.
A traveller will use on these sites as a guide but will understand that there is much more to do in an area. A traveller will find off-the-beaten track activities or sites and chase those experiences before the ones recommended in a book.
Don’t be afraid to get lost!
A traveller knows that all the best adventures come from detours. Don’t be afraid of things that lie around unplanned corners -they usually lead to better adventures.
Most tourists travel to renowned destinations. The traveller however will pick a more off-the-beaten-track destinations, places that are often rich with untampered beauty. Places like Botswana in Africa, with intimate safari experiences or India with its rich diversity, immense hope and world wonders like the Taj mahal.
There are so many interesting and unusual travel destinations around the world to see!
Language is key
Most travellers make a point in learning basic phrases and vital words from the destination they are traveling to, as it is the key to understanding the dynamics and culture of the people even further. It is a way to show respect and appreciation to the people whom you are trying to communicate with.
It shows them that you value their home and their culture, and you do not wish to impose yourself on them, but to immerse yourself in the culture. Language is the first step to doing so. Plus, it generally makes travelling a whole lot easier and opens you up to a whole bunch of new possible experiences that wouldn’t have been on offer before.
No matter where you travel in the world you are likely to come across aspects of the western world that are almost impossible to escape – and even more so to resist when you’ve been homesick or if the foreign food isn’t agreeing with your stomach.
Places like Burger King or McDonalds are speckled across the world like unbalanced game of Monopoly. A tourist will be unfathomably drawn to these places of familiarity and return to them more often than not, seeking solace in their familiarity and structure. Instead, go out and learn how the locals eat. A traveller however will avoid these places at all cost and if feeling homesick or uneasy will seek local more authentic experiences to their destination for comfort and fulfilment.
Go out and try new things, you won’t regret it.
Hi! I’m Janet Newenham, an Irish-born digital nomad and blogger. My blog, Journalist On The Run, is a journal of my travels and career hurdles, as well as a “bucket list for life.” In my youth, reading inspired me to create and achieve goals for my future.
My long list of goals took me to places I could never have dreamed of, each one inspiring me toward the next. Along the way, I picked up a few awards like “Digital Media Travel Journalist Of The Year” in both 2017 and 2019 while simply doing what I love.
Now, well into my 30s, I’ve seen so many of the world’s alcoves that it would be wrong not to share my experiences with you. This blog is my way of taking you around the world with me, and I hope you enjoy the ride.
My goal was to visit 50 countries before I hit 30. I never imagined that at 37, I could proudly say I’ve seen 101 of the world’s beautiful countries. Of course, no matter how much you think you’ve traveled, there is still so much left to see, and I look forward to going on the run with you.
Tempo Traveller for Char Dham
Tuesday 6th of February 2018
Nice post I understand every moment in travel.
Lisa // Fjords and Beaches
Monday 15th of January 2018
Loved this, Janet! Sharing it :)