Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Travelers and Tourists

Travelers Vs Tourists

There has been an ongoing confusion in discerning a traveler from a tourist. The trick is that many claim that they are travelers when in fact they are only like any other standard tourist. These self-proclaimed travelers arrive confused in their destinations because as a matter of fact, there are about 95% of them who are actually tourists and not travelers. So how will you differentiate the two?

Basically, travelers are those persons who travel or go from one place to the other. In some cases, they simply pass through a location. Tourists on the other hand come to a place in order to see the sights and listen to the sounds of their destinations. They almost always look forward to the inherent attractions present within a particular area.

With regard to the specifics, there are lots of differences between the two. In general, travelers carry a towel for their travels unlike tourists who don’t carry any because they have it inside their hotels anyway. A reading light is important for travelers because they still find time to read amidst traveling. Tourists almost have no time to do other less significant things because they consider their trip as a tour ‘“ a once in a lifetime opportunity. So why bother reading when you can do such when you return back home?

Another obvious characteristic of travelers is that they do not shop or buy many items from their foreign destination. If they arrived in a country bringing one bag, most likely they’ll end up leaving from that country still with a single bag. Tourists love to shop so if they arrived with only one bag, they are expected to come home bringing lots of bags or goodies.

Moreover, travelers are risk takers. They buy a one-way ticket compared to tourists who make sure they get home by buying a round trip ticket, not just for land trips but also for their flights. Similarly, travelers want to explore new locations; that’s why they seldom or rarely take the same path in going back home. With regard to communication, travelers are not readily seen carrying mobile phones. They just want to enjoy their travels. But for tourists, they want to have the greatest assurance for safety that’s why they need to bring with them their cellphones so that they can communicate with somebody else when the case so desires.


Travelers just come and go from one place to the other while tourists love to pay attention to the sights and sounds of the places they are going to.

Travelers can do lots of other things during their travels other than visiting tourist attractions or landmarks.

Unlike tourists, travelers are risk takers. They want to experience more adventures rather than feel safe.

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  1. This article is just so…. I mean, there are some truths to it, but it is not True with a capital T. Yes, tourists plan every detail of their travels, mapping out which attractions to hit, what museums to go to, what restaurants to eat in, etc. We all know what tourists are, and your definition of them is very accurate. However, your description of travelers is almost totally arbitrary and generalized to the point of laughability. Reading lights are important to travelers, because they read all the time? That’s like saying fishermen like to bring iPods when they go fishing. It might happen, but it’s not “important” or in any way a defining characteristic of a fisherman. Some travelers may carry what you say, some may not. The travelers I’ve met aren’t defined by what they have, but instead defined by what they do.

    In any case, most of the travelers I’ve met are too busy meeting people, drinking, wandering around and getting involved with what’s in the area to be be hunkered down in some cheap hostel with a reading light. To me, you missed the point almost entirely. BOTH tourists and travelers LOVE to “pay attention to the sights and sounds” of the area they’re in, and both love to observe the differences in culture between where they currently are and where they’re from. However, the key difference is HOW they pay attention and WHAT they pay attention to. Tourists have a distance/disconnect with the place they are visiting, looking at the architecture/art/monument/people as alien, something to be observed but not necessarily participated in, something to have showcased in picture frames when they go back home. Travelers, on the other hand, are all about trying to find a connection, something of intangible significance, like befriending locals, crashing on couches, learning new languages, participating in events in the area (ex: if there is a political election or civil rights event happening in the town, going to it because you’re genuinely interested, not to take pictures of it and say you did it). True, the overwhelming majority of travelers pack light and don’t buy tons of souvineers, if any. However, it doesn’t mean that they don’t ever make any plans at all and only buy one-way tickets (many take spur-of-the-moment weekend trips and return). It just means they follow their own ebb and flow of traveling, instead of what some Frommer’s guidebook says or planning out everything to be efficient to a time schedule.

    Ultimately, in the big picture, tourists are more interested in things and travelers are more interested in people, though the two aren’t mutually exclusive. A traveler can go to an art museum and appreciate what he/she sees, just as a tourist can befriend a local. There are many overlapping grey areas, depending on the travelers or tourist in question, but for the most part, tourists are primarily concerned with seeing, whereas travelers are primarily concerned with connecting.

  2. Tourist, traveler, visitor, explorer, they’re all only labels with definitions that can interpreted many different ways which all intersect at some point.

    It’s easy to conjure images of the tourist as being herded like sheep and not taking an active part in shaping their travel experience. It might not be how I would like to experience my journey, but it’s just that, a choice.

    Many travelers “tourist” at some point on their journey. Even the most down-and-out backpacker has gazed at some famous monument or building if only from a distance or casually hung at the back of a tour group to catch what the guide was saying.

  3. Travelers take their time to experience a culture more in depth, other travelers like to enjoy sightseeing and local foods. Others, just like to swim in the ocean and have a great nightlife….Tourists are people who travel to other countries, then the travelling starts…

  4. what is difference between character and attitude?
    what is difference between goal ,ambition and aim?
    what is difference between sympathy and empathy?

  5. Amazing blog. Nice to see it here. I got very informative information from this blog.

    Thanks for sharing it.

  6. I’ve just read BBC news abt Living in Uruguay. When reading a part which has 2 words “travellers and tourists”…I felt confused..Why they had to write the two words instead of using one of them? And I just used Google to search it..and so amazing when finding this page. I read all this article and comments. Awesome that I found out some helpful info. In my country, it also differs these two words “traveller-lữ khách”, “tourist-khách du lịch”. Some differences…very useful. Tks a lot.

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