How are Tourists Different from Travellers


I have read thousands of travel blogs and articles over the last five years, but couldn’t understand one thing, what’s the difference between tourists and travellers? Aren’t they the same thing? I searched on the internet and here’s what I’ve found out.

  • Tourists expect that the hotels, restaurants and even the attractions they’ll visit will provide them with toilet paper while travellers prefer carrying toilet paper with them wherever they go.
  • The difference can also be understood by giving each of them $1000. The tourist will book a luxurious hotel/resort and relax there for a week while a traveller will book 5 different budget hotels in 5 different cities and will keep exploring these destinations for the next several weeks.
  • Travellers always brag that how good they are at managing finances and finding hotel accommodations which are cheap yet comfortable. They say things like, “I am not going there, the place is so touristy!”
  • Some people also feel that there is no difference between the two. No matter for how many years you’ve been travelling around the globe, when you arrive at a new place, the locals will perceive you as a tourist and they will treat you the same way.
  • One argument could be that travellers explore their destinations with an open mindset. They are not afraid to visit the ‘unconventional’ attractions and they love to gorge on local cuisine, without worrying about getting sick or something. Tourists on the other hand like to play it safe. They visit only a few popular attractions and they are not really interested in the history or culture of the place.
  • If you look at this debate technically, a traveller could be anyone who travels. I travelled to the bank yesterday so I am a traveller. Tourist is someone who is not a local and has arrived at that destination for fun.

Basically, we can conclude that the difference lies in the way you perceive. The aura and the mysticism surrounded by the word ‘traveller’ sound more authentic. But let’s be honest, there’s no major difference between the two.