The words traveler and tourist are used interchangeably by almost everyone. Although certain people understand that these two categories of people are different, they still make the mistakes of placing one in the other’s category.
However, in the travel world and even in the English language, they are two different words with varying meanings. Opinions on US-Reviews show that the majority of the travel insurance companies’ online reviews are filled with people confused by the differences between a traveler and tourist and why they have different insurance. There are a lot of differences between travelers and tourists.
All tourists are easily recognizable once you see them. Once you see a person with cameras, guidebooks, maps every time and dresses as they would at home, you have seen a tourist. A tourist always stands out while exploring a location they’ve travelled to. However, a traveler tries very hard not to stand out. Travelers often try to immerse themselves deeply in the local culture of the place they have traveled to.
A tourist moves with plans. Tourists plan every day of the vacation/ tour because they want to go through everything they’ve thought of doing before arriving at the location. If you ask a tourist, you will realize they can tell you their plans for the next week. With travelers, it’s a different case. Travelers hardly fix plans in advance. They are open to any activity with no set path to follow.
Tourists prefer staying in areas that are similar to their homes and have the same amenities. They bring their environment with them and expect a lot, thereby diluting the experience. However, travelers consider their trips as a journey instead of a trip and don’t carry any preconceptions. They adapt and let experience the place.
Travelers aim to visit and explore the areas that people hardly visit and where tourism doesn’t drive the economy. They prefer to have the experience of the nitty-gritty of the locality. With tourists, they stay in their comfort zone and don’t go outside the regularly known places in their vacation location.
Travelers interact with people in the locality. They try to experience the new things in the area rather than relax from their everyday life. Tourists hardly try to learn local phrases and stick with their language. They move along as alone as they can, interacting with locals only when necessary.
Travelers can change their plans and can change their routes anytime. They are flexible with their plans and enjoy the freedom that tourists want. However, tourists stick strictly to their schedule. They have checklists for the things they want to see, and they strictly follow it, with more rigidity than flexibility.
Although they both travel to places, whether new or old, tourists and travelers are people of two different categories in the travel world. Some people even say you can be both a traveler and tourist, but these two categories are almost opposites. Now you know the differences between both people.