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How do you call a person who loves to travel? At first glance, the question seems very simple. Of course, this is a traveler. But what about tourist? Recently, people have begun to distinguish these two words. Travelers and tourists can not be regarded as synonyms anymore. They have different implications. So is it possible to carry out a conventional boundary between them? I decided to explore this subject in detail.

Of course, I’m against generalizations. That would be wrong. There are both good and bad people among travellers and tourists. To avoid misunderstanding, let’s say that I am taking the average tourist image and the average traveller one.

The main difference between tourists and travellers is the way they immerse in a foreign culture. Tourists prefer to explore a new culture at a superficial level while travellers are trying to fully immerse in it. Also, it is said that tourists usually stand out from the crowd. Unlike them, an experienced traveler can be a master of disguise.

Tourists always carry their cameras and take hundreds of pictures per day. They are shooting practically everything: buildings, nature, and people. Sometimes they can be even impolite. For instance, in order to take a beautiful picture in front of the monument, they can push apart other people. Also, tourists are slightly afraid of a new culture. For example, they are often reluctant to try the national cuisine. When sitting at the table in the restaurant, they prefer to order simple dishes. Unfamiliar names make them feel uncomfortable. Fast food is very popular among the tourists as well. Probably, you can meet a few tourists in any snack-bar worldwide.

Some tourists are kind of lazy. They do not see the point to learn the local language. They prefer to speak Engish since almost everyone understands it. Frankly speaking, I consider this as disrespect for local residents. Is it really so difficult to learn at least a few simple phrases? As to me, I always learn how to say “good morning”, “good evening”, “thank you”, etc. in the local language. This may be even fun.

Tourists are also well known for their clothes. They put on exactly the same dress as they used to wear at home. Of course, what’s the point to buy a sari, if you are in India? This is an additional cost. They’re not going to live in India, so what national clothes are you talking about? This logic remains a pure mystery to me.

Being a traveler means to have a different outlook on things and the special perception of the world. Travellers are not interested in the touristic spots packed with people. It is a true hell for them.

By and large, travellers are trying to get closer to the local people. To do this, they learn the local language and try to practise it whenever possible. They ask the locals to show them the places hidden for tourists. Being genuinely interested in a new culture, travellers ask many questions. They note some of the answers in order to think them over.

Travellers often keep diaries. That is why they are shooting quite rarely. To be more accurate, they do not take random pictures. Their goal is to write down their feelings and impressions so that they can refresh them in the memory later. Often, the photos are accompanied by the separate stories.

It can be really difficult to identify the traveller in the crowd. To honor local customs and traditions, they usually buy the national dress almost the first day. Because of this, they blend in with the locals as pictured at You cannot figure out that there is an alien in front of you unless you speak to them. Of course, if there are no racial differences.

Although the tourists are the main resource of income for many countries, the locals look with favour on travellers. It’s all about attitude. When you treat people good, you get the same in return.

I believe that a tourist can become a traveler, but not vice versa. It is not good or bad; it just is. My point is even if you do not understand a new culture, you have to respect it regardless of who you are, a tourist or a traveller.

What is your attitude to tourists and travellers? Do you make a distinction between them? If yes, which group do you belong to? Please share you thoughts without hesitation.

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