Debate: Tourist vs. Traveler

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Debate: Tourist vs. Traveler

All views expressed beyond this point are mine and I stand by them 100%, you don’t have to agree with any of them but hear me out, if you want to. I am aware that to some people my opinions on these two little word may confuse, anger, or intrigue them. People shouldn’t get railed up by this but it seems like nowadays too many people are OVERLY sensitive and weak, lols!

Let’s get to it.

Debate: Tourist vs. Traveler

Without further ado, here is the Debate: Tourist vs. Traveler.

The term, Tourist, people who travel for pleasure or business. A tourist is usually inexperienced or has limited experience in relations to traveling in general.

Tourists are sometimes very ignorant to what is happening in a country politically, economically, or culturally. Tourist can be the people who pay for a 5 star hotel in a remote country but they DON’T want to meet locals, fear locals, or dislike a local experience.

Hence the terms tourist trap and tourism. The extension of tourist is “tourism”, a huge part of tourism consist of spending and consuming a lot of whatever with or without thinking of their long term impacts. Click here to read about about 5 things you must do when you’re traveling alone.

In contrast, the term, Traveler, people who travel often. Someone who is experienced with traveling. Travelers are generally more experienced, mature, and avoid group travels because group travels usually involves being around MANY tourists! -____-

Travelers such as myself generally, take our time to research the culture(s) of a place prior to arriving there, we also seek to immerse ourselves in the country by meeting locals, CouchSurfing instead of Hotels/ AirB&B.

Some travelers generally might be more intelligent or street smart in contrast to tourists because of their level of determination and clear objectives.


In other words, tourists can be grossly stereotyped as annoying middle or high school like cliques who you can usually spot anywhere they are because they can be HEARD before they are seen (i.e. due to their disregard or lack of respect to the foreign culture they’re visiting), they usually walk in a group, and or they stand out because of how they’re dressed (i.e. flashy).

Travelers are more subtle, can blend in with the foreign culture despite them not sharing their ethnicity, religion, or cultural views; Travelers can be more respectful and mindful of their nationality’s privileges (i.e. perception of wealth) or have higher sense of self worth.

Travelers usually travel alone and with a clear plan. They also might not have time to engage in bar fights, arguments, etc.

As always I’ve got a crazy story to share with you about my first solo adventure to Italia. Click here to read.

I lived in an off campus apartment in Rome. I was one of three non european-American students within the entire exchange program.

There was a Mexican-American female student, a Chinese-American female student and me.

Many of the people who lived in the apartment with me were tourist minded.

They were xenophobic/racist, they were ignorant, they were entitled (i.e. trust fund babies), and only traveled as a group, none of them ever traveled alone because they feared “an Italian gypsy would rob them“- one of them. -_____-

They were always on Facebook, they seldom went out to explore Italy for themselves. They always went out to drink at the stereotyped white bars in the tourist trap areas.

I would overhear them bragging about them being so drunk… Them talking loudly about how dirty Italians were. And I would wonder to myself:

Why travel to a foreign country if you don’t want to learn from them? Why enroll in an exchange program when you believe your way of living or culture is superior to everyone else? Why are you so fucking stupid?

I learned the first night I arrived in Rome, that I would not respect or “like” any of those losers, lol. Instead, I befriended a tough, charismatic, and honest Mexican-American bad ass student. She was the only Hispanic student within the exchange program. BTW to this day me and her are still friends.

Having stated all of this, I hope you understand my choice of words beyond this point as it relates to tourist and traveler.

Which term describes you?

I identify as a traveler however when I was younger I was a tourist but I was never as ignorant as any of my floor-mates in Italy.

So if you’re a tourist now, you shouldn’t feel too bad, just try to reflect on yourself and the people you travel with or encounter during your travels.

My blog aims to help you become a better version of yourself.

If you identify as a traveler, great! There is always space for growth and enhancing your traveling experiences.


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Travel smart!