The word tourist has come to designate the wrong type of traveler: the rude person who’s oblivious to her surroundings and expects everyone to speak English.
I’m sure you’ve seen that tourist. It may be you (don’t worry, you can always improve bad travel habits). Many times, those labeled tourists are newbie travelers who are still learning the ropes. It’s unfortunate that the focus is only on the negative traits.
Many seasoned travelers could take a lesson from tourists because they get quite a few things right. Tourists:
Realize They Don’t Know Everything
Some travelers prepare so much for their trip that they know the best places to visit, know how to get around without help and know enough of the language to order their favorite types of foods.
Preparing is great. But, don’t learn so much that you miss out on opportunities to learn from locals. Go ahead and get lost in a new place. Eat something that smells great without asking what it is.
That’s what I call ‘walking on the wild side’.
Aren’t Afraid To Ask Questions
Travelers are reading guidebooks and downloading apps that provide them with everything they need to know about a location. Travelers are immersing in local culture so much that they forget to take a step back from the culture and view it as an outsider.
While travelers are attempting to blend in, tourists are appreciating the differences and pointing them out. They are observing with a childlike wonder that allows them to take in as much as possible.
Don’t Feel As If Certain Forms Of Travel Are Off Limits
Am I the only one tired of travelers dictating which forms of travel are superior? Get off your soapbox!
Travel is very personal, and one person’s preferred method isn’t better than another. Travel is about exploration or relaxation. Travel is about being a part of it all or getting away from it all.
New travelers haven’t been brainwashed with these opinions and their continuous excitement is refreshing.
Aren’t So Focused On Travel That They Forget To Have Fun
Tourists haven’t budgeted down to the last dime for three months traveling Asia. They travel with the goal to spend every dime to their name.
Tourists are enjoying their vacation, even if it means over paying. It’s OK to occasionally ignore the budget if the reward is an amazing experience.
Travel shouldn’t be about continuous movement without pause to enjoy it. Don’t plan the fun out of your trip.
I’ve had my fair share of laughs when discussing the difference between tourists and travelers. But, the truth is that we are all tourists. Let’s wholeheartedly embrace the label!