You know that you are supposed to pack light. Everyone knows that. But what actually…
Are tourists better than travelers? Or vice versa?
That was a trick question because neither one is better than the other. Traveling as a tourist is great, and so is hitting the road as a traveler. The only important thing is to be sure that you’re traveling in whichever style you prefer.
Using Time Wisely
A tourist who has a 2-week vacation may have less time to explore a destination than a traveler who took a leave of absence from work to enjoy an extended time at the destination.
But does the traveler actually see and do more than the tourist?
The traveler may end up spending (some would say wasting) time at internet cafés looking for a cheap hotel at his next stop or the cheapest way to get to that place. The traveler might also spend (or waste?) time wandering around trying to find a restaurant that serves delicious, cheap food.
The tourist, on the other hand, has planned everything in advance – or had someone do it for him. So he doesn’t need to spend time on those activities. They’re done before he gets on the departure flight.
So then being a tourist is better, right?
Maybe. Maybe not.
The traveler might enjoy searching for hotels and transport online. And he might like the feeling that the trip will unfold gradually while he’s already on the road. In addition, he might end up meeting locals at the internet café who invite him into their homes. What a great experience that could turn out to be!
And as the traveler wanders around looking for a cheap restaurant, who knows what gems he’ll find. At the very least, he’ll have seen parts of the destination that the tourist didn’t.
Seeing the Best Sites
Travelers often say that they don’t want to go to tourist sites – that they want to get ‘off the beaten path.’ That’s sounds admirable, but if the path has been beaten by thousands upon thousands of curious tourists, there must be a good reason to take a look at those sites.
Would you not visit the Forbidden City in Beijing because it was a typical tourist site? Or would you avoid visiting the pyramids in Egypt because you would run into too many tourists?
If you plan to avoid sites that are too ‘touristy’ because you’re a traveler instead of a tourist, you’ll probably miss making some wonderful memories.
Tourists have the option of taking a relaxing vacation. Travelers often don’t take time to rest in between visits to internet cafés in order to meet their goal to fill every day with cultural significance.
Sometimes, it doesn’t seem like a traveler is on an actual vacation, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. This is how he enjoys seeing the world.
Just like many things in life, the answer to the original question is not black or white. It seems clear that it’s not better to be a tourist and it’s not better to be a traveler. A person might choose to be a tourist on some occasions and a traveler on other occasions.
Which style you choose might depend on the length of time you have for your trip, your age, your health – and basically what you’re in the mood for at the time. So get out and see the world – and enjoy whichever style you choose!