Weekend Travel Inspiraton – Russell Baker


Weekend Travel Inspiration - Russell Baker

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“I’m not a tourist, I’m a traveler.”  As someone in the travel business, this argument is thrown around time and time again.  The implication that being a traveler is “better” than being a tourist.  But why?

I started looking up definitions and according to dictionary.com a traveler is someone who travels and a tourist is someone who travels for pleasure.  To get further confirmation I also went to collinsdictionary.com, it had traveler list the same, but it took tourist a little further saying that it was someone who is on a tour, seeing the sights, and staying in hotels.

Well, I don’t know about you, but that is something I definitely do.  I don’t go on organized tours, except the occasional day tour, but I certainly look at the touristy sites and stay in hotels.  In 2015, I think I stayed in over 20 hotels (well all kinds of accommodations, really).  I can’t even count how many sites I specifically went to see…a lot.  I even re-visited many that I’d been to before, numerous times.  In January, we went to the Eiffel Tower again, so that was at least the fourth time I’d been there.  We do that.  Travelers, I mean.  We return to the old places, as well as look for the new.

As we gallop into 2016, I’m looking forward to traveling and being a tourist.  It’s what I do!

What do you think the major differences of a traveler vs. a tourist are?

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Weekend Travel Inspiraton - Russell Baker



























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  1. The way I view the tourist/traveler debate is tourists take bus tours, eat where they’re told, get led around the sights. There is nothing wrong with this and one day I will be doing that very thing. I think of travelers as having researched their trips, booked their accommodation, worked out transport and booked it etc. Tourist/Traveler, the main thing is that as many people as are able to, get out and see the world and meet people from other countries. I don’t really care if people think I’m a tourist or a traveler because definitions are open to interpretation. I think everyone should call themselves whatever they wish. 🙂

  2. I also looked at the definitions of both traveler and tourist and the debates put forth. None of them convinced me about anything. If I want to be a tourist and see iconic things, I will, because that is exactly why they are iconic anyhow. If I want to be a traveler and talk and interact on a deeper level I will. It really is an elitist load of crap actually to try and categorise anyone. Good topic Corinne.

  3. This is such a good point. It’s funny, because I live in “tourist” city (DC) we locals can often complain about them as they crowd the metro and such but I also love living somewhere that people fly from all around the world to see. While I do tend to use the term traveler over tourist to describe myself, I will be the first to admit this comes from a bit more hubris than truth. Great points. All that matters is that we get out there and see new things and expand our horizons and perspectives.

  4. Reading that quote reminds me of the time we went to a little bistro in Paris because my husband read about it in Rick Steves. There were at least 3 other tables with that Rick Steves book, too. My husband is very careful about being “by the book” and doing as Rick suggests. Is it weird that I would classify myself as a traveler whereas my hubby is more of a tourist even though we always travel together? You might even say that my family goes on organized tours if you can count me as the organizer and tour guide.

    1. Michele, I love it! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into Rick Steves’ fans. They seem to move in groups. I have to admit, I usually go somewhere else. Too fun.

  5. I’ve hated this comparison from the very start, like being a traveler is far better than being a tourist but the thing is – it doesn’t really matter. Nobody has the right to judge someone else’s way of discovering the world because in the end – we’re all doing the same thing.

  6. I also get a little tired of this argument. In the end, the lines blur – even us, as full-time travellers who rent apartments, cook, do our own laundry, we also do the tourist thing. Would you go to Paris and not see the Eiffel tower even if you’re a traveller? And according to the definition does it mean that a traveller can’t travel for pleasure?
    I agree with some of the other commenters, it’s about accepting other forms of travel and not being judgmental about what we think is ‘best’.
    All the best in 2016 Corinne!
    Frank (bbqboy)

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