Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wherever I May Roam - Traveller or Tourist?

So you like travelling? And, you’ve already been to more than a dozen countries and a hundred cities across the globe. Needless to say, you’ve posed in-front ever possible monument, shopped from the streets and stores and stayed at the nicest sounding hotels, and yes, took photos of those too!  

On the other hand, you do love travelling, but have been on a budget leash or despite the budget, you never fancied most of the decorative mentioned earlier. You’re one who sticks within a budget, would explore more, take pictures but not necessarily with you posing in it. You’d shop, but not give a damn about the stores and settle for something cultural right off the street in a bargain deal.

What we have are tourists and travellers! There must already be over 456,123 articles online on this, tips and why being one’s better than the other, so here’s the deal in five short points –

  • Very conservative and play it safe – will generally go via a guided tour and preferably with a group
  • Will want the very best of comforts so as to not make it very tiring; after all ‘I’m on a holiday’
  • Literally have a schedule to follow, of the guide, and stick to that
  • Will rarely know more about the place apart from what the guide would show and tell; and probably won’t bother for things outside it
  • Are always forced to see/do what the guide says or the larger group of people want to do
A Tourist hot-spot - The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For more photos of the Petronas Towers, click here.

  • Love the thrill element and will plan an itinerary for themselves; but along with the tourist attractions, they would end up seeing a lot more interesting places
  • Will travel light and wouldn’t mind putting up in basic accommodation; after all ‘I’m here to see and explore the place and not sleep and rest’
  • Have a schedule and plan in mind but are flexible and open to deviations
  • Would have done some homework about the place, people and culture and would probably strike up a conversation with locals to know and learn more
  • Would generally keep a spare day or two to allow the freedom and luxury to move at their own pace – so it was a waterfront with a monument beside and people spend normally spend 20-30 minutes; I loved the surroundings so much that I sat for a couple of hours at the nearby café!
En Route Manikaran - The scenic beauty and religious spots at Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh, India, is something rarely covered in a standard Tour. For more photos on Manikaran, click here.

Being only a slightly better than novice traveller myself, my personal observation is that people from the West are a lot more independent and end up being Travellers. On the other hand, people from the East don’t prefer or fancy this way of seeing places and go the old school Tourist way. I can only attribute that this trend is largely because of the fact that people from the East (and I happen to be one of them) are brought up in a conservative manner and lack that great degree of dependence. To add, we tend to play it safe and do not take unwarranted risks. Finally, communication and food forms a great barrier forcing people to take a conservative approach. The largest groups that one sees during their journeys are those that have Indians (largely due to food habits, being vegetarians) and Chinese (largely because of the language barrier).

Having said that, I’ve come across and known people from this side of the planet, whose travel journeys could impress the best from the West. Nonetheless, at the end it’s not West vs East nor is it Traveller vs Tourist. It’s the journey you embark upon and the experience you keep forever. 

Still confused what’s better – Traveller or Tourist? Read more here.

Bookmark and Share  


  1. was hunting for the like button :P... really nice read and loved the conclusion that states that its journey that we embark on.


Appreciate you visit and your critique!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...