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Be a traveler—not a tourist

There are two types of people on holiday or vacation—travelers and tourists. While neither is bad or good, they have very different traits which ultimately give them completely different experiences.

Tourists and travelers

There are two categories of people who travel on holiday or vacation. While neither is inherently bad or good, they possess very different traits that ultimately give them completely different experiences while venturing out into the world. Here are some of the fascinating differences between the two.
  • A tourist sticks out—travelers blend in. Selfie sticks, clogging up the sidewalk while staring at a map, socks with sandals—we've all seen the type of tourist that sticks out like a sore thumb. Tourists tend to draw to themselves with certain socially abnormal behaviors. Travelers do their best to blend in with locals. They look like they know where they are going, they dress the part, and they make attempts to adhere to the social norms of where they are.
  • A tourist eats comfort food—a traveler tries the local cuisine. A tourist will only stick to foods they are familiar with, which sometimes includes popular food chains. A traveler knows that food is the link to any culture. They are willing to step out of their comfort zone to try out local dishes to taste the country's culture.
  • A tourist chooses sightseeing—a traveler converses with locals. A tourist stays within their comfort zone and sticks with seeing the main, famous sights. They don't speak with other people except those they are traveling with. A traveler enjoys meeting people from other cultures. They talk with locals to discover the location's best things or discover unique opportunities that don't appear in travel guides. Travelers know that locals are the best resource to explore somewhere new.
  • Tourists dress for comfort—while a traveler dresses for style and comfort. Tourists usually only pack clothes that they will be comfortable in when traveling. Not only can this sometimes be unfashionable, but tourists run the risk of not being respectful of a country's fashion norms and offending their hosts. Travelers are more thoughtful when packing and know that style and comfort can go hand in hand. They make sure to bring functional and fashionable clothes, and they include items that adhere to cultural norms.
  • Tourists stick to their native tongue—travelers try to learn the local language. Tourists will only speak their native tongue, making little effort to learn the local language. Travelers try to speak and understand at least a few keywords or phrases to use when traveling abroad. They know that learning how to say simple things like please, thank you, and hello make a difference when traveling in a country with a different language.
  • Tourists buy the first souvenirs they find—travelers prefer to shop for genuine local products. Tourists are quickly drawn to the aura of local souvenir shops, which tend to rip them off. They think that those items are authentic to the country and are willing to settle for that. Travelers take more time and effort to search for local treasures and gems. They know that it takes a bit of digging to find authentic items to bring home.
  • Tourists rely on maps—travelers trust their instincts. Tourists rely heavily on their maps to tell them how to get from one famous sight to another. They sometimes miss out on the adventure that is exploring and getting lost. Travelers trust their instinctive nature to tell them where to go and what to explore. This isn't to say that they don't use Google Maps, but they aren't afraid of getting lost and having a memorable adventure. To them, getting lost means seeing beautiful things you might have never seen before.
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