7 signs that distinguish a traveler from a tourist

There have been many famous and prolific travelers throughout history, but one of the most well-known and celebrated is Freya Stark. She was one of the first Western women to travel alone in the Middle East and Central Asia and even made several trips to places that were considered off-limits to foreigners at the time.

Freya Stark would never call herself a tourist, and that’s because a traveler and a tourist are not the same things. There is a difference between embarking on a journey for personal growth, exploration, and a deeper understanding of the world and its people and being more interested in relaxation and comfort. Let’s see if you are a true traveler.

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You’re spontaneous

As a true traveler, you know that spontaneous actions create unique situations that you will probably never have planned for. This allows you to create more authentic and memorable travel experiences. 

Also, you’re more flexible and resilient by nature, so you’re always able to adapt to unexpected situations and make the most of your experiences even when faced with challenges.

You never rush to big attractions

If you were to visit “touristy destinations,” you’d probably miss out on the unique and lesser-known sights and experiences that can make a trip truly special. This would also mean standing in long lines in crowded and overbooked areas, which is not a good use of your time.

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You take the time to explore a destination more fully to get a better sense of the local culture and way of life.

You prioritize what’s free or cheap

You understand that travel doesn’t have to be expensive to be enjoyable and some of the best experiences can be had without spending any money at all. Besides, you’re not going after the more commercialized and touristy options, which are more expensive. 

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Additionally, you can budget further and have more money to spend on other things, such as food, transportation, or accommodation, or extend your travels.

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You eat local food

Eating local food is one of the best ways to learn about a culture, its history, and tradition, which is one of the reasons you’re traveling in the first place. Also, you agree that local food is often fresher, healthier, and more flavorful than food that is imported or mass-produced. And thirdly, you want to support local businesses and the local economy.

You always make friends with the locals

You want to make local friends to get a sense of what it’s like to live in a destination. They’ll have plenty of knowledge about the place that can’t be found in guidebooks or online. They can provide valuable insights into the best places to eat, drink, and explore, as well as tips on how to avoid common tourist traps. And these encounters will eventually turn into long-lasting connections and memories.

You’re a good packer

You have developed the skill of being efficient and organized with your packing. You know the exact types of clothing and gear needed for different types of trips and destinations, so you’re packing lightly. 

Why make your life harder by overpacking anyway? Well, you’ve probably encountered common issues for inexperienced travelers but have moved way past them.

You have a mind of a collector

Traveling is your way of gathering and preserving memories. Whether it’s through collecting photographs, souvenirs, or even mental notes about the sights, sounds and people you encounter on your travels. Even though collecting travel destinations means hard work, you’re dedicated to exploring new places and learning about the history, culture, and customs. 

Don’t feel discouraged if you want to travel for leisure or vacation. Both travelers and tourists can have meaningful and enjoyable experiences, but their approaches and mindsets are quite different. 


Authenticity and place attachment of major visitor attractions, ScienceDirect

Why you don’t need a lot of money to travel, HuffPost Life

What is important when visiting another culture, Brilliantio

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