The Stigmatism to the Word Tourist


Traveler vs Tourist: The Big Debate

In the travel community, many people have dedicated a lot of time to the debate on the difference between travelers and tourists. And because of this debate, there is now a lot of stigmatism attached to the word "tourist." So what's the difference between the two and does it really affect your travel experience? Do natives pick up on the difference? Well, since living in one of the most popular tourist destination for over a month, I have picked up some possible answers to these questions.

Traveler vs. Tourist

A tourist sees what they want to see. They usually stop at all the main attractions and don't venture too far when it comes to culinary experimentation. Tourists can usually be found in larger groups (and sometimes with the matching family shirts). A tourist may make the effort to speak the language, but will ultimately revert back to their own when given the chance. A traveler tries to see more of the people and culture. They sometimes still see the main sites, but also try to find the hidden secrets that only the locals know. They make an effort to try the foods of the region. Travelers can come in groups, but a lot of the time they are smaller, or even alone. So yes, I have noticed a difference

Traveler Move: Hiking to see a lookout built by locals

The Stigmatism

So is there a difference in how the locals treat the two groups? Sometimes yes. In Paris, everyone seems to complain about the tourists, even though they bring in so much revenue. I've also noticed a few other people outside of Paris complain about the tourists as well. Usually they are seen as not as respectful as the natives. But when locals meet travelers, it is like an exchange of information. They want to get to know each other, rather than judge each other. So yes, tourists seem to carry a little more baggage than others.

What am I?

I would love to think of myself as a traveler, but I think that I am a bit of a mix. I like to hit all the main sites, and sometimes I am too shy to strike up conversation with complete strangers. But I do like to try new foods and see some of the less populated areas. In France I am a traveler, but I may be a tourist in other countries. I think with more practice I will get to know my style. But in the end, I don't care about that label as long as I am taking full advantage of my adventures.

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