After living in a hostel for 8 months during my long stay in New Zealand, you could say I learned a thing or two about differentiating a tourist from a traveler. At first hand, if you’re not accustomed to them, they might appear to be the same, but they’re completely different species of human beings.

During my time away I took the assignment of doing a sort of ethnographic study of these urban tribes who are taking the world by storm. Never in the history of man kind had so many people packed their bags and left their homes in search of adventure or a nice holiday. Nevertheless, their goals when it comes to traveling are  actually worlds apart. So keep on reading and decide for yourself if you’re a traveler or a tourist.


1- A traveler doesn’t have a set plan.

A tourist has everything planned out.


2-  A traveler packs a light bag.

A tourist has overweight in his luggage.


3- A traveler wanders.

A tourist follows a path.


4-  A traveler travels because it is his passion.

A tourist travels to post the photos on Facebook and to “conquer” one more destination.


5-  A traveler goes to places that aren’t on a map.

A tourist goes to the landmarks and touristic places.


6-  A traveler avoids crowded places, which is why they avoid travelling to cities, they´ll prefer small and remote places of the countries that they visit. If a traveler is visiting the United States they´ll go to New Paltz, the mountains in Montana or the caves in Arizona.

A tourist searches for the crowded places. If a tourist goes to the United States they´ll go to New York, Los Angeles, Miami or Chicago.


7- A traveler eats traditional foods from the country that he/she visits. To them it is a fundamental part of getting to know a place

A tourist eats what it is familiar to him or her. Food is not an important part of the place that they visit.


8-  A traveler wears comfortable and practical clothes. They don´t care how they look.

A tourist tries to look fashionable and trendy. They care about looking good.


9-  A traveler is not fond of one-night stands and drunken nights. Fun to them doesn’t come from getting wasted at the club, they are more likely to have a few beers in a quiet beach while enjoying a stimulating conversation.

A tourist has sex with anything that moves and preferably while drunk. They are the ones who go to Cancun to get wasted and get laid. Fun comes from physical stimulation more than intellectual or environmental.


10- A traveler gets to know the people and traditions of the places that he/she visits.

A tourist limits his/hers conversation to the people they are traveling with.


11-  A traveler reads books.

A tourist reads social media.


12-  A traveler protects the environment. They are the type that travel with a water bottle that they keep reusing.

A tourist doesn’t care about the environment. Is not that they seek to destroy it but they simply don´t care about what their actions have on the environment. They are the type that will buy bottled water.


13- A traveler will ask you, what’s your passion? They care about actually getting to know people.

A tourist will ask you, what do you do for a living? They care about making small talk but they really don´t want to get to know you.


14- A traveler will send you a message or email to ask you about your life.

A tourist will like your photos on social media and leave a short comment.


15-  A traveler cares about connecting to the place he/she visits.

A tourist cares about connecting to Wi-Fi.


16- A traveler accumulates experiences and deep conversations. Their purpose is getting to know the life style of the countries that they visit, the flora and fauna of the place, their natural ecosystems and the people who build the country that they’re visiting.

A tourist accumulates photographs and souvenirs. Their purpose is to conquer and cross out as many places of the map as possible, it is something of a race to them. Their purpose is mainly to get to know a place by it´s touristic destinations. They care little about the life style and mindset of the places that they go to. It is mostly sightseeing to them.


17- A traveler cares about wisdom.

A tourist cares about knowledge.



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