COVID slowed us down for a couple of years, and now a few health issues challenge us. We're still traveling if not writing about it quite so much. Our goal in 2022, get to all seven continents in one year!
We hope all of you are well and staying safe... and that you find some inspiration here for YOUR future travels.
What's all the fuss about traveler versus tourist?
Travel writer Paul Theroux said...
"Tourists don't know where they've been...
...travelers don't know where they're going."
We think that's a little bit of travel snobbery....
That's like saying, "Travel my way or you're doing it all wrong."
Other people say travelers are active, tourists are passive.
We say travel the way you're comfortable... as long as you respect the country and people you're visiting.
We've never felt there was anything wrong with calling yourself a tourist...
...with going to the most popular destinations...
Everyone wants to see them for a good reason.
There's nothing wrong with joining in some silliness now and then.
How good you are at traveling and how much you enjoy it depends on your attitude and your actions.
You DO want to be a sensitive traveler no matter what you call yourself.
So instead of getting into the traveler versus tourist debate, let's just say that you need to be considerate.
Almost everyone who has done
some traveling has stories about insensitive people... and it doesn't
really matter whether they think of themselves as travelers or tourists.
A sensitive traveler learns a few words of the local language.
You don't have to take this much beyond hello, good-bye and thank you, although the more you try the better.
If you're a native English speaker, you're a lucky traveler because you'll probably find someone who can speak English almost anywhere...
...but don't assume everyone speaks English.
It's only polite to greet and thank people in their native language.
When we were in Madagascar, the Malagasy people lit up with friendliness when we greeted them with "Salama" rather than hello in English or even Bonjour in French.
Try to understand at least the most basic words.
In France one time, a waiter approached a tourist at the breakfast table next to us and said, "Bonjour Monsieur, Cafe?"
You can see that translates to, "Good morning sir, coffee?" Right?
BUT... This tourist said, "I don't speak French."
WOW.... that's not trying very hard.
A sensitive traveler respects the customs of the country they're visiting.
If it's a very conservative country, dress conservatively.
You don't need to wear head scarves and cover up most of the time, but you really shouldn't wear shorts and tops that reveal a lot of skin either.
And if you need to cover up more to see a church or a mosque... respect that.
Just do what they ask of you. You're there to see the differences in our cultures.
Greet shopkeepers when you enter their stores. It's only polite, and they expect it in most places in the world.
Often it's polite to greet people at breakfast in your hotel or B&B.
Think about the traveler versus tourist debate...
Take a look at some of the definitions...
You'll find that sometimes you're sightseeing and playing tourist...
And other times you'll join in a local activity and be what those travel snobs define as a traveler...
But you're learning about the place you're visiting either way.
Some people will say that you're not a traveler if you stay in hotels and take tours.
Well, some hotels and tours will isolate you a bit, but if you make an effort to connect with the locals, you will still be a traveler no matter what "they" say.
So traveler versus tourist?
We think it's a made up debate.
Travel opens your eyes no matter whether you backpack on your own, get lost and wander, or join a group.
Traveler or tourist... it's all good.
Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark
Curious about what else we've written about? Search our site for a destination or travel tip.
But... We'd love to have you share this page or comment on it…
Thanks, Judy and Mark
International Travel Tips l Europe Travel Tips
Hotel and B&B Tips l Packing Lists
Go from Traveler Versus Tourist to MouseToursTravels Home Page
Spring is here in the Northern Hemisphere...
or soon will be.
The almonds and mustard are blooming
The grapes will soon bud out
It's Fall in the Southern Hemisphere
Great time for an
Australian Wine Tasting Drive.
It's a great time to travel almost anywhere in the world...
If only we could....
Health issues are keeping us home for now, but we still dream of travel.
We hope you are dreaming and planning travels too...
You can get some armchair travels in by looking around here...
Are you planning your travels?
The weather can be changeable, so be sure to pack layers and some rain gear...
See all of our Packing Lists and Tips.
Where Do You Want To Go?
Things to See in Europe
Travel In America
Does Africa Call?
Don't just dream about it...
Start making plans!
Custom Tour Planning List
International Travel Planning Tips
Foreign Is Fun - Not Scary!
Check Your Passport
Do you have yours? Is it up to date?
Get Your Passports and Visas
Travel questions or destination info?
Find our answers faster...
We want you to feel comfortable out in the world and on our pages - so surf away in your own language...
Like Our Site Top Left
Like Our Fanpage Below
Why Travel With A Guidebook
How to Choose A Travel Guidebook
A Travel Agent - Do You Need One?
Best Time To Go
What Kind Of Trip Do You Want
More Than Throwing Darts
Some of Our Ideas
Stories About Europe
Why Not Africa?
International Travel Tips
What Kind of Vacation?
Active Travel - OK, How Active?
Eco-Travel and Volunteering
Green Travel Tips
Volunteer Vacations - Are They For You?
Plan For Safety
Travel Advisories - Plan A Safe Trip
Don't Let Travel Worries Get To You
A Custom Tour?
Custom Tour Planning List
Custom Tour Ideas
Top Ten Lists - Helpful, But…
Balance Your Itinerary - Mix It Up
Avoid Museum Sensory Overload
Hobbies for Trip Ideas
Where To Get Trip Ideas
Get Passports and Visas
Vaccinations and Meds
Checklists So You Don't Forget
Travel Document Checklist
Travel Preparation Checklist
Home Departure Checklist
New! CommentsHave your say about what you just read! Did it help with your travel planning and preparation? Eager to leave on that next vacation? Please leave your tips or comments in the box below.