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Traveller or Tourist?

[ 16 ] January 6, 2010 |

Traveller or Tourist? I’ve read numerous articles and watched numerous shows that really emphasise that you should be a traveller not a tourist.  Tourists are the common, they are what give travelling a bad name???

However I do not necessarily agree with this view.  I do believe that we should all be travellers, get off the beaten track, interact with locals and experience cultures instead of just being an observer attached to our guidebook.  I do however think that being a tourist in not necessarily such a bad thing.  After all there is a reason why places and attractions are popular among tourists, they have something to offer whether it’s amazing sights, entertainment or a glimpse into a culture.

I’m never going to say that I’m not a tourist, the tourist in me is just too strong an influence to ignore.  I like to do what tourist do, I like to go where tourists go but I also like to be away from the tourist hoard exploring the real heart of a destination.  So what does that make me a Traveller or Tourist? I would say that i’m a ‘Touraveller’ (If there was ever a time to invent a new word it would be now) I like the best of both worlds and I don’t see anything wrong with that!

At the end of the day an experience is an experience and any travel is valuable.  Travel can’t help but open your eyes no matter how sheltered you are by the tourist bubble.  It raises cultural awareness of both our difference and similarities as human beings.

If by the end of your trip you have accumulated an array of tacky souvenirs, have incredibly stupid photos to laugh at and have seen the most popular tourist sights well I can’t see any harm in that!!!

Call me tacky but the tourist in me loves taking novelty touristy photo’s even when I’m in my home city!!!! Check them out bellow!!!

Above: Classic Pisa Shot

When in Pisa it is essential to contribute to the plight to hold up the leaning tower.

Batu Caves, Malaysia

Above: Playing with toys, Batu Caves, Malaysia

Above: Giant Clog, Netherlands

Who doesn’t want to sit in a big shoe!!!  That is of course if it doesn’t smell like stinky cheese!!!

Above: Jailed in Dubrovnik, Croatia

You know it’s gonna be a great tourist shot when everyone else is lining up to get the same pic!!!

Above: Madame Tussauds, London

The ultimate tacky photo Mecca Madame Tussuad’s!!!  There is nothing like the feeling you get when you finally get that tacky photo after fighting past hundreds of people most likely injuring them as you barge through the crowd to get that perfect shot!!!

Above: Floriade, Canberra, Australia

It’s great when you get the opportunity to take a tacky tourist photo in your own city, I do it all the time!!!  It’s especially satisfying if someone you know sees you doing it particularly if they are old school buddies that you haven’t seen for years!!!


Oath to Tacky Photos

I swear an oath to continue to be a ‘Touraveller’ taking tacky photos and doing touristy things when ever the opportunity arises!!!

So what are you? A Traveller or Tourist or are you like me a Touraveller!?

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About onurwaytravel: Colin has been travelling the world with his young family for the past 2 and half years. He runs a couple of websites all revolve around travel, family travel and digital nomadism. His websites include,, and now View author profile.

Comments (16)

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  1. I love this idea! Especially when I myself am new to the world of traveling and exploring (still in the planning stages of my own RTW trip). It is easy to feel like you will always be a tourist compared to other seasoned travelers but you are absolutely right, there is nothing wrong with having a little bit of a tourist in you.

  2. Sasha says:

    Thanks for your comment!!! Actually it was you (coolest monkey in the world) that inspired me to write this post!!! After reading your introduction particularly “compared to many other seasoned travelers I’m more of a tourist”, I thought it was cool that u actually used that ‘taboo tourist’ word in your intro!!! I thought to myself I love the times when i’m a “tourist” it’s fun and i see absolutely nothing wrong with that!!!

  3. Doug says:

    Love the Pisa shot!!! Very cool.

  4. Sasha says:

    Haha thanks Doug!!! It really is the classic shot, must of taken about 10 goes to get it right!!!

  5. Sofia says:

    haha I took the exact same photo as you in the old town in Dubrovnik, only that I accidentally flashed the camera as the wind (it was VERY windy that day) blew my skirt up for the 43rd time… it was a nice place though, that old part of Dubrovnik..

  6. Sasha says:

    Hahaha what a great photography moment!!! The Old Town has so much tacky photo potential! The other great photo i got along the wall was riding the canon haha that got some interesting looks!!!

  7. marta says:

    i like it Touraveller, i am one too. i like to go off the beaten track but also visiting the touristy attractions, although i would them without the touristy crowd :-)

  8. Sasha says:

    Yes it would be nice to have less of the tourist masses at the tourist attractions!!! I guess thats why early morning exploration is good, not too much of a touristy crowd although i never get up early enough to do that!!!

  9. [...] got feature articles about the traveler vs. tourist debate and annoying hostel room characters as well as travel tips like packing in four steps and travel [...]

  10. Rachel

    Great point- I was noticing today that I’ve leaned too far to the ‘traveler’ side of things, as far as my photos go. I take lots of ‘professional’ photos of the places we’re visiting, but hardly get any shots of my husband and kids- lame :P I’m going to start having some more fun and definitely get more of my family in the picture!

  11. Lauren says:

    Batu Caves – hooray! That was a fun day indeed Miss Touraveller!!!! I totally identify with your new word and love reading all of your posts like a big stalker!!! More power to you Sash :)

  12. Sasha says:

    Thanks Lauren!!! It really was an awesome day! And i did have an awesome travel buddy for company!!! :)

  13. Both words sell although i would prefer tourist because with this,you concentrate on viewing so many things in its natural setting.I love the big shoe.Thanks for the blog.
    .-= Safari Racheal´s last blog ..Okavango Delta River Burst its Banks, 20 villages Evacuated =-.

  14. Slava says:

    Great post, never thought about the difference in these two words.

    I think it’s a part of “evolution of a tourist”. First you become a tourist and you take all the paths, until they get “beaten paths” for you, then after that – you get interested in taking another route – interacting with locals and seeing other parts of the countries.
    .-= Slava´s last blog ..Holiday rentals in Greece =-.

  15. Sasha says:

    Thanks for the comment Slava, I totally agree it is definitely all apart of the “evolution of a tourist” and the great thing about evolution is it continues on all the great things while adding new exciting improvements. For me I’m still as tacky as they get, I love doing tourist things and going to tourist places except for the loud crowds, but being out there away from the tourists is where I feel most at home!

  16. [...] surprise we’re not just travellers and we don’t all fit in this nice neat little traveller box or indeed four travelholic boxes. One fundamental thing we all are and have in common, we are [...]

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