Tourist vs. Vacationer vs. Traveler

I am not a fan of people using the pejorative term ‘labeling’ when really, someone is simply ‘defining’. Defining is necessary to understand the world. It’s how we figure out who we are, by figuring out what we are or are not.

By my definition:

Hoover Dam

Tourist: Curious about seeing the major sites of a place, usually clutching a Lonely Planet or other guide. Looks at the “Top 10 ______ to See”.

Orlando, FL

Vacationer: Looking to relax. Doesn’t care about the cultural aspects. Fun & sun, for one.

Sleeping in an airport


Traveler: Doesn’t have as defined of a reason for traveling. Perhaps they are “learning about themselves” or “trying to understand the world”. Less scheduling and running from one historical site to another, more “where the wind takes you”.

While I feel like I fit in the third category, I don’t judge people who are in the others. If you haven’t seen much of the world, it makes sense that you want to see the “most important stuff”. And if you’re stressed out from work and life, there’s nothing wrong with not hitting museums if all you want to do is relax.

Do you agree with my definitions? Do you fit succinctly into one of my categories or are you split? Are there categories that I’m missing?


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