My two cents: The difference between the two is simply a measure of time. Tourists are limited in the amount of time they can spend; travelers come and go as they please (in an earlier decade, I worked around the planet).

Scratching The Itch

During my impressionable teenage years whilst formulating my travel plans from the comfort of my bedroom, I had a fierce opinion on the topic of who qualified to be a “traveller”.

A tourist, so my thinking would go, is narrow-minded, only goes on pre-booked tours with fellow ‘sheeple’ and exists in a touristy bubble, missing out on authentic experiences. Whereas I, a noble traveller, would interact with the local community, have “real” experiences and travel “harder” to ensure a more fulfilling experience than being a tourist alone. I’m sure you’re familiar with this train of thought (and it’s a line I drew rather lazily to illustrate my contrasting experiences in Cusco).

I’ve heard similar disparaging comments towards ‘tourists’ and tour groups in particular throughout my travels. True, if you are travelling solo to a particular attraction it can be infuriating to be surrounded by tour groups, blocking your path…

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