On Twitter this morning under the Travel Talk on Twitter hashtag (#TTOT) there was an interesting debate centred around the “Tourist vs. Traveller” notion.
Judging by the dictionary definitions (c/o www.dictionary.reference.com) alone this would appear to be a pretty futile argument as both words, essentially, describe the same thing:
Tourist n. a person who is traveling, especially for pleasure.
Traveller n. a person or thing that travels/a person who travels or has travelled in distant places or foreign lands.
So what is the difference?
The Lonely Planet describes it succinctly on this blog post as “a tourist goes to see, while a traveller goes to experience”.
It may not be described as such in the dictionaries but, over time, this is generally how the travel community has come to differentiate between the two.
And, it seems, that the former is widely considered to be the lesser of the two! Tourist has become a dirty word in some traveller’s eyes.
I don’t agree with that at all – I’m happy with the dictionary definitions and as far as I’m concerned when I’m on a trip I’m always a tourist AND a traveller!
We may have different ideas of what we want to get out of our trips but that’s all down to personal choice. Just because you like to do things a certain way doesn’t make you better or worse than anyone else.
What I do think is very important though – and I’ve mentioned this before on our blog about sustainable tourism – is to travel the way that you want to but to do it responsibly.
Think about the places that you visit, the way that you are visiting them and what impact you will have when you’re there and after you’ve left.
I’ve spent many months travelling to different parts of the world and I’ve always made every effort to do that.
When we set up Go Cotswolds our aim was to allow visitors to our area to do that too.
By taking a guided day trip around The Cotswolds from Stratford-upon-Avon with us you’re supporting a local business and using a service that potentially takes at least four vehicles off the narrow lanes of the Cotswolds.
On our tours you also have the time to explore the towns of Chipping Campden and Stow-on-the-Wold and visit local independent businesses that we ourselves would use. We even give you handy maps – with recommendations on – so that you can decide for yourself what you’d like to do when you’re there.
Our day trips may not appeal to every traveller but we do offer an authentic experience of the Cotswolds with a local business and guide. I live in the area, know what it’s like to live in the area and we visit places that those that don’t might not know about at all!
So as far as the tourist vs. traveller debate goes – I wouldn’t get too hung up on it. That’s all about personal opinion. What’s important is that you personally get want from a trip and provided you’re seeing what you want to see and doing it in a responsible way then good for you. And whether you consider yourself a tourist or a traveller you’ll always get a cheery welcome from us!
Go Cotswolds tours leave Stratford-upon-Avon every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday throughout the year and cost just £35pp for adults. You can book your tickets by visiting the bookings page.