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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Garfors

So You Are a Traveller, Hey?

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

Some people often on the road hate to be called tourists. “No, I am a traveller” is a typical response. First of all, what is up with the need of being part of a particular category? And does it really matter what other people call you? I would still like to know what you see yourself as. I hope that you are happy to contribute. First, let’s look at the definition of tourist.

one that makes a tour for pleasure or culture*

Not too bad, really. Of course, the term may have changed quite a bit the last few decades. From when travelling was exclusive to the very fortunate few, through cruise ship holidays that opened up the door to more people to today with low fare airlines crisscrossing most continents. To be a tourist in the 70s, not to mention back in the 30s, was seen as very exotic and quite something else than what is now the case. And tourist class on airplanes is no longer all what it is cracked up to be.

To get a little bit of an idea how travel and tourism ads have changed throughout the centuries (yeah, from as early as the 1850s), check out the often hilarious ads on

So why may some people prefer to be called a traveller (or traveler, if you are US based)? The dictionary definition doesn’t give a clear answer.

one that goes on a trip or journey*

Not too different to a tourist. Although while you can clearly be a professional traveller, being professional tourist comes across as more problematic. Unless you work with culture, if the definition of Merriam-Webster is accurate.

Or does it even matter? I don’t know, but I have often overheard people on the road who resent being called a tourist.

Let us anyhow screw the definitions for a while. What do you call yourself, with regards to travelling? The “titles” are listed alphabetically.

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