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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Garfors

What Tourists Prefer to be Called

Marius Arnesen and I in Afghanistan. Crazy was not among the options in the survey. Photo: Asbjørn Havnen.

In July I asked if people who travel prefer to be called a tourist, a traveller or something else. The blog post has been read a couple of thousand times, and the results are now in.

I have long claimed that travelling is the best education anyone can get, that it opens eyes like nothing else and promotes understanding between people, cultures and religions. It seems as if travel also might make people less narrow-minded than I thought. Or feared. Perhaps due to my shameless eavesdropping on discussions about whether people are tourists or travellers or globetrotters. Discussions I have heard on more continents than one. Which triggered my question in the first place.

The question I asked was the following.

What do you call yourself, with regards to travelling?

It turns out that almost 29 % of respondents don’t care.

Good on you! There is of course no right or wrong response to this question, but the most popular option might, just might, hint to the conclusion that people that roam the planet are semi-open-minded. Then again, I haven’t asked those who prefer to stay put in their hometown, and venture nowhere else.

Traveller is the second choice, preferred by over 22 % while a little over 15 % would rather be looked upon as an adventurer. Globetrotter comes in fourth, before the dreaded tourist title. Dreaded, based on eavesdropping and discussions I have taken part in, that is. Most people I have spoken to about it, or overheard, seem to not want to be called a tourist. “Hey, does it look like I stay in a resort?” and similar responses have been common when the topic has come up. The definition of a tourist, by the way?

one that makes a tour for pleasure or culture*

Should cover most of us, really. Given that the tour isn’t necessarily a guided one, that is.

The only one of the suggested “titles” that no one associated themselves with was vagabond. Bad news for the shoe brand, perhaps.

And a few people felt that explorer, backpacker and global citizen should have been title options, whereas one person claimed that no accurate word or term exists.

Full results Adventurer: 15.38 % Globetrotter: 12.59 % Nomad: 4.9 % Observer: 1.4 % Sightseer: 2.1 % Tourist: 7.69 % Traveller: 22.38 % Vagabond: 0.0 % Voyager: 1.4 % I don’t care: 28.67 % Name your own title: 3.5 %

143 people answered. This is not based on scientific research, only on an internet poll on

You may also find these blog posts interesting: The Art of Travelling Travellers Kiss Better

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