How To Be A Traveler And Not Just A Tourist

Sure you love traveling. You’ve been to more countries than your fingers can count. Your Facebook and Instagram are filled with lots of travel and selfie photos all over the world. You are a self-proclaimed traveler, or so you think.

Are you really a traveler who loves to try new things and meet strangers along the way?

Or are you a tourist who just loves taking pictures from the comfort of your tour bus while holding a checklist of “must-sees”?

If you really want to be a traveler rather than a tourist, please put down that selfie stick and try these tips.


Skip the hotels.

sonyas garden room
Sonya’s Garden Bed and Breakfast | Photo from awitan ko ikaw

When traveling to foreign lands, make it a point to forego staying in posh hotels with rooms complete with a jacuzzi and room service. Instead, try checking out nice and affordable bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) or guesthouses. This is a great way to meet fellow travelers who share similar interests as you.

Come to think of it, you won’t be spending much time inside your room because you’ll probably be out most of the time so what’s the use of costly, luxurious rooms when you’ll just literally stay there only at night? Also, there’s nothing more liberating than to prepare your own breakfast together with other backpackers from all over the world. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even try couch surfing.




Skip joining tours and roam the place with the use of a map and Google. Before going to a new place, make sure you’ve done your research in advance. From what bus to ride from the airport, to the nearest subway in your hostel down to the cheapest possible way to commute. Avoid riding cabs unless absolutely necessary.

Don’t be afraid to use public transportation as well because it’s actually the easiest way to mingle and blend in with the locals. Take time to explore new places by foot or even by bicycle. Going on a DIY tour gives you freedom on what you want to do on a certain day and enough time to enjoy the place that really interests you.


Speak the language.

Mines View Park Shoppers in Baguio | Photo by rexfoto54

Nothing is more annoying than tourists who always look for someone who speaks English or their local dialect. Make a little effort to learn to speak the language or dialect of the place where you plan to go. Learning the basic way of saying “hello” or “thank you” is actually the first step. Remember, you are the one visiting their place so learn to adjust. Making an extra effort to converse with locals in their language may even earn you brownie points especially when haggling during shopping.


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