Mitzi Ilagan |

When your bags are packed and you’re ready to visit another foreign city, you instantly call yourself a traveler. But in another world, some may see you as a tourist instead. And then you become curious and confused. What are you, really?

If you’re off to your destination using your trusty sports utility vehicle with a driver, then you’re a tourist. If you’d rather hail a cab on your way to the airport, then you’re a traveler.

If you’re into joining organized tours with your friends, you’re a tourist. If you’d rather go on a spontaneous trip with the people you’ve met on your previous adventure, then you’re a traveler.

If you don’t wanna sweat and get your muscles tired for a route to your destination and you’d rather take the shortcut, you’re a tourist. If you’ve had your warm up exercise and you’ve had sunblock all over your body, ready to go the long trail, then you’re a traveler.

If you can’t decide on which hotel to stay in, you’re a tourist. If you’re ready to bring with you your bulky tent and sleeping mat, then you’re a traveler.

If you’re up to take Instagram-worthy photos of a tiger out in the wild, then you’re a tourist. But if you would want to see them up close and pat their backs, you’re a traveler.

If your bag contains sunblock, a smartphone, iPad, earphones, makeup set, a thick wallet and a guidebook, you’re a tourist. If your bag contains a jacket, a handy camera, a flashlight, powerbank, a bottle of water and some snacks, then you’re a traveler.

If you can’t choose whether you’d buy an overpriced shirt or a mug as souvenir, you’re a tourist. If you’d rather buy a handicraft made by the locals of your destination, then you’re a traveler.

If you go on travels with your friends on random occasions, you’re a tourist. If you already have a next destination in the next 3 months on your list, you’re a traveler.

With all these said, being a tourist does not necessarily mean that you are the stereotyped person with a tanlines and a selfie stick. Tourists usually stay in their comfort zones as they go to places that they have never been before. They normally go to where most people go, a tourist spot which you could find in Google. If you would want to, stepping out of your bubble could make your trip wonderful, only if you will it.

On the other hand, travelers are more of the explorers. They’d rather walk down the off-beaten paths and see the hidden gems of a known city. They are comfortable in talking and interacting with the locals of their chosen destinations. They too, use maps and GPS, but are more open with the idea of going the other way for more adventure. Don’t limit yourself from searching for unfamiliar places, because seeing the famous tourist spots is as good as discovering new places.

Whichever you are, it doesn’t really matter, anyway. One could go on and see the world in whatever way they want, right?

Follow my other articles in, and