Having traveled quite a bit recently, I’ve witnessed many types of travelers (or tourists for a label with a more negative connotation). I thought it would be fun to delineate the types. I’ve been a combination of these over these past trips. Which kind(s) are you?
The Review Reliant Tourist
This is the one I identify with the most. If you are review reliant, you find it completely necessary to consult most, if not all, of the following: Foursquare, Yelp, TripAdvisor—even Lonely Planet and Google Reviews if you’re
curious desperate enough. You may Google articles and read travel blogs. In fact, you often use any combination of these even in your hometown or school. If you’ve used them long enough, going to any place without having looked it up beforehand makes you uneasy, especially if you later look it up (or while in said place) and realize it has low reviews. Sometimes you’ll add your own reviews, especially if you’ve had a “negative” experience, which we all know may be the complete opposite for someone else. Still. Rating and reviewing places give you pleasure. Knowing you’re going somewhere with a 9+/10 rating on Foursquare makes you feel better.
The Tours Tourist
This is the type my mom and many of her peers are. Every trip you book, you must book at least one tour along with it. You prefer riding buses and being led around by someone holding a flag, umbrella, or other (embarrassing) identifying marker, while you half-listen and take as many photos as you can. The history doesn’t really matter. Or maybe it does, but the most important thing is that you get that photo that the tour guide tells you to take in the few seconds he or she gives you in front of that place you won’t remember unless you need to upload to Facebook, WeChat, etc. A trip is not a trip without a tour—or at least a friend or someone else acting as one.
The Social Media Tourist
I admit I can be this type. You do it for the likes, wherever your preferred social media platform might be. Your iPhone or other smartphone (but most likely iPhone) is always in one hand, ready to take a selfie or have someone take a photo of you in front of some #ARTsy attraction. You may have a selfie stick, and if you don’t, you’re jealous that others have one, whether you like to admit or not. You’ve said, “OMG, this would be such a good Instagram photo” or “I wonder if there’s a geofilter on Snapchat here” or “I need a new profile pic” more than a few times. Similar to the Tours Tourist, history might not matter. It’s all about having been there, done that, and taken the right picture to upload to social media networks. Specific outfits may be imperative. #LIKEME
The Real Photographer
This is similar to the Social Media Tourist, but the difference is that you use expensive cameras and may not find it a priority to upload your raw photos to social media immediately. It might take weeks to upload your albums actually because #photoshop. You may prefer uploading to Flickr over Facebook. The heaviest things you brought in your luggage are your camera lenses in your kit full of fancy camera gear. Climbing a mountain to take that perfect sunrise photo (may involve camping overnight on the mountain) may sound nice—or the hardcore photographers might think that’s too amateur of a photo because “anyone can do it.” It’s important that you use just the right lens, adjust your aperture, and finally focus on your sure-to-be-perfect shot.
The “What’s a Camera?” Tourist
This type can be applied to tourists both young and old. When people ask about photos from a recent trip, you say you didn’t take many—or any. You may have climbed the Great Wall, but when it comes to taking a photo, you think, “Why take a photo when you can Google the same view?” You’re the type of tourist that makes Social Media Tourists cringe in horror and think you don’t give a shit or don’t know how to travel. You may be fine with others taking photos of you, of views, with you, without you. But pulling out your phone and trying to get a decent photo? Psh. You have better things to do with your time.
The Take-It-Easy Vacationer
You’re a combination of types. You may consult Yelp or Foursquare but it’s not necessary. You tend to listen to real people for suggestions and will be down for more relaxing activities, such as shopping or getting massages. You tend to avoid anything that requires too much physical activity. You take things slow and would prefer to wake up later than earlier. Tours that make you rush from one place to another don’t tend to sound fun, less they involve beer or food or both. More friends with you, the better. But some quiet time chilling at the beach sounds great, too. Hey, it’s vacation.
The Solo Tourist
We’ve all seen this type. You stay at a hostel or some hotel or housing other people have never heard of. You tell people and yourself that you enjoy traveling alone because you can meet new people. You may own a selfie stick, or you may hate them. Either way, your photos tend to not involve yourself. You stay in each city for only a few days at most. Europe is most likely where you’re traveling. You sometimes imagine what it would be like if your friends or family were with you. And sometimes you are glad they aren’t.
The Serious Adventurer
You look like an Amazing Race contestant, packing as little as possible and couldn’t care less about how good you look, especially with all the hiking you plan on doing. You may have a companion with you. Your dreams include climbing Mount Everest or some other physically demanding landmark or wonder of the world. When you plan a trip, you make sure to prepare yourself physically. It’s like training for a marathon, which you might actually participate in wherever you’re going.
Which tourist types did I miss? I’m sure there are so many more, but these are the types I noticed are most prevalent during my travels.
At the beer tasting I went to today with my mom in Prague, there was only one other tourist (apparently there are usually 10 to 15), and she—a 21-year-old Korean who studies in Brighton, England—inspired me to write this. The thing is, it’s both easy and hard to fit her into a type.
I say easy because from the limited time we had chatting, I could say that she likes to take it slow and relies a lot on real people to figure out where to go and what to do. As a solo traveler after her friend left her, she said she went to a tower today and plan on going to a fountain tomorrow, which makes me think she likes to take it REAL slow with one attraction a day, compared to me with as many as possible without killing my mom. She kept asking what else there was to do, and whenever I mentioned something, she asked how I “knew all this stuff.” When I said online, she specifically asked where and didn’t know what Foursquare was (GASP!).
She doesn’t really have things planned out, but she wants to enjoy her time. As you can see, it’s hard because she’s a combination of types but they’re all from my limited perspective. As someone who’s obsessed with Foursquare, I think it’s easy to feel surprised that she doesn’t know it but from another? What’s Foursquare?
Unless you’re a “Traveling Sucks” Tourist (self-explanatory), traveling is fun, no matter your type(s). May we all have time in our lives to travel more, discover adventures, and live life. 🙂