5 Types of Traveller You Dont Want to Be

For as long as I can remember, the Traveller vs. Tourist Argument has always existed. It’s been an ongoing debate of who’s travelling the right way and who’s not. Truth is, there is no correct way of travelling for all travel is still travel. If what Mark Twain said was true that “Travel is fatal to prejudice and bigotry”, this argument should’ve been long gone by now but it isn’t. Some so-called “travellers” still live with this stereotype and it’s causing quite a stir. Although some of us like to live on the edge, others still prefer a more laid back approach. Either way, we are all travellers and tourists at the same time. In my opinion, it only boils down to a difference in travel styles and as much I hate putting labels, there are just some ways of travelling that would never imagine myself of doing.

Here they are…

Photo by Ken Martino(Vulken) via Photobucket

Photo by Ken Martino(Vulken) via Photobucket

1. The SNAPPER – Also known as “Click Tourists“, they live in lenses and LCDs. Their main purpose is to take as many photos of themselves in front of tourist spots to show off to their friends as soon as they get home. They usually just spend minutes in front a popular landmark and after a few “Clicks”, move on to the next one. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera they have, be it be a phone cam or a professional cam, their memory cards are flooded with selfies and jump shots. They never see the real beauty of the place because they’re constantly looking at the view through their LCDs.

2. The STAMP COLLECTOR – They cross borders…literally. All they’re after are passport stamps. And no I’m not talking about visa runs(that’s a valid reason). They think passport stamps hold some sort of aesthetic value just as makeup does. Ask them to come up with an itinerary for a 3-day long weekend and you’ll find 3 countries in that list as well. It’s pretty easy to spot them in the airport because they have that distinct grin of fulfillment as they scan through the colorful pages of their passports. Some of them would argue that they’re just trying to build their travel history to increase their chances when applying for a SCHENGEN or U.S. Visa. They will always dread the day when they are scheduled to renew their passports.

3. The SOCIAL MEDIA TOURISTThe Snapper’s closest kin. They’re very much alike, except that they don’t feel obliged to take photos. A simple check in at the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower  is more than enough for them to show off. Their trips are measured by the number of likes they get on Facebook and the number of double taps on Instagram. Envious comments from friends are their main source of energy but in the end, their experience is only as interesting as the number of times they refreshed their profiles before the maximum number of likes has been reached. It’s quite easy to tell them apart because they’re constantly looking down with eyes glued on their smartphone screens even as they cross the street. Their greatest skill? The “Airport Check-in”. They’ve checked in on Facebook more times than they’ve actually checked in for a flight.

Photo from: The Western Front

Photo from: The Western Front

4. The SHOPPER – “I got this dress in Thailand for a hundred Baht, what a great bargain!”. Yes, and you also got 20 other dresses and you’ll end up using just 5 of them in your lifetime. Yes it’s retail therapy and no it’s not necessary. Not that I know much about shopping. They usually take with them one huge stroller and return home with 4 barely-zipped ones. Ask them, and they’ll swear that Chatuchak is one of the Seven wonders of the modern world. The “Techie” subclass would readily trade a day in Sentosa for a day in Funan or Sim Lim Square and would rather go to Sham Shui Po even if it means skipping Ocean Park.

Photo from: Wikipedia

Photo from: Wikipedia

5. The SEX TOURIST – It’s a sad reality that they really do exist! Common culprits include, but are not limited to rich, sick, dirty old men with money(and their own souls) to burn. And did I mention SICK?! They travel to countries where child trafficking and prostitution is legal and rampant and they exploit this. The younger versions are usually found in festivals and parties. They don’t really opt for prostitutes but they do have a keen eye for spotting other drunk, horny party-goers. Mostly seasonal, their hunting grounds include Panama City during Spring break and Koh Phangan during every full moon. Like raging bulls, their eyes are on the constant lookout for “Red Lights”. They are the few lucky ones who have already booked first-class tickets for their final trip – a One-way ticket to HELL!

The next time you go on a trip, forget about pictures for awhile, make your own memories instead. Forget about passport stamps, they don’t make you better travellers. Forget about social media and soak up in your solitude instead. Forget about material things, they will soon wear out but your experiences won’t. Forget about your lustfulness and remember that you’re there to explore, not to exploit. Why not consider staying at a hostel where you’ll meet the most interesting people you’ll ever know. Mingle with locals a little more. Eat what they eat, drink with them, and get to know them a little more. Through them, you’ll fully understand the country, the place, the history and the culture more than any guide book you can find. Put your phones down for a second, a day or a week. Instead, grab an old-fashioned map or better yet, GET LOST!  Because only then will you truly find yourself.

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