What is the difference between a Genre Traveler and a Genre Tourist? Is one “better” than the other?
That second question was a trick question because neither one is better than the other. Traveling as a tourist is great, and so is hitting the road as a traveler. In this post, I’ll go over what the difference is and provide some tips for making the most of either modality.
Genre Travelers are there for the journey. The traveling can be as interesting and exciting as the sites seen along the way. Being a genre traveler is more of a mindset: No matter where you are, you’ll notice the “genre-ness” of the location. That’s why I’ll post things like trash cans that look like Daleks and roadside attraction of Paul Bunyon.
A Genre Tourist, on the other hand, focuses on the destination. This type of traveler will participate in group travel opportunities – from an organized tour of Harry Potter’s England to a science fiction convention to an immersion experience such as staying in a haunted hotel. The mindset of a Genre Tourist is that the destination matters more than how you got there. I’ve done touristy things and had a great deal of fun!
Time Differences Between the Genre Traveler and Genre Tourist
A Genre Traveler and a Genre Tourist go on a two-week vacation. Here is how they spend their time differently.
The Genre Tourist plans everything in advance – or had someone else, such as a tour group company, do it. Flights, hotels, restaurants, and activities are all planned and put on an agenda for the trip.
Conversely, because the Genre Traveler is more about the journey, those things get planned on the fly. Genre Travelers may end up spending (some would say wasting) time at internet cafés or on their smartphones looking for a hotel or the best way to get to the next stop. They might also spend time wandering around trying to find a restaurant.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Being a Genre Traveler vs. a Genre Tourist
There are benefits to doing things the Genre Traveler way, but there are also benefits to doing things the Genre Tourist way.
- Discover restaurants, attractions and other cool things they might not have found with advanced Internet research
- More laid back and relaxed approach to travel
- More opportunities to interact with locals in an authentic setting
- Spend more time doing than trying to figure out what to do
- If using a service, you can focus on what you want – traveling – and not on all the logistics that go into traveling
- No clear idea of what comes next
- Spend a lot of time planning on the fly
- Can be harried, no time to savor the unexpected
- Interaction with locals is usually planned, scripted, and less authentic
All that said, some people enjoy searching for hotels and transport online. Many people like the feeling that the trip will unfold gradually while they’re already on the road. Often times, when my husband and I are on a road trip, we’ll decide where we’re going to stop about midday. Then, while he’s driving, I open an app on my smartphone and book the hotel. It works out great for us.
Do Genre Travelers or Genre Tourists See the Best Sites?
Travelers, in general (genre and otherwise) often say that they don’t want to go to tourist sites – that they want to get ‘off the beaten path.’ However, if the path has been beaten by thousands upon thousands of curious tourists, there must be a good reason to take a look at those sites.
Would you not visit the Forbidden City in Beijing because it was a typical tourist site? Or would you avoid visiting the pyramids in Egypt because you would run into too many tourists?
If you plan to avoid sites that are too ‘touristy’ because you’re a traveler instead of a tourist, you’ll probably miss making some wonderful memories. That is why, in my definitions at the beginning, I emphasized the mindset of a Genre Traveler and Genre Tourist. They can see the same sites, but how they see them may differ.
Just like many things in life, you may not fall into one camp or the other. You may find yourself being a Genre Traveler for one holiday and a Genre Tourist the next. Which style you choose might depend on the length of time you have for your trip, your age, your health – and basically what you’re in the mood for at the time.
So get out and see the world through genre-colored glasses – and enjoy whichever style you choose!