Another world of travel doesn’t have mean getting into a rocket and heading to Jupiter. In fact, right here on planet earth there are plenty of worlds to travel. You can travel in what I call, the traditional way. Go to a travel agent, book your tickets, get yourself an itinerary, schedule your vacation time, and then go about your world travel with everything planned out for you.
Another world of travel is that of the backpacker. Backpackers like to think of themselves as independent, meaning that they choose where to go, how long to stay, and don’t generally use the services of travel agents or trip bookers. However, in my experience, I find that most people who are backpacking aren’t truly independent. Many of them have schedules they need to follow, instead of a travel agent they use their Lonely Planet or other guide books, and though they don’t like to admit it, they often have things planned out in just as much detail as the traditional vacationers.
One thing that annoys me when I go to backpacker haunts is to hear some twenty two year old with a huge budget, pre booked activities, fully planned transportation, and no intention of getting off the beaten path ranting about the difference between travelers and tourists. He’s a tourist too, although one that isn’t spending as much money and carries a backpack. A better term for this kind of world traveler would be a backpack tourist.
Of course, the classic rant of tourist vs. traveler does have some merit behind it. A traveler is someone who is flexible in their plans. They usually forgo the comforts of expensive hotels for other means of finding a place to sleep while they travel the world, and most importantly, they tend to interact directly with the cultures and peoples they encounter.