Why You Don’t Have to Apologize For Being a Tourist
Wanderlust is a word that seems to be mentioned a lot these days. Everyone wants to escape their 8-hour desk job even for just a weekend. Promo fares are sold out under a few hours, and there are more travel blogs than you can possibly count.
Everyday you’ll see people uploading photos of their latest travel abroad on Facebook. Your Instagram feeds are filled with cities from faraway lands, and people scramble to visit all the beaches in the Philippines.
There’s nothing wrong with this. But I do have a problem with travelers saying that other people do it wrong. They talk about “tourists” as if it’s the last thing you should be. They set their own rules of traveling and seem to think that everyone else should abide by them.
People have different reasons for traveling
If you love traveling, so you can immerse yourself in a culture apart from your own, good for you. However, this isn’t the only reason people love to get away.
While for some, traveling is a lifestyle, for others it’s a luxury. While they’re at it, why not get the best of everything? It’s their form of escape, and they have all the liberty to decide what they want to do in their travels. If relaxing and getting away from their daily troubles is their main purpose for traveling, please don’t bring them down by saying that joining tour groups is wrong.
Even if we want to, not all of us can spend an entire month just traveling. Not everyone has the liberty to spend as much time with the locals as we want. It’s great that cultural immersion is being emphasized, but demeaning those who can’t is rather sad and disappointing.
It’s perfectly fine to prefer having an itinerary over getting lost
How dare you have an itinerary when you should be spending days of your trip just getting lost? How dare you dream of visiting the touristy spots when you should actually be finding hole-in-the-wall gems in a foreign city?
Apparently, posing in front of a famous landmark makes you a tourist, not a traveler. Shame on you. Shame on me, too, because I see nothing wrong with it. I see nothing wrong with planning what I’m going to do with my three short days, because it’s not like I can easily go back anytime I want. To desire to see as many places as you want sounds so wrong, but where’s the fault in it?
I might as well make the most out of the trip. It’s not like I’m going to throw a tantrum if I won’t be able to cover everything on my itinerary, but no one should be stopped from trying.
If you think you deserve the luxury, then you do
For many travelers, they save their hard-earned salary so they can splurge on a trip. It can be the trip of a lifetime or it can simply be their dream city, and if they think that staying in posh hotels and trying everything will make the trip perfect for them, why ruin it for them?
If you have the means to spend lavishly on spa massages or have dinner in star-rated restaurants, go ahead. No one should stop you from lounging on beach chairs sipping margarita. It’s your life and it’s your trip. So why must you let anyone say anything about it?
Don’t feel guilty for what you did and didn’t do
You didn’t like the local cuisine? Don’t say sorry. Sometimes you need an acquired taste to appreciate some delicacies. Spent too much on souvenir? It’s okay, at least on top of the memories, you have trinkets to remind you of the trip. Don’t feel too bad for missing the sunrise or opting to eat at a fast food chain instead of a local restaurant.
If your idea of a great travel means photographing every minute of it, then don’t leave that camera in your hotel room. If taking a photo of that pad thai will make you happy, don’t let anyone stop you. How is it impossible to be in the moment and still take photos to immortalize the event?
It’s all up to you. Don’t let others make you feel guilty just because you’re doing it differently.
There’s no right or wrong way to travel
There’s no rule book to follow point by point. There’s no travel police who will lock you up for not knowing the local language. You don’t need to be reprimanded for buying another souvenir shirt. It’s your time, money and effort spent on traveling. You have the most say in what you’re going to do in your trip.
Go be a tourist if that will make you happy. Other people have no business of making you feel bad for being one.