Tourist vs. Traveller vs. Backpacker vs. Flashpacker vs. Expat vs. Location Independent Professional

travelling friends

Tourist, traveller, backpacker, flashpacker, expat and location-independent professionals – do you know which one is what, and, more importantly, do you know exactly what are you? These words are similar and overlap at times, but differences still exist, and I’ll try to straighten them up below.


According to several dictionaries, tourist is:

‘One who travels for

‘A person who makes a tour, esp. for pleasure.’

They are distinguished by being part of tour groups, going to the main attractions and sightseeings of a place, and passing only through the surface of the culture and customs.

Tourists are being taken care of by tour guides and tourist companies.

Here’s what Daniel J. Boorsin, an American historian, professor, attorney and writer, said about the tourist:

“The traveller was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes ‘sight-seeing.'”


Let’s see now what is out there for the traveller:

‘A person who travels, esp

‘One who travels or has travelled, as to distant

A traveller is someone who gets deeper into the culture and experiences the authenticity of the place. He avoids the popular tourist attractions and blends in with the locals in order to get to know them and their lives better.


But how does the traveller differ from the backpacker?

‘A backpacker is someone, especially a young person without much money, who travels around an area on foot or with public transport, often carrying a backpack.’

He tries to experience the local life as he lives along with its inhabitants for awhile. He always looks for the lowest cost of accommodation, food, way of getting around, etc. regardless of the quality of service and product, he gets in return. He is also known for working jobs abroad such as fruit picking, farm work, etc. in order to finance his travels. He drinks beer, likes the freedom to wander around and go to the outbacks of a country, and he is fine sleeping in a hostel one night, and outside on a bench on the next. He is not necessarily young, but definitely adventurous.


The flashpacker, is, according to one definition, ‘a flashier version of a backpacker who keeps costs down by taking trains and group carriers, but spends a little more dough by staying at single room hostels with more amenities.’

In other words, he doesn’t necessarily always get the cheapest accommodation. He likes the comfort and is usually all wired with gadgets such as laptop, iPod, Bluetooth headphones, and many more, and finds ways to stay connected to the Internet all the time.


The expat is:

A person who lives outside their native

‘One who has taken up residence in a foreign country.’

‘A person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person’s upbringing or legal residence.’

The expat, on the other hand, is often confused with the immigrant because they both live in a foreign country for a long period of time.

But, while the expat chooses to leave for professional and personal needs, and desire to explore another country, the immigrant moves abroad as a last resort.

Location-Independent Professional

Lastly, the location independent professional can travel freely because his job does not require him to be in one particular location: ‘Location-independent professionals frequently work as freelance writers, photographers, affiliate marketers, web designers, web developers, graphic designers, and sometimes they simply pick up odd jobs as they travel, such as teaching English.’

Have you always dreamt of exploring the world? If that’s true for you, apply for your visa and start packing!


thank you!

[…] Traveller is someone who travels habitually or one who travels to distant places. As travellers usually plan to stay longer than tourists, they usually plan properly on their own. Travellers love to know more about cultures of the places they visit and always tries to explore the originality of the place. They research on their own about the place to visit and the events to attend. […]

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