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Vacationer or Traveler?

The Howard University Public Television station, WHUT, recently broadcast an informative episode of the daily financial series Moneywise that focused on money and travel. Of the many important points the broadcast touched upon, one seemed to stand out the most. The series host, Kelvin Boston, asked his guests to describe the difference between a vacationer and a traveler.

The terms “vacationer” and “traveler” seem synonymous, but as the editor of Go Girl! put it, the difference has a lot to do with whether one is a participant in the travel experience versus a mere observer. Travelers are the ones who immerse themselves in new cultures.

Most of us, especially those of us native to the United States, view our travels in the MidAtlantic as that of vacationers. We’re eager to know about the next tour, the best deals on our flight, but too often neglect how we’re going to assimilate and blend in to our new surroundings. On your next trip, why not make a pledge to become less of tourist and more of a traveler. Make a pledge to really develop a sense of the everyday living of the people in your new environment.

Here are few great tips:

1) Study the travel guide to scope out the places you’d most like to see. Then once you’re there, let go of the book and let your experiences lead you.
2) Skip the chain restaurants and head for the local mom-and-pop diner or dive-in bar. Exploring the native foods of a region should part of your daily travel routine.
3) Get lost in a safe place. Sometimes local gems are just a few blocks off the paths regular tourists take.
4) Leave the rental car at the hotel. Opt instead for traveling on foot, by bike, or by metro. Traveling by common means brings you closer to the common people.
5) Cancel your hotel reservation and stay with a friend instead.

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