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Tourist vs. Excursionist: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson & Harlon Moss || Updated on May 20, 2024
A tourist stays at least one night at their destination, while an excursionist visits for less than 24 hours, typically returning home the same day.

Key Differences

A tourist is someone who travels to a destination and stays for at least one night. This extended stay often allows tourists to explore the area more thoroughly, participate in local activities, and experience the culture more deeply. An excursionist, on the other hand, visits a destination for less than 24 hours and does not stay overnight. This type of traveler usually returns home the same day. Excursionists typically partake in day trips, attending events, or sightseeing.
Tourists generally have a broader itinerary with various planned activities spread over several days. This allows them to explore multiple attractions and engage in different experiences. In contrast, excursionists have a condensed schedule, focusing on a few key attractions or activities within their short visit.
The economic impact of tourists is often greater than that of excursionists. Tourists contribute more significantly to the local economy through spending on accommodation, meals, and extended recreational activities. Excursionists, while still contributing economically, tend to spend less due to their shorter stay and limited needs.
Tourists and excursionists differ in their travel planning and preparation. Tourists typically need to plan more extensively, considering accommodations, longer-term transportation, and detailed itineraries. Excursionists usually plan simpler, shorter trips with less need for extensive preparation.

Comparison Chart

Duration of Stay

Stays at least one night
Visits for less than 24 hours


Requires overnight accommodations
No overnight stay needed


Broader, with multiple activities over days
Condensed, focusing on a few key activities

Economic Impact

Higher due to spending on accommodations, meals, etc.
Lower, spends less due to short visit

Travel Planning

Requires more extensive planning
Simpler, less detailed planning

Tourist and Excursionist Definitions


Someone visiting a place for leisure or recreation.
As a tourist, she enjoyed visiting all the famous landmarks.


Someone engaging in a day trip without an overnight stay.
The excursionist joined a city tour that lasted the entire afternoon.


A visitor often seen exploring new cultures and destinations.
The tourist took hundreds of photos during his trip to Japan.


A visitor who participates in short-duration recreational activities.
As an excursionist, he enjoyed a quick wine tasting tour before heading back.


A person who travels to a destination and stays for at least one night.
The tourist booked a week-long stay in Paris to explore the city.


A person who makes a short visit to a destination for less than 24 hours.
The excursionist spent the day hiking in the national park and returned home in the evening.


An individual who takes part in tourism activities.
Each tourist received a map and a guidebook upon arrival.


An individual partaking in a brief outing or short journey.
The excursionist visited the museum and attended a local festival.


A traveler staying temporarily in a place away from home.
The tourist asked for recommendations on local cuisine.


A traveler who returns home on the same day of their visit.
Many excursionists visit the coastal town for a quick beach day.


One who travels for pleasure.


One who goes on an excursion.


Someone who travels for pleasure rather than for business.


A person who goes on an excursion; a traveller or tourist


(derogatory) One who visits a place or attends a social event out of curiosity, wanting to watch without commitment or involvement.


One who goes on an excursion, or pleasure trip.


A member of the visiting team in a match.


A tourist who is visiting sights of interest


A guest user on a computer system.


One who makes a tour, or performs a journey, especially for pleasure.


Someone who travels for pleasure


Do excursionists require a place to stay overnight?

No, excursionists do not stay overnight.

What kind of trips do tourists usually take?

Tourists usually take longer trips involving multiple activities and sightseeing.

What is the economic impact of excursionists?

Excursionists have a lower economic impact due to their shorter stays and limited spending.

What is a common activity for tourists?

Sightseeing and exploring multiple attractions over several days.

How long does an excursionist typically stay?

An excursionist typically stays for less than 24 hours.

Do tourists need accommodations?

Yes, tourists require overnight accommodations.

Do tourists need extensive travel planning?

Yes, tourists typically require detailed planning for accommodations, transportation, and activities.

What is a common activity for excursionists?

Day trips to a specific location or event.

What defines a tourist?

A tourist is defined by their stay of at least one night at a destination.

Is planning simpler for excursionists?

Yes, planning is simpler for excursionists as their trips are shorter and less detailed.

Can a person be both a tourist and an excursionist?

Yes, depending on the duration and nature of their trips.

Who tends to plan shorter, simpler trips?

Excursionists plan shorter, simpler trips.

What kind of activities do excursionists engage in?

Excursionists engage in activities that can be completed within a day, like day trips or short tours.

How do tourists contribute to the economy?

Tourists contribute significantly through spending on accommodations, food, and various activities.

How does travel frequency differ between tourists and excursionists?

Tourists may travel less frequently but for longer periods, whereas excursionists may take more frequent short trips.

What accommodations do tourists use?

Tourists use hotels, guest houses, and other overnight accommodations.

Are tourists more likely to engage in cultural experiences?

Yes, tourists are more likely to engage in cultural experiences due to their extended stay.

Which type of traveler typically spends more money?

Tourists typically spend more money due to their longer stays and broader range of activities.

Which type of traveler has a broader itinerary?

Tourists have a broader itinerary.

What transportation do excursionists typically use?

Excursionists often use personal vehicles, public transport, or tour buses for day trips.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Co-written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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