Traveling Vs Driving: What Is the Real Difference?

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Two of the most common terms that are used while going from one place to another are driving and traveling. But what do they actually mean, and which one should you use in which scenario?

Well, even though both the terms might seem like a synonym to one another, they have a lot of differences. Both in terms of meaning and usage. And in this article about driving vs traveling, we are going to state each of the differences.

Hopefully, after reading to the very conclusion, you will not be confused anymore. And after that, you would also understand the true meaning of the terms and when to use one or the other. So, without further ado, let us get right into it!


Whenever you say that you are driving something, doesn’t it mean that you own a vehicle and are operating it to go from one place to another? Well, things are not that simple in legal terms. In legal definition, driving means that you are in a transportation means and you are transporting goods. 

Now, what does transporting goods even mean? It states that you have something in your trunk or storage space that you are taking with you to your destination. This is basically enjoying a privilege as the legal definition suggests. That would also mean that it is necessary to carry a driving license.

If you are “driving” and do not have a license, you are basically committing a crime. And the cops will have legal rights to detain you, give warnings, issue fines, or just take you in.


We are going to follow the same definition that we used for driving. When you are traveling, it obviously means that you are inside a vehicle. However, the vehicle might or might not be yours. And in this state, it will be against the law to carry something in the storage or trunk of the vehicle.

According to the laws, every citizen has the right to travel. That means you will be deprived of your rights if someone restricts you from traveling. And when that happens, it will be 100 percent possible to say something against it. The authorities will be held responsible for dealing with the scenario.

Now, the main question stand is whether a license is required or not. Well, as we have mentioned, traveling is a right that every citizen has the right to enjoy, just like food and shelter. But you can not certainly own any of them without having valid purchase proof, right?

We know we have left a cliffhanger here. But do not worry, we are pretty sure that the cliffhanger will get clear as water after you go through the comparison and the differences between driving and traveling.

Driving Vs. Traveling: Similarities

There are a couple of things that make traveling and driving alike. And they are as follows

Transportation Mean

Whether you are driving or traveling, you are inside or on a transportation mean. You can not simply drive without being on top or inside a motorized vehicle, can you? That is the primary and the most major similarity that is between both of these activities

You Are Going Somewhere

In terms of both driving and traveling, you would be going from one place to another. Whether it is from work to home or from home to work, you basically have a starting point and a destination. And this thing applies to both the activities we have in our discussion.


As we have mentioned above, you must be in transportation mean to carry out any of these activities. You might legally own that vehicle, or another person might own it. Now, if it is yours, you are have already paid for the ownership and are spending money on the fuel.

On the other hand, if it belongs to someone else, you might have rented it. And even if it was not rented, you are paying for the fuel. Also, the same thing goes for public transports. The ownership of those is not under your name. However, you would have to pay for riding them

Driving Vs. Traveling: Differences

Now that we have looked through the things that make these two activities alike let us go through the things that make them different. And they are as stated below:


Remember that we left a cliffhanger above; well, you will get the answer in this segment. First, let us talk about driving. Like we stated, while driving, you are enjoying a privilege. And in legal terms, whenever someone is enjoying a privilege, they must have legal documents.

However, when traveling, you are enjoying a right. And for enjoying a right, there is no need for any legal documents. But there is a catch. Even if while traveling, the vehicle is on top of the road, right? Well, there are laws associated with being on the road.

That being said, if there is a case of the person breaking any traffic rules, the driver’s license is going to come into play. Without that, it is certainly not possible for law enforcement to penalize the person without any papers. And usually, a driver’s license contains all the information that is required to penalize that person.

Now, what if you are just “traveling” and did not break any rules? Do the law enforcers hold the ability to penalize you for not having any form of legal documents? No! In legal terms, they will have no power if the driver or “traveler” did not break any rules.

Transporting Goods

According to the definition, when someone is driving, that person is basically transporting goods from one place to another. And along with the goods, the person is also going from the starting point to the destination.

However, during traveling, the person is not traveling with goods, at least according to the definition.

The Loophole

We have gone through the definition. Also, we stated the similarities and the differences, which were all according to the definition. Now, consider one scenario, you are on public transport, and there is a good that you are carrying. Are you driving or traveling?

Well, according to the definition, you must be driving. But in literal meaning, the transport is driven by another person, right? So, which term is most applicable here — driving or traveling? 

If we consider the legal definition, you are driving, but you are basically traveling in literal terms.

That being said, the question stands that which term should you when trying to state to someone that you are moving from one place to another in that state? Well, we do not talk in legal terms all the time, do we? So, it is a given that the correct term would be “traveling” in that case.

However, if you were behind the wheels on that vehicle, the legal term would be “driving.” But you will not be entirely wrong if you stated that you are traveling from the starting point to the destination with the good

Do I Need To Carry Any Form Of Legal Papers While Traveling?

It depends. According to the legal terms, there is no need to carry one while traveling. However, there are many conditions. If you are not in your own country, carrying a passport is a must.

Even when you are inside your own country, carrying a driver’s license while driving a car is a good idea. You will never know when a law enforcer is going to ask for them. And if they do not find you carrying a legal document when breaking a traffic rule, they hold the full capability and right to penalize you.

That being said, if you are not traveling by being behind the driving wheel, there will be no need to carry a legal document or a driver’s license. However, this will only be applicable if you are inside your motherland. In other places, a passport is a must, which we have already mentioned above.

Does Cop Understand The Differences Between Driving And Traveling?

Not all of the cops will understand what difference you are actually trying to portray. We even carried out an experiment on our own. And in that experiment, we got pulled over twice. One of the cops did understand what we were trying to portray but still asked us to show legal documents.

In the other scenario, the cop did not get what we were trying to portray at all. So, no matter which activity you are carrying out, we would highly recommend carrying the driver’s license.

Final Words

Hopefully, after going through the entire article, you now have all the knowledge regarding driving vs traveling. And as we have mentioned above, we would strongly suggest keeping the driver’s license with you and following all the traffic rules while being on the road. Safe traveling, or should we say driving.

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