Difference Between Gypsies and Travellers

Gypsies vs Travellers

Big Fat Gypsy Weddings is a program that is being aired on Chanel 4 in UK that has caught the attraction of the common people towards gypsies and travelers. There are many groups of people in the world that are known for being on the move literally. These wandering people have different ethnicities, but one thing that unites them is their tendency to remain travelers all their lives. Gypsy and Romani are two most popular groups of people that belong to this category. However, there are also travelers to further complicate matters. This article attempts to highlight the differences between gypsies and travelers.


Gypsy is a term that is applied to diverse groups of people who belong to wandering races or tribes. These people seem to have Indian origins, and they were seen in Europe, in the 16th century for the first time. Many of the gypsy groups refer to themselves as Romany people. The fact that the word gypsy was used by writers of the caliber of Shakespeare and Edmund Spencer speaks about the attraction of such people in the minds of common people of Europe. Romani people arrived in Europe in 16th century and spread to other parts of the world quickly with major chunks later identified in America, North Africa and even in the Middle East.


Scottish and Irish Travelers are tribes of nomadic people that contain within themselves different ethnicities with different traditions, customs, and even languages. These people have Irish origins, which is the reason why despite labeled loosely as gypsies in far away United States, these nomadic groups are called as Irish Travelers across Europe.

What is the difference between Gypsies and Travellers?

• While gypsy is a generic term used to refer to wandering tribes that contain many ethnicities within themselves, travelers happen to be nomadic people belonging to Ireland and Scotland.

• Gypsies are believed to have arrived in Europe from Indian subcontinent in the 16th century. In India, they are referred to as banajara people.

• The two people speak different languages.

• Gypsies and travelers have traditionally lived outside the societies.

• Travelers remain concentrated in UK while Gypsies are found in many different parts of the world.

• Travelers look no different from the locals as they have same Irish origins, whereas Gypsies have Hindu ancestry and as such they have physical features different from the rest of the European people.

• Travelers were once great tinsmiths, but the use of plastics hit them hard as their skills were no longer required by the people. This is why they were also called Tinkers at on point of time.

• Travellers are also called Pavee, which is a word of Shelta language, the language of the travelers.

• Gypsy is a rather loose term that includes terms such as travelers, tinkers, and even Romani.