“My favourite thing to do is go somewhere I’ve never been. And, if I’m not doing this you’ll find me helping others achieve it because that’s the next best thing.” – Alyse.
Hi, I’m Alyse – The Invisible Tourist
Are you travelling abroad for the first time or wanting to head back to a favourite spot for more? With over 15 years of globetrotting experience, I’ve created The Invisible Tourist to help you be invisible in Japan and beyond through my tried-and-tested travel itineraries, lesser-known destination guides, cultural etiquette tips, local activities and anecdotal advice to enrich your trip.
My content is meticulously curated around ways we can make a conscious effort to “blend in” when travelling. The aim is to minimise any negative impacts tourism has on locals, their communities, their culture and natural environment. It also strives to amplify the positive aspects of tourism.
Reaching almost 3 million readers just like you annually through engaging and thoughtful content, The Invisible Tourist has become a reliable source in reinforcing solutions to overtourism which benefit tourists and locals alike. So if you’re new here, I’m sending you a warm welcome and I hope to inspire you to be invisible, too!
By equipping my readers with tools to tailor their own invisibility cloaks when travelling, this unique twist to responsible travel has meant my work has been featured in tourism textbooks and by brands such as Qantas Travel Insider, American Express Essentials, Arigato Travel, Refinery29, BoredPanda, and even on Japanese TV!
As an extension to my general guide for how to not look like a tourist when travelling, in 2021 I published my first book, How to Not Look Like a Tourist: Unlocking Your Hidden Power for Overtourism Solutions. My extensive research into the causes of overtourism and blueprint for planning a perfect trip every time helped the book achieve #1 Amazon New Release status in two categories, including Japan Travel.
Unlike some other travel websites, The Invisible Tourist only features reviews about products, services and accommodations I have personally used and can recommend myself. As a result, the high percentage of returning readers is a testament to The Invisible Tourist’s trustworthiness as a source for those looking for genuine, first-hand advice for their upcoming travels.
Video: The Invisible Tourist summed up in 60 seconds
TL;DR If watching a video is more your thing, I’ve summed up my blog in 60 seconds below. Psst, if you can’t see it below, simply disable your ad-blocker:
Why The Invisible Tourist?
Straight off the bat, you might notice there aren’t any pictures of me on this blog. This is mainly because I like to remain invisible (see what I did there?) and secondly, because I believe in recent years travel has become more focused on the individual and profits, so I prefer to let experiences speak for themselves. In turn, this allows you to place yourself in the picture.
In 2008, I began my earliest travels around the globe from my homeland of Australia. As a heartfelt response to personal observations regarding the growth of overtourism problems, I transitioned away from my freelance graphic designer career and created The Invisible Tourist in 2017. You can read why I chose this apparently “undesirable” name for my blog here.
Additionally, my uncommon insights and advice for travel to Japan at that time meant this little corner of the internet became my full-time job just one year later.
Although where I’ve been spans 5 continents, 30+ countries and 280 cities across the globe (having written all about them on my Destinations page), I have a few favourites. I absolutely adore Switzerland, and Singapore also tops my list. But with that said, my long-term love has always been Japan.
Since my first visit in 2014 exceeded my already high expectations, I have returned to Japan multiple times. Collectively, I’ve spent months travelling extensively around The Land of the Rising Sun, from exploring major cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto in-depth to far-flung places in southern Kyushu (including many offbeat places in between). Find everything you need to know to plan your trip on my comprehensive Japan travel blog.
Although Japan was a featured destination when I first began my blog, it hadn’t quite hit the mainstream tourist radar and was yet to experience overtourism issues. Visiting every few months from Australia, over the years I began to notice a disappointing shift in tourists’ attitudes as Japan’s popularity increased.
In early 2018, I shared my concerns about overtourism issues in Japan before major publications had caught on. In 2019, tourism to Japan peaked at 30 million visitors. And as we know in 2020, borders closed to tourism until October 2022. Despite this, during the closure I didn’t disappear and continued to share inspirational and educational Japan content.
In the summer of 2022, I accepted an incredibly rare opportunity to work in Japan before their borders reopened to individual visitors, allowing me to share unique insights on the country during this period. This coupled with my ability to personally visit Japan on a regular basis has resulted in The Invisible Tourist becoming one of the most authoritative and up-to-date sources for information about travel to Japan on the internet.
Considering that first visit captured my heart and gripped it tightly, in turn my passion and knowledge about Japan has grown exponentially. I share everything I know with my readers and answer all their questions so they can set realistic expectations to avoid disappointment on their trips.
Let’s get social
Does this kind of content resonate with you? You can follow my adventures, travel tips and advice with a focus on Japan as well as all the destinations I’ve shared over on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Flipboard and TikTok.
What content can be found on The Invisible Tourist?
“According to the Cape Town Declaration of 2002, Responsible Tourism can be defined as making “better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit” – a win-win for everyone.
From as early as I can remember, I’ve always been fiercely passionate about travelling in a responsible, culturally sustainable way. Through the Invisible Tourist I hope to inspire and encourage you, too.
Everything you’ll find on my blog has been designed with my readers in mind to help them be more mindful, invisible tourists to support local communities of the destinations they visit by:
- Increasing awareness about overtourism: Issues caused by & how to avoid contributing
- Encouraging responsible, sustainable tourism in a simple way
- Sharing my personal tried-and-tested, day-by-day itineraries & travel destination guides
- Exploring off-the-beaten path & alternatives to popular spots in destination-specific cultural guides
- Recommending authentic, cultural experiences to help local communities by keeping traditions alive.
As travel is my biggest love and I highly value my time, I don’t hold back in visiting my desired destinations. After all, I travelled for 9 years before even starting this blog! On occasion, I work with companies I genuinely love who share my travel philosophy.
The point of difference between The Invisible Tourist and other blogs is because I travel for the love of travel (and not for freebies), I am highly selective about the partnership opportunities I choose to accept. Therefore, I exclusively share dependable advice based on my audience’s interests.
What’s an Invisible Tourist?
An Invisible Tourist is someone who asks the following questions & seeks solutions:
- “How can we continue to travel yet minimise disruption to locals?”
- “How can we help preserve the identities and culture of places we visit?”
- “What can we do to give back to locals whilst we’re travelling?”
As tourists we should be supporting locals, not making their lives more difficult. The best way to do this is by “blending in” as best as possible.
I’m here to help if you’d like to learn more about what I like to call invisible tourism and you:
- Dream of travelling more with your mid range budget as mentioned in the graphic above but are unsure of where and how to start
- Would like to save money by booking flights and accommodation without the help of a travel agent, avoiding fees and leaving more cash for the good stuff
- Have determination to ensure you get the most personalised experience on your trip by being be your own tour guide, efficiently seeing the sights independently and doing amazing activities at your own pace
- Prefer staying in 3* – 4* hotels with creature comforts but don’t want to feel completely disconnected from the experience of local life – all without using unregulated homestay accommodation services such as Airbnb as these contribute to overtourism issues
- Want to learn more about local customs, culture and how to overall be respectful of others when travelling.
The above points are the cornerstone principles of invisible tourism as they aim to minimise our tourist footprint in local communities.
It means we can enjoy discovering new, exciting destinations while knowing we’re doing our best to preserve the local culture, rather than diluting or destroying it.
As a travel writer, I wish to be seen as part of the solution, not part of the problem!
My Travel Philosophy: Quality over Quantity
To really get the most out of a destination, I believe quality over quantity is key. Learning some basics of the local language and being your own tour guide whilst exploring at a relaxed pace allows for a deeper understanding of a destination that can’t be covered in a fleeting visit.
Personally, I thrive on discovering what makes a city and its people tick, admire architecture from centuries long gone and will always strive to achieve an authentic local experience where possible to help local jobs and businesses.
Staying in a hotel and travelling with a suitcase rather than a backpack doesn’t have to mean you’re disconnected from these things (which many people seem to think)! I’m hoping to break this stereotype through my guides and itineraries.
I like to give back to locals in other ways by shopping where they do and supporting jobs through booking local activities directly, rather than the large tour companies where the money doesn’t trickle back down to the community.
My Travel Style: Mid-Range, Responsible Travel
Since 2008, my travel style has been comprised of two parts:
1. Travelling with a mid-range budget
In terms of budget, I’m a mid-range traveller as I tend to steer away from low-budget style accommodation like hostels. I don’t use cost comparison websites to score the cheapest flights. On the other end of the spectrum, I don’t stay in full-blown luxury accommodation either. You’ll find me in the middle.
Travelling in a sustainable way is not always the cheapest option, and I believe as tourists it’s a price we are obligated to pay as a guest in a foreign destination.I prefer to book direct flights to my destinations 99% of the time despite any extra cost, rather than opting for multiple cheaper flights that take longer. I prefer to spend that extra time exploring!
My mission on every trip I undertake is to slow down at my destination, take it all in and truly enjoy the experience whilst getting the most bang-for-buck. I constantly encourage my friends to do so, too!
Here’s a complete list of all the mid-range travel resources I use (and refuse to use) when planning my travels.
2. Travelling independently or as a small, sustainable group
I can also be defined as a responsible traveller as always strive to blend in as much as possible amongst locals when travelling in order not to contribute to overtourism issues (which is why I won’t use Airbnb and use these ethical alternatives instead), so I will usually travel independently with a travel buddy or on my own.
When recommending travel options to others I won’t always rule out a small, organised tour group in certain circumstances – when time is very limited and there is too much to see. Small, locally-run group tours help your tourist money go directly back into the local community, where larger tours tend not to.
In saying that, I have travelled as part of a large tour group twice. On my first trip to Europe, which was a huge learning curve and turning point in the development of my travel style and again a few years later on a cruise of the Greek Islands and Turkey. To be completely honest, I would not travel on another large cruise again because of the negative consequences these are having in European port cities.
Although usually a cheap option, travelling as part of a large tour group is not a sustainable option in this age of overtourism, so I would no longer partake or encourage them.
Summing up The Invisible Tourist
When I’m not travelling, I’m dreaming about it. When I’m not dreaming about it, I’m talking about it. This blog is my ikigai, the Japanese word translating to “a reason for being.” It’s the reason I wake up each day and why love doing what I do.
You could say I’m a little bit obsessed with finding out more about this wonderful world we live in, and my mission is to spread as much awareness about the benefits of “blending in” to help best preserve the cultures of the places we visit.
Finally, as I’ve already mentioned you won’t see a picture of me because, well, I like to remain invisible! Remember you can follow along on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest for your regular travel fixes and travel advice from a unique perspective.
Thanks for visiting and I truly hope everything you find on my blog, in my book and related social media channels helps you “be invisible” on your next trip.
Hope to see you again soon,