The saying goes, “be a traveller, not a tourist”.
Tourist? *sees you cringe*. Let’s be honest, these days no one likes being labelled a “tourist”. Everyone wants to be known as a “traveller”, even if they can only count on one hand the number of times they’ve been abroad.
But why? What defines each? And why did I name my blog after something so supposedly undesirable?
Differences between Tourist vs Traveller
Generally speaking, there are 7 main stereotypical differences between “tourist” vs “traveller”:
You see, with many of us splashing our travel adventures all over social media, truth be told I think “travellers” have become a bit snobby.
There, I said it.
What do “travellers” have against staying in a nice hotel? Why is it mandatory to survive for months with only a backpack containing a small selection of clothing? It’s not cool to take photos in front of landmarks anymore unless you use a selfie stick?
Yes, we all value different things. But what’s to say things “travellers” value are automatically better than what “tourists” do?
The reality is: If we’ve travelled out of our hometown we’ve all been a “tourist” at some point. Being a visitor in a foreign place does that to a person whether we’d like to admit it or not!
I’m not sure why but many things tourists value are considered negative traits. This is why so many travel bloggers use words like “traveller, wanderer, vagabond” and the like. No one wants to be known as a “tourist”.
Downsides to being a “traveller”
If some “tourist” traits are considered negative, why not expose the many downsides to being a “traveller” that people just don’t like to talk about? I’ve explained the disadvantages of other traveller stereotypes here that many of us may mumble under our breath but dare not say out loud when we encounter these people during our travels.
After saying all that (and if I haven’t bored you to death), you might be wondering where I fit here and where you fit, too.
Why we shouldn’t mind calling ourselves a “tourist”
If you’ve found my blog maybe you also value the niceties of being a “tourist” as mentioned in the table above. If we’re going to all the effort to embark on a trip we want the entire experience to be enjoyable without having to slum it, right? 😉 But we also enjoy combining these touristy traits with personalised, authentic experiences that travellers have while digging deep into the history of the attractions we visit to fully appreciate them. What else sets us apart?
- We like eating in nice restaurants on occasion as well as where locals do to give back to the local community;
- We like having an organised itinerary yet being our own tour guide and exploring at our own pace (and meeting locals along the way);
- We take public transport to support local jobs and get a genuine taste of local life;
- We like bringing our suitcases so we have enough room for a range of clothing options and hand-crafted souvenirs to support local jobs (and if we’re Australian, chances are we will travel to a destination for a few weeks or more at a time because it takes so bloody long to get anywhere in the world!);
- We like visiting the touristy sights (they’re famous for a reason) as well as wandering off the beaten track…
Are you ready to break the mould?
Tourist vs Traveller: Travel doesn’t have to be black or white
Therefore, I’m not your stereotypical tourist but an invisible one. I like to blend in with locals but stay in that hotel. Have an organised itinerary but be my own tour guide. Eat where locals do and get to know them. And maybe you do as well!
Tourist vs Traveller. I don’t see why we are forced into being one or the other. Travel doesn’t have to be black or white. There are overlaps, this is why I created my blog with the name I did.
So, let’s challenge these stereotypes and create a NEW label for this hybrid explorer – The Invisible Tourist.
Do you agree? What gets on your nerves about travel styles? Let me know in the comments below! If you’re an Invisible Tourist too, come and join our family over on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest 😃 hope to see you soon!
Until next time,
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