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 differences between “tourist” vs “traveller”:

Tourist vs Traveller
The 7 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.

Ooooh 😧

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?

🔵🔵 RELATED: Traveller Stereotypes: What’s an Invisible Tourist? (Part 1)

Astronomical Clock & Old Town Square, Prague
I was greeted with awe-inspiring view each day in Prague, just a few steps from my hotel. What’s the point in staying far away from the action?

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”.

Tourists at Park Güell, Barcelona
Tourists at Park Güell, Barcelona

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? Here I’ve explained the disadvantages of other traveller stereotypes 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;
•  We like bringing our suitcases so we have enough room for a range of clothing options and souvenirs;
•  We like having an organised itinerary yet being our own tour guides and exploring at our own pace;
•  We like visiting the touristy sights as well as wandering off the beaten track…

Are you ready to break the mould?

🔵🔵 RELATED: About Me: Your Mid-Range Travel Expert

Tourists lining up to get into the Vatican Museum, Vatican City
Tourists lining up to get into the Vatican Museum, Vatican City

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,

The Invisible Tourist






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 Tourist vs Traveller Differences

The Invisible Tourist

Alyse has spent 9 years travelling "The Invisible Tourist Way" and hopes to encourage fellow travellers to do so, too. A professional language hoarder, she can usually be found burying herself in travel books and Wikipedia articles sipping a good hot chocolate. Her dreams? Always about the next destination and how to make the most of the experience.


  1. I’ve never understood the point of this debate. Travel the way you want. Why would anyone care what someone else thinks about the way they experience the world?

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      I agree, Henry. Travel seems to have become a bit competitive these days! Everyone has different values and this is ok. The main thing is that people are travelling and experiencing new things 😊 Thanks for your comment, I love your blog by the way!

  2. True! Sometimes we never think about these things but honestly speaking traveler sounds good. Rather I would like to be known outside as a solo traveler . Thanks for sharing the blog!

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      Good for you, Arif. Keep travelling and thanks for your comment!

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