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”:

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? 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?

🔵🔵 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


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. 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!

  3. Finally! An honest article about this tourist vs traveller issue. I’m tired of feeling lame and guilty about doing touristy things in my travels. We do our own things. We shouldn’t feel bad about our choices. The point is we choose to GO.

    • Alyse, The Invisible Tourist
      Alyse, The Invisible Tourist Reply

      I’m glad you agree, Alma! I don’t understand why “travellers” try and make others feel bad for doing some touristy things. After all, these attractions are famous for a reason! The only thing people should feel guilty about is going to a well-known attraction, snapping 100 selfies out the front, posting it on social media then leaving without even going inside or knowing the history behind the attraction. This is becoming all too common, unfortunately. I hope you keep travelling and doing things for yourself! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  4. I agree with everything you said! I really hate it how travelers consider themselves better than tourists, and actually I hate the distinction in the first place. Everybody who travels for leisure and getting to know another city/country/region/culture is a tourist by definition. And just like you said, what’s wrong with nice hotels? I’d pay a nice hotel every time if I had the means, and just because I like my privacy I’m not any worse than anyone else who chooses something else. Nor is anyone else worse than me. We travel to learn and become aware of our differences, yet some people cannot get over the fact that not everyone likes to travel the way they do. Ugh!

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