Traveller Stereotypes: What's an Invisible Tourist? | The Invisible Tourist

Purely incorporating too much of one stereotype into your travel style can put a huge limitation on the type of experience you have and how you are perceived by others.

So you’ve read Part 1 of my Traveller Stereotypes series where we outlined eight different types of explorers by examining the positives, negatives and overall thoughts associated with each travel style.

If you’re reading this I’m sure you’re interested in discovering how The Invisible Tourist fits amongst these stereotypes and how we manage to solve tricky traveller problems.

Ok, so what is an Invisible Tourist?

An Invisible Tourist can best be described a hybrid traveller. The trick is to combine the positives mentioned previously in Part 1 whilst eliminating most of the negatives to create the ultimate adventure. I’ve explained in more detail here why I named my blog “The Invisible Tourist”.

Let’s get into what sets us apart from the other traveller stereotypes:

Why we aren’t Instatourists

Ensuring we are efficient and respectful of others whilst exploring means we have a wonderful collection of photos to reminisce with although no one really noticed us taking them.

Traveller Stereotypes: What's an Invisible Tourist? | The Invisi
Efficient and respectful: We prefer not to clamber over rocks, elbow others or get in the way of other travellers’ photos

Why we aren’t Alcoholidayers

We revel in a city’s nightlife all in moderation for the sake of maximising our precious exploration time instead of wasting the next day recovering from a vicious hangover.

Why we aren’t Competitravellers

Visiting many new and contrasting destinations will always be exciting for us but we want to experience each to their absolute fullest and at our own preferred pace, even if this means revisiting the same cities numerous times (I’ve visited a few cities in both summer and winter to experience life in the different seasons).

Mount Pilatus, Switzerland: Summer vs Winter
Mount Pilatus, Switzerland: Summer vs Winter

We aren’t shy to learn necessary phrases of the local language as this is key to blending into a crowd.

Why we aren’t Freedom Campers

We adore the free sights and activities a city has to offer but are also delighted to spend our hard-earned money on tickets to museums, shows, art galleries, adventure activities (helicopter flights are so addictive) and the like as we crave enriching our experience as much as possible.

We’ll also find the fastest way to get from A to B even if it’s the most expensive option because we appreciate our time is limited.

Helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, NV, United States
Helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, NV, United States. An unforgettable experience!

Why we aren’t Luxe Lovers

We aren’t shy to learn necessary phrases of the local language as this is key to blending into a crowd. Often we are mistaken for locals which allows us to meet real locals and help other travellers.

Coming together to share knowledge about a city is beneficial for everyone! This is why I’m pretty sure I’m a language hoarder. Have you heard of these 6 essential resources to help you learn language for travel, fast? That post is where spill my language learning secrets!

Why we aren’t Tour Groupies

If we choose to, we have the ability to pack in as much as a tour group in a short timeframe as we are organised and efficient. Our prior knowledge about our destination(s) means we don’t need a tour guide to chaperon us around and lead us from attraction to attraction. We have more spending money due to our determination to avoid paying needless travel agent fees.

We have mastered the art of dodging pickpocketer’s scams due to our healthy dose of skepticism when we travel (if something seems too good to be true, it probably is).

Why we aren’t Backpackers

We are fond of our centrally located hotels and the privacy they provide after a long day of exploration and discovery in a foreign land. Sometimes the last thing we want to deal with is more people when we’re ready to collapse into our bed. Let’s not forget the luxury of someone else making our bed and collecting the little toiletries… You can never have too many!

Traveller Stereotypes: What's an Invisible Tourist? | The Invisible Tourist
Can you guess what these travellers are cramming up against each other to see?

Why we aren’t Hope-For-The-Besters

Constantly reading other traveller’s reviews and experiences on sites like TripAdvisor gives us the confidence to book everything ourselves and be as prepared as possible. I’ve written about why I love TripAdvisor here.

Organised but also flexible, we are open to changes and new opportunities on our journeys. We have mastered the art of dodging pickpocketer’s scams due to our healthy dose of skepticism when we travel (if something seems too good to be true, it probably is) and know the importance of remaining modest with our valuables in public places.

By following the pointers that set an Invisible Tourist apart from other travellers, it’s certainly possible to enjoy the numerous perks of being a visitor in a foreign place but not stand out as a tourist.

Japanese Convenience Store Treats
Japanese Convenience Store Treats

Concluding

Being an Invisible Tourist is all about creating the right kind of balance. By eating and shopping where locals do, we blend in with them as much a possible but we are just as happy to spend a few day’s pay dining at a fancy London restaurant or grabbing a few breakfast treats from a Japanese convenience store for a handful of yen.

Everyone has their own kind of travel style, and that’s ok. Everyone wants a different kind of travelling experience, and that’s ok too. We do what makes us happy but there are ways we could all improve on our travel experiences.

By following the pointers that sets an Invisible Tourist apart from other travellers, it’s certainly possible to enjoy the numerous perks of being a visitor in a foreign place but not stand out as a tourist. Purely incorporating too much of one stereotype into your travel style can put a huge limitation on the type of experience you have and how you are perceived by others. The best travel memories happen when you step outside your comfort zone and enjoy your experience to the absolute fullest!

Wow, you’ve read this far, thank you! What’s your travel style? Let me know on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok. If you enjoyed this two-part series please, I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions in the comments below too!

Until next time,

The Invisible Tourist

 

 

 

 

 


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Traveller Stereotypes: What's an Invisible Tourist? (Part 2) | The Invisible Tourist

 

8 Comments

  1. Interesting post, I do wonder about some things though. Such as how is it possible that a few phrases of the local language can ever help you be mistaken for a local, that sounds like witchcraft to me:) I’ve both traveled and was a local tourist guide in two countries for years, and to not recognize a non-native based on accent is just impossible.

    Nice article otherwise, but I’m not sure why is there the Astronomical clock crowd 3 times on one page^^

    1. Hi Jack!
      This is one of my first ever articles which is in dire need of an update 😅
      Learning a few local phrases is only one of the strategies I recommend to better “blend in” abroad.
      Even though visitors may not specifically look native, there are ways to not look like a stereotypical tourist which I’ve explained better here.
      I’m sure as a tourist guide you are already familiar with some 😊
      Thanks for reading!

      1. Hey Alyse, thanks for the reply:)
        And wow, 7 years old, did not even notice! Congratulations, you’ve had it running here for quite a while:) Don’t get me wrong, learning a bit of the language can go a long way, just the claim that someone could pass for a local because of that gave me a pause. Definitely can be useful though!

        Of course there’s the other side… there has been countless occasions for me where I asked a person something or answered in their native language, only for them unleashing a full on bombardment of words I had no clue of what they mean. That’s why I believe that the most useless phrase to say is “I’m sorry, I don’t speak -whatever-” in their native language, since the reply very often is “oh don’t worry, you speak quite well!”, followed by the previously mentioned bombardment.

        I’ll see you in another seven years! (or whenever I go to Japan, loved the articles about it).

        1. Thanks for your reply, Jack!
          Yes these days I would definitely word that part differently 😆
          Thank you for pointing it out and for your kind words, it’s greatly appreciated!

  2. I have so enjoyed exploring your website! I learned a lot about tourism pollution – especially in Japan – and you have inspired me to go out of my way to be even more invisible! Sustainability and sustainable tourism were subjects I took in college, but haven’t had much real-world experience with. Learning so much about how being “invisible” ties into sustainable tourism is wonderful. Thank you for your many, wonderful posts!

    1. Thank you for such a lovely compliment, Gray! If I’ve inspired you to become more “invisible” on your travels it means my blog is doing its job 🙂 I hope you get the chance to get the real-world experience you’re after soon and you enjoy being “invisible” on your next trip!

  3. Alyse, it was a pleasure to read this hillarious and creative description of traveller stereotypes. I completely agree and thankfully (hopefully) count myself in the invisible tourist category ?.
    A trip well planned is a trip enjoyed.
    Just discovered your blog but I’m addicted to it already.

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely compliment, Monica! So glad you enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek article and to hear you’re an Invisible Tourist, too! Completely agree about a trip well planned is a trip enjoyed 🙂

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