After many months of traveling, it became obvious that there are two distinct types of tourist in the world. There is the tourist who has everything meticulously listed and daily itineraries planned out according to their guidebooks, and there is the tourist who goes where the wind blows and assesses things as they come along. However even the most prudent traveler has the potential to be an un-average tourist by simply adopting the following qualities essential for every great adventure.

Be impulsive

Sometimes the best decisions in life are the ones you make spontaneously. Your head might tell you the idea sounds impossible and in the end you succumb to bouts of sleeplessness at night mulling over your ‘crazy’ idea. This idea might be just to go bungee jumping, or it might be a far-fetched as taking your scooter around the world. The mind has a knack for over-rationalizing and usually it’s better to just listen to your heart. Don’t deny what your subconscious is telling you. Pay attention to your feelings, stop thinking and just do it.

Be brave

Lone travelers especially require copious amounts of courage for their journey. When traveling alone, you are inevitably taken out of your comfort zone and thrown into many intimidating situations which you aren’t used to. This may range from having to approach people whose language you don’t speak, or just to check out a curious bar that you’ve accidentally stumbled upon. But some extra guts are all you need to face these challenges and eventually you will find yourself with more interesting stories to tell your friends when you get home.

Be rebellious

Doing the opposite of what most people recommend may send you on exciting escapades beyond your wildest dreams. Listening to the majority means you will be doing exactly what everyone else has already done. Where is the adventure in that? Don’t be boring. Occasionally it’s fun to be the wildcard and do something completely unorthodox, such as camping in the desert or couchsurfing across Europe. However do remember to be safe while scheming your rebellious adventures.

Be independent

It’s a good idea to rely on no one but yourself when traveling. People will help you when you get stuck but it’s always better to know you will be able to look after yourself in any circumstance. There will be times when cities will not be so friendly and those are the times when you need to be in charge. Always do your own research when it comes to accommodation and transport so you know exactly what to do if there are any changes or delays. This way you control your own fate and will be able to make alternative (but equally exciting) plans should the need arise.

Be remarkable

Being an un-average tourist might require some if not all of the above, but the rewards are well worth the effort. These qualities will bring you to lands you once only dreamed of and you will find yourself doing things you once only gasped at. Go on. What type of tourist do you want to be?

Your thoughts on "How to be an un-average tourist"

  • excellent advice!

    on July 28, 2009 at 10:21 am Reply
  • yay . this is me . an unaverage traveller ...... have you seen my webpage, blog or book?? cheers Heather

    on July 28, 2009 at 7:29 pm Reply
  • Hi Heather, we appreciate your comments, but blatant commercial or self-promotional comments like this one will get you sent to the spam heap. Please add something to the conversation and if people are interested in what you have to say, they can follow your link.

    on July 29, 2009 at 12:07 am Reply
  • Ah Lonely Planet and Rough Guide, your are the scourge of spontaneity! How many times did it take me to break free of your margins, worried that I wouldn't find the cleanest and cheapest place to sleep! Good article, Stephanie! Thanks!

    on July 29, 2009 at 7:25 pm Reply
  • Thanks for the tips, I will try to implant this in a trip to Cancun and dive, dive and dive! check this! many thanks!

    on August 8, 2009 at 3:38 am Reply
  • Hi Stephanie Good article. It is so easy to get caught up in the flow of following even though you don't mean to. Especially when you are doing the milk run While it's always good to have some sort of plan to go with, your mode of transportation can often determine how much you deviate away from being un-average Happy Travels Pops

    on August 13, 2009 at 7:40 pm Reply
  • Really good advice. It's way too easy to fall into the same routine and route as every other backpacker. Taking the less-traveled road is easy if you just remember to look for it.

    on February 6, 2010 at 3:02 am Reply
  • Nice article! I plan to take this advice to heart as I tend to overplan sometimes... ;) Thanks for the wake-up call! :D

    on March 29, 2010 at 3:14 pm Reply
  • Being an avid traveler myself, and a coordinator for my clients, I cannot agree with you more. The key for me has, and will continue to be, to ensure you are with a friend or friends when you embark on your spontaneous explorations. Always ensure you have some way of contacting people of importance to you, should you find yourself in a "dark place". Although, rare, on occasion, you may find that person you met on the beach, or bar is a less than ideal companion, or the home he/she invited you too appears unsafe. Use all of your senses. Often the sense of smell will be the last senses used when considering fear or threat. If you learn to smell threat then you can often avoid the situation. Another great article and thanks.

    on April 14, 2010 at 8:56 pm Reply
  • Hey guys, fantastic post! Does sum up what it takes to become a better traveller. I find that quite often people aspire to be an 'un-average' tourist by citing their experiences and places they've been to, sometimes akin to collectors in a Pokemon party. They brag, make up stories, always seeking to outmatch other people's 'list of countries visited', flash out photos with a my-camera-is-better-than-yours attitude. I guess to become an un-average tourist one must also aspire to a humble traveller, who appreciates how small their footsteps are but yet retain the pride of having been/seen/done much of the world. Travellers can continue to add gold stars in their sticker books and flash their travel portfolio, but that mustn't be prioritised over self-reflection and character development.

    on August 4, 2010 at 9:07 pm Reply
  • Good point, Dylan. Thanks for adding your voice.

    on August 6, 2010 at 4:01 am Reply

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