Similar to the unfortunate abundance of self-obsessed hipsters readily found in art schools, to the socially awkward and perpetually single accountants at any given corporate firm, you are likely to meet travellers who also fall into very distinct categories when backpacking. While most travellers tend to be fun individuals, there are also the ones that you try to avoid at all costs. Here is my list of some of the most common types of travellers on the road.
How many have you met?
Mr. Aspiring Underwear Model
This is the guy who happens to be blessed with good genetics but unfortunately flaunts it off whenever possible by walking around the hostel sans shirt. They seem to have a great hatred toward shirts in general as they have a never-ending list of excuses to take it off whenever possible. These might include the hot weather, being too drunk, or that all their clothes are in the laundry. Their shirtlessness is obviously to make other male travelers feel self-conscious of the state of their own abs, and for them to sleep with as many girls as possible.
The Stoner/Hippie/Bob Marley Fan
Usually Canadian, Swiss, or South African, these guys are often seen wearing a bandana, or sport dreadlocks. Although they may smell a bit funky, they are really laid-back and enjoy spending all their nights getting high on the patio of the hostel, listening to Bob Marley, or playing music on their guitar. They have a deep disdain for anything corporate and would like to think of their travels as a journey for spiritual or self enlightenment.
The Creepy Old Man
This is the significantly older man who speaks very little English, and seems to be permanently living in the hostel. You don’t understand why they enjoy being in the company of rowdy 20-something backpackers and gives you a creepy feeling when you are in the room alone with them. They are usually seen late at night lurking in the bar downstairs, and while you have never caught them in the act, you’ve heard enough “old man with video camera in a dark hostel room with girls” stories to request for a room change immediately.
The Pair in Love
There are two types of couples: the existing couple who decided to travel together and the ones who met on the road. The former tend to argue constantly and usually result in a break-up after cheating on one another for the suave Frenchman or the sexy Brazilian. (They will make-up before returning home). The latter are not seen very frequently as they are hidden somewhere, most likely indulging in hot sex somewhere in the hostel or sharing a milkshake on a street-side cafe.
You spot each other from afar and instantly felt a connection. When the opportunity finally comes to talk to each other, you are mortified that neither of you understands what the other is trying to say. This will usually lead to a never-ending game of charades and possibly some heated make-out sessions as you curse yourself for not learning Swedish/Icelandic/Afrikaans, etc in high school.
The Traveler Who Shouldn’t be Traveling
They are often always seen alone and for good reason. They seem to have no sense of geography or basic history and are the ones who confuse Austria with Australia. Having not done any research, they will also frequently ask to borrow your voltage converter and map of the city. They also constantly complain about how expensive everything is, while racking up enormous internet bills by Skyping with friends back home, presumably telling them how much fun they’re having.