8 Types of Travellers You’ll Meet on the Road

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 Instant Best Friend
You will know you’ve met this traveler because five minutes after meeting, they will already have your cell number, e-mail, Skype username, and sent a Facebook friend request your way. This “instant friendship” is usually a result of being from the same country or happening to be traveling in the exact route as one another. Proceed to spend every waking moment with this person until you are finally able to rid of them by packing and switching to another hostel in the middle of the night. In other cases, you two might end up as life-long best friends.


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.


The Hot Foreigner Who Doesn’t Speak Your Language
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.


The Gap Yearers 
Usually British, Irish, Australian, or Canadian, these travelers are commonly found in groups of four or more, with the sole traveling purpose of getting wasted every night. They permanently smell of booze and their drunken singing can be heard in every room in the hostel. While they can be annoying for the still jet-lagged traveller, they never stay at one place for too long, opting for a new party destination every few days or so. If you enjoy a good party, you’re in luck as they tend to be a friendly bunch and will embrace you with open arms. Just be sure you can handle your alcohol as they will try to drink you under the table.


  1. February 21, 2011 / 3:48 pm

    Oh the hot foreigner who does not speak my language… and somehow it makes them all the hotter!

  2. February 22, 2011 / 3:32 am

    I love this!… I found an Afrikaans boy and it has lasted three years 🙂 Gotta love the accent haha. And, in my travels, I have seen all of the above, whether you love them or you hate them, almost everyone you meet while travelling can be plopped into one of the above categories!

    I'm loving this blog more and more 🙂


  3. February 22, 2011 / 4:25 am

    Awesome post! I wish I had spent more time traveling before now. I've been to all 50 of the United States, but aside from a brief jaunt to Canada, have no out-of-country experience.

  4. February 22, 2011 / 10:16 am

    My hostel experiences are relegated to New Zealand, but still, you're right on.

  5. February 22, 2011 / 12:46 pm

    Too funny, but all true.

  6. February 22, 2011 / 11:50 pm

    haha. I love this! It's so true.

    a girl who dreams

  7. February 23, 2011 / 5:08 am

    Haha! Of course I've met all of them over the years … but did you know there's a 'Grey Nomad' version of each of them as well?? Who says traveller clichea are just for the young!!

  8. February 23, 2011 / 10:27 am

    Jenna – yes, I've been keeping up with your blog as well! I love your stories and think you two are so cute! plus it doesn't hurt that South Africans are quite the attractive bunch 🙂

    C- It's great that you've travelled all over your country – I've never met anyone who has been to all 50 states! I should do that more since I've only been in 2 (out of 10) provinces in Canada!

    Andrew – You'll definitely find travellers from all over in NZ 🙂

    Ryan – Thanks!

    A Girl Who Dreams – Yes, hope you encountered the better ones on the list! 🙂

    Red Nomad OZ – ahh the Grey Nomad…you're right! I have met some pretty cool older folks. They always have lots of stories to share about their years of travels 🙂

  9. February 24, 2011 / 5:47 pm

    This is very accurate. Haha I relate way to much to the traveler who shouldn't be traveling 😀
    I did that with skype 😀

  10. February 26, 2011 / 7:59 am

    this is so funny!! I have a South African too…ahahah they are quite fun!! 🙂

  11. March 2, 2011 / 3:24 pm

    I always have a laugh at your posts 🙂 The first bad specimen is very frequent, and good to look at much better than the old traveler or the high guy) at least …
    I've come across all of them, but would not hang out with many 😀

  12. March 6, 2011 / 11:55 pm

    I see a bit of myself in some of these kinds of travelers, and it made me laugh out loud. Good job on coordinating this. I actually wrote some blogs about my adventures in Australia, if you wanted to check them out.

  13. March 29, 2011 / 9:55 pm

    hahaha so true!!!!
    this is great

  14. April 12, 2011 / 10:36 pm

    I just found your blog today and I love it so far. I'm doing some research before traveling on my own. I'm thinking next Spring. I love this kind of information. I've read the books etc. but they don't talk about THIS kind of stuff. Love it. Though, I'm afraid I'll end up being the traveler that doesn't need to be traveling. Ha!

  15. July 4, 2011 / 10:05 pm

    This was a very entertaining read. I can relate especially to the creepy old man category. Once when I was in Salta, Argentina an old man who spoke hardly a word of English came into the dorm at night and stripped down to nothing without covering himself up with a blanket. It wasn't the kind of peep show my friend and I had in mind!

  16. July 10, 2011 / 4:23 pm

    OMG so true! I love this list haha my favorite is the 'The Hot Foreigner Who Doesn't Speak Your Language' part. Thank God there is body language =))

    My first time here and i am a new fan! 😀

  17. July 16, 2011 / 1:42 am

    I think we should give the old guys a break. I am a travel junky I will beg borrow or steal to travel. I have overdrafted my checking account $2000 and maxed out my cards so i could continue traveling. I am scared that I might become that old guy some day because I love traveling so freakin much woooohooooo

  18. July 16, 2011 / 1:51 am

    I think we should give the old guys a break. I am a travel junky I will beg borrow or steal to travel. I have overdrafted my checking account $2000 and maxed out my cards so i could continue traveling. I am scared that I might become that old guy some day because I love traveling so freakin much woooohooooo

  19. Anonymous
    August 2, 2011 / 5:52 pm

    Hahahaaha…..so funny. But I did not meet the Stoner/Hippie/Bob Marley guy in my travels. I met him and his band of merry men at University. they were constantly stoned every time I saw them.

  20. September 9, 2011 / 1:07 pm

    Great post ! I have not met The Stoner/Hippie/Bob Marley Fan yet.

  21. September 23, 2011 / 1:45 am

    hahaha! i was laughing while reading your post. they're all true, though some of them are kinda stereotypical.

  22. Anonymous
    November 17, 2011 / 6:47 am

    nice blog!

    keep it up!

  23. October 15, 2012 / 10:34 pm

    This is great… hahaha….
    My favourites are definitely the Creepy Old Man, The Hot Foreigner Who Doesn’t Speak Your Language (Polish/Arabic/Turkish/Italian etc etc etc!!!) and Traveller Who Shouldn’t Be Traveling.

    So true!

  24. Birte
    January 8, 2013 / 8:31 pm


    I’ve met the first one a lot in Cairo! That’s quite funny because it’s not so usual to find topless men/women in public there. But once inside the hostel there are countless white Western men just in shorts :O

    I used to make jokes about them so I’m very delighted to find them here as a category.

  25. June 12, 2013 / 11:17 pm

    Haha, this is way, way way way too funny! I’ve definitely met a few of these on my travels.

  26. January 25, 2014 / 4:03 pm

    Had so much fun reading this post….while reading you can really see this people and how it would be to hang out with them.

  27. February 18, 2014 / 2:01 am

    That was a sweet list Michelle!
    Had me right from the start with the faux underwear model haha.
    As an Aussie I can definitely relate to the gap years one and also the weird stoner guy, those two have been the most prevalent on my travels so far.

    I am always aware of the instant best friend, they are the real crazies

    Great post….even though it was a while ago


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