It’s not just friends you’ll meet traveling the world. There are a few different travel types to watch out for when you go traveling and a handful of oddballs out there too.
Can you spot some people you’ve met during your travels in this list? Or maybe even yourself?
1. Budget Traveler
If you love travel then you’ll be well used to budget travel. Most of us have a budget to stick to when we’re traveling and it’s usually a small one if you’re young, or if you’ve got kids of your own.
Sometimes the budget might run a bit low at the end of your travels if you overspent at the beginning or underestimated the travel costs. On the odd occasion you might end up running out of money all together or end up in a bit of a pickle with nowhere to stay because all the budget accommodation is fully booked. That happened to me once and I ended up wrapped in kitchen towels for warmth and free sleeping in Munich, Germany during the Oktober Fest. I don’t recommend it.
But apart from such extreme cases being a budget traveler is perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed off. Just as long as you’re not a tight arse traveler.
2. Tight Arse Traveler
According to the Urban Dictionary a tight arse is “Australian slang for someone who is so careful with money they are like raccoons with acorns.”
The Tight Arse Traveler leaves home with a minute budget. They eek out every centimos and brag that they’ve been living in India spending just 85 rupees a day by eating only rice and fruit.
They are scruffy, dour and malnourished. Like the female German cyclist the Mucho Man and I met who was cycling round New Zealand’s South Island. It poured for an entire week so we were marooned with her at a campsite near Fiordland in torrential rain.
She slept in a tiny tent and spent the days in the communal kitchen trying to warm up and dry off. She told us that to save money she never used campsite washing machines or clothes driers.
She explained that she washed her clothes by hand and put them on wet in the morning then, come evening, they were dry again thanks to her body heat.
Being a human clothes drier didn’t look or sound like much fun to me, so while budget travel is fine make sure you don’t overstep the line and become a tight arse traveler.
3. Gone NativeTraveler
These travelers have been in one place or country for over a month. They usually speak a smattering of the language, know a few locals and know their way round. Sometimes they think they own the place and maintain an air of superiority over other travelers.
Gone Native Travelers don local garb or hippy traveler clothes, often involving bright colors and weaving, they picked up on the road. I’ve committed this travel faux pas many times wearing a traditional sinh in Laos most days when I was working in the capital Vientiane teaching English to customs officers.
Lao sinhs are one long piece of dense silk heavily embroidered in a deep stripe across the bottom. The rectangle of material is sewn into a circle then folded over at the waist to create a skirt with the embroidery at the bottom. It not only fits everyone and suits all but assures modesty when cycling or scooting round Vientiane.
That wasn’t an isolated incident either – check out the photo me in local Indian garb in Why do People Love to Travel?
Guilty as charged.
4. Gone Troppo
These travelers have been in one place or country for over six months and it’s sent them a bit batty.
They don’t hang out much in the travel scene any more so you might not run into them too often and even if you do you probably wouldn’t realize they were a traveler and not a local.
When we first arrived in India we were picked up at Delhi Airport by our friend who’d been traveling in India and Pakistan for six months. With dark eyes and Mediterranean skin Pete the Plank as we called him was clad top to toe in a grubby beige Pakistani traditional outfit of baggy trousers and long overshirt which made him almost unrecognizable.
If he hadn’t been staring at me so intensely I mightn’t have recognized him at all.
Looking back I almost wish I hadn’t because Pete was a classic Gone Troppo traveler and not a happy camper either.
Sometimes the fun runs out of travel and when that happens it’s time to move on or go home.
5. Dodgy Traveler
Some people travel to see the world and others to avoid being seen. Some may be traveling to get away from home after scrapes with the law, unpaid taxes or criminal convictions.
Like the British man I met in a bar in Miami who told me he’d spent time inside then wondered why I wasn’t interested in his persistent romantic advances.
Then in Fiji I met a young American traveler staying at a backpacker’s island resort who claimed that he was there to buy a Fijian island then mysteriously had to be evicted from the resort for unpaid accommodation, food and bar bills.
Every female traveler on the island instantly knew he was dodgy because, although he was a bit of a looker, his pick up line of guessing your star sign then wowing you with his tales about buying a Fijian island were so ludicrous they made every woman run a mile.
It’s a shame the locals find it harder to pick up on dodgy travelers though.
6. Hypochondriac Traveler
Spotting yarns spun by dodgy travelers can be fun but hanging out with a hypochondriac traveler isn’t.
They will regale you with detailed accounts of their rashes, back aches and tummy problems, then refuse to drink anything except rehydration salts. They will grill every waiter at length about the contents of their meal then, when it arrives pick at it aimlessly or send it back.
Their bottle of hand desanitiser gets a regular working out as you work out how to escape their clutches.
7. Scheduled Traveler
The Scheduled Traveler has spent months planning their trip. They want to see and do as much as they can in the given time and will not alter their schedule come hell or high water.
No room for spontaneity and a grueling schedule often makes the scheduled traveler grumpy, especially if local transport isn’t as regular as it is in their home country.
8. Party Animal
Party Animals flock in large crowds to party hot spots. They stick together in a group and even if they do get off the long-nights-partying-sleep-all-day cycle, it’s only to go to the beach and start drinking early in the hot sun.
Some destinations have been ruined by party animals like Majorca in Spain which is overrun with British party animals, Bali by Australians and Florida or Mexico by young Americans.
It’s fun to party but it’s tiring and one-dimensional to hang out with party animals all the time.
9. Trust Fund Baby
The trust fund baby is having a lovely time traveling the world with money being no obstacle. Despite being a bit directionless they can be fun to hang out with if you can afford to keep up with them by spending it up large every day and at every meal.
They’ve probably been on all the tours the budget travelers can’t afford and might be studying the local language or art so they have another string to their bow when they go back home to mummy and daddy.
10. Love Sick Traveler
This type of traveler is pining for the girlfriend or boyfriend they left at home. They spend a lot of time emailing or calling them and talk to them as often as possible.
When not talking to their far flung love they are talking about them. Usually wondering what they are up to or wishing they were here. Yawn.
So watch out for these travel types and take time to talk with them when you’re traveling the world.
While they may not end up becoming lifelong travel friends they should give you a few good travel stories and keep your love of travel alive when you get home again.
The diverse people you meet on the road are often the most amazing thing about travel – and even the oddballs make you want to keep on traveling.
Have you met any of these types of traveler while traveling? Or maybe you have another travel type to add?