Staying in hostels is a lot like going to summer camp – but for adults. Budget-conscious dorm rooms, communal spaces with questionable levels of sanitation, and an eclectic mix of people who occupy these havens are all part of the charm of travelling. And while every hostel is unique, the troops of travellers that pass through their doors tend to fall into distinct categories. We know that it can be hard to meet new people at first, so we’ve created a “Who’s Who” cheat sheet of hostel life to start you off on the right foot. Here are 10 of the most common types of travellers you’ll meet on your next backpacking trip.
He can usually be found in common areas strumming away at the strings of his travel-worn, sticker-adorned guitar. Remember that he fought for its place in the overhead bin on his last RyanAir flight, held it on his lap on the local bus ride, and carried it on the long walk to the hostel, all so he could sit there and provide melodious tunes for the rest of the group. Sure, you can request a song – as long as it’s Wonderwall by Oasis.
Guaranteed to have highlighted, post-it-noted and dog-eared his way through Europe with his trusty Lonely Planet bible. Useful when you need ziplock bags, plasters and currency conversion calculators, he’s got it all hyper-organized and meticulously packed. The Man With A Plan is a great person to see the city with since he knows all the sites, but don’t expect him to adapt to your schedule – his is already booked for the next three months.
Ever wanted to visit Australia? Just go to Europe. The Australian sub-continent has a population of only 24-million people, but it’s well known in the traveller community that half the Aussie population is abroad at any given time. How do we know? Because they’re everywhere. EVERYWHERE.
Tanned, loud and bucket hats of fun, The Aussie is your go-to guy for finding the party (ignore The Man With A Plan, he has no idea). They’re easy to find – look for the girl drinking breakfast beers and chirpsing The Guy Who Brought His Guitar.
Even the hostel staff has forgotten how long he’s been around for. In fact you thought he was working here – and he might as well be. He knows the wifi password by heart, has his own shelf in the kitchen and can give you the insider scoop on when the best time to shower is. Make friends with The Long-Term Resident and master hostel living with ease.
This person wakes up refreshed and ready to take on the day and just doesn’t understand why people who travel are so grumpy all the time. He is The Snorer. Destined to be loathed and ostracized by all. If his sleep apnea doesn’t kill him, the 12 people he shares a room with will.
It can be hard to keep all of your belongings folded neatly all the time, and sometimes your possessions can scatter pretty far away from your stuff sacks, you admit. But you’ll never be as messy as The One Who Treats The Dorm Like His Bedroom. Easily distinguished by having nothing actually IN his backpack, his jocks will be spread all over the room – including your bed. He enjoys walking around in only a towel, doing sink laundry and using communal spaces to hang his semi-wrung out shirts, and is the master of sneaking snacks into the dorm room. He’s usually accompanied by The Girl Who Hogs The Outlets For All Of Her Electronics.
The token old guy, much like The Aussie, can be found in every hostel setting. Find him dressed in khakis, beer in hand, as he tells us how much we’re addicted to our phones (he’s right) and how much better travelling in the 80s was (still right). He’s been to every continent, travelled through almost every popular destination and has stories that even The Guy Who Brought His Guitar will stop and listen to. Listen and learn. Just don’t ask him questions about his past or politics. You might not like the answer.
There’s always that one dick. Enough said.
You hope beyond hope you don’t get one of them as a bunk mate because you know they’re going to end up in the same bed anyways, which begs the question, why didn’t they get a private room…? The travelling couple can be found holding hands, sharing everything and taking #FollowMeTo photos and you can’t decide if you’re jealous or repulsed. All you know for sure is it’s too hot to sleep with a sheet, let alone another person in this dorm room right now.
Bright-eyed and lively, The Gap Year Traveller usually travels in a pack. Sporting colourful bracelets from festivals and bar crawls up both wrists, The Gap Year Travellers never seem to catch a hangover, much to the chagrin of The Old Dude who’s desperately trying to keep up. Never one to miss free breakfast, the Gap Year Traveller is up before the rest of the dorm, even after drinking until 4am. Oh to be youthful again.
These are only some of the colourful characters you’ll meet when staying in a hostel. Did we forget your favourite? Let us know! For more information about our accommodation and packages options just head to our before you go section! If you’re not sure hostels are for you why not check out our ultimate Europe trip guide to find out more about how to plan your europe trip, how to travel around and where to stay.
Words by Sam Lego – check out her twitter @samanthalego to read more!