8 Types Of People You'll Meet While Travelling

"Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer": a sickeningly platitude courtesy of Instagram, but also so true. Whether you're walking the Camino de Santiago, touring Europe with an interrail pass, or backpacking across Central America, you'll come to realise that there are certain types of people who seem to cross your path repeatedly.

This list may appear a tad stereotypical, but bear in mind I don't mean all travellers you encounter will fit into these categories, but you will encounter these specific types of people (statistically speaking, if you travel for long enough, you'd have to). Besides, I generalise in the interest of science, if David Attenborough took a gap year to go interrailing, he'd make the exact same catalogue. Probably.

1. The Foulmouthed Australian

Approximately half of Australia's population seem to be travelling at any one time, so it's inevitable that you'll meet a few of them. They are usually recognisable by their standard issue uniform of a vest top, shorts and flip flops (or thongs as they call them, the old banter merchants). This group have a particular fondness for the C-word and despite its usual denotations to us, it possesses a plethora of meanings for these Antopodeans. For example, to be called a "good C-word" is a compliment of the highest order, ensuring you’ve become accepted by them completely. Whereas to be called a "shit C-word" is the worst insult imaginable on the entire C-word spectrum. They generally possess a quite sarcastic and abusive sense of humour and yet the majority are what we’d term "sound". Of course, all these brash and highly enthusiastic peeps can't all be as sound as a bell, and you will meet an absolute cunt on occasion.

2. The Loud American

As the great comedian and barstool philosopher Dylan Moran once said, Americans tend to have voices that carry quite well and you’re never in a position where you have to ask them, "What was that? Come again!" This of course makes it easier for them to recognise each other while abroad and impossible for us not to identify them. Apparently only about 10% of Americans have passports, so those you meet backpacking are generally more liberal-minded, free spirited and fun loving people to be around. In all fairness, they are usually a friendly bunch, although you may want to invest in some extra aspirin before hanging around with them.


3. The Surfer Dude

Known by their typical greeting of, "S'up brah." While travelling, you will be amazed to discover that this creature actually exists, and it's like discovering Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles actually exists. Along any Pacific coastal region in America or the Atlantic coast in Europe, you are guaranteed to encounter these typically blonde and/or dreadlocked, sun kissed individuals. Although they may be from anywhere (a large proportion are Australian again, they’re not just on Home and Away folks) they all seem to speak with a faux Southern Californian twang. Amazingly, they possess the ability to use words such as "gnarly" without a trace of irony. A generally benevolent bunch, but they may not be the sharpest tools in the box and their insistence on carrying their surfboards everywhere makes them a nuisance to all other users of public transport.

4. The ‘Friendly' Israeli

Upon finishing school, every Israeli citizen is obliged to complete two years of military service, after which they typically travel for a year before embarking on third level education or working full time, meaning that you are likely to meet huge swarms of them no matter where you are travelling. Individually they can be quite friendly and chatty but once they form their groups, entry for outsiders becomes impenetrable and you’re better off avoiding them. Shite craic in other words. Like their Aussie counterparts, they can also be identified by their attire, this time by their standard army issue sandals that they all seem to wear. Many of the Israeli women are stunningly beautiful, but in truth you have a better chance of single-handedly pulling Israeli troops out of the Gaza Strip than pulling one of them.


5. The Efficiently Organised Traveller

Let's call a spade a spade here and admit that this traveller is usually German or at least from one of their neighbouring countries, possibly Austrian, Dutch, Swiss or Scandinavian. They have every detail of their long trip planned to precision months in advance. Meanwhile most of us (especially the Irish) don’t know where we are staying the next night (oh, what a bunch of devil-may-care rogues we are). Most of these efficient individuals seem to carry a series of important documents with them everywhere (usually in that most tragic of containers, the bumbag), and they also possess an encyclopedic knowledge of the geography of the specific continent upon which they're travelling. For organisational purposes, they are handy to travel with if you feel particularly lazy for a period of time (it's essentially a piggyback for grown ups) and they are usually good C-words all round.



6. The Drinking Buddy


Most nationalities are appalled at the drinking habits of us Irish and very few drink as recklessly, or as awesomely, as us; meaning very few can keep up with our pace when it comes to the auld sessions. However some cultures have pretty similar drinking traditions to us which makes sauce-centric male bonding is quite common while travelling. Some of these nationalities include the British, Dutch, Germans, and the aforementioned potty-mouthed Australians. These groups often make worthy rivals to our booze hound status, seek them out on your travels if you're in need of some craic.

7. The Beautiful Local

At first you're suspicious as to why this beautiful local is showering you with such attention, which leads to suspicion that either a) she's a prostitute, b) trying to rob you or c) she has a dick bigger than yours (a regular occurrence in Thailand... I hear). However unless you are in a dodgy part of town, you should be safe. Bizarrely, the locals are often fascinated by our pale skin and our musical accents. These locals are often very well educated yet poorly paid in their home countries, and can sometimes be jealous of our ability to travel extensively and see so much of the world. A huge majority live with their parents until their late twenties so you'd be doing well just to get the shift, unless your silver tongue is enough to convince them to return to your dingy dorm in your overcrowded hostel, for what can only be described as indoor dogging. Meeting these goddesses makes you vow never to return to your home country, but you always will.

8. The Clinger

Most solo travellers you meet are cool individuals, comfortable in their own skin, outgoing and thus likely to make friends very easily. However there is one type of solo traveller who attempts to attach themselves to you or your group without being invited. You know the type, the one who will always ask, "So, what are we doing today?’ or suggest hopping into a cab together to visit a random tourist spot even though you’ve got other plans made. The clinger often fails to understand when you explain this to them, because they're not skilled at self-awareness, their only skills are clinging related. Be extremely careful while telling them your travelling plans as they will more than likely show up for the same next bus/plane journey as you. They'll be that guy sitting behind you, breathing heavily in your ear.

Seán Kenehan
Article written by
Seán has been told by some that he resembles a young Hugh Laurie, but more people have tried to hire him as a Noddy impersonator. Something of a film fan, a pub quiz is one of the few situations in which he is even remotely useful. Seán enjoys the occasional beverage of the alcohol variety, Salt & Vinegar crisps, and referring to himself in the third person.

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