12 Types Of People You’ll Find In Every Hostel

When some people travel, their accommodation involves words like plush, champagne, spa, pamper, terrace, aroma, stunning, marble, spacious, and robe.

And then there’s you.

You’re the kind of person who ends up on a site like Wait But Why, and your travel is far shittier.

You may even be acquainted with the wide world of hostels, a world that embodies both the human race’s best qualities and its most annoying. A culture that manages to simultaneously be a liberal utopia of open-mindedness, acceptance, and diversity—and a factory of cringiness. If Gandhi mated with the douchiest guy you went to high school with, their offspring would be hostels.

Hostels are everything the world should be and everything the world shouldn’t be, all at once.

And while every hostel is unique, the crowd passing through tends to be more or less the same. We’ll scratch the surface today by breaking down 12 of the common characters:

1) The Guy Who Plays The Guitar In The Hostel

 


Defining Characteristics: Making serious facial expressions; Thrilled with self
Length of Their Trip: 10 weeks

He had to find a place for it in the overhead bin on the plane, which wasn’t easy. He held it on his lap on the crowded bus. He carried it for a mile and a half from the bus station to the hostel.

But sitting there on the backrest of the couch, plucking those sweet strings, embodying literally the best aesthetic ever—it was all worth it for The Guy Who Plays The Guitar In The Hostel.

 

2) The 38-Year-Old Guy Who’s Pretending He’s 24

 


Defining Characteristics: Down to party; Wrinkles
Length of Their Trip: 2 weeks

There are three kinds of guys you’ll find in hostels:

1) Dudes (age 19-32)
2) Men (age 33-70)
3) The 38-year-old who’s gonna just go ahead and pretend he’s still a dude and he’d really appreciate it if you would just roll with it and not say anything about it

Every hostel has one dude who’s a little too old to be acting like a dude. He knows he’s 38, you know he’s 38, and this is just kind of his move. He doesn’t really care what you think because he’s never gonna see you again anyway.

 

3) The Americans Who Are Kind of Acting Like It’s The First Day Of School 

 


Defining Characteristics: Loud; Excited; Eager to say a lot of words to a lot of people about a lot of things
Length of Their Trip: 8 days

You’ll know them when you see them. They’re young, wide-eyed, and they’re pretty sure this is everyone’s first backpacking trip, not just theirs. When they leave the hostel, they head to a restaurant to be five times louder than the second-loudest table there.

 

4) The Guy Who Brought Only Two Changes Of Clothes

 


Defining Characteristics: Friendly; Wafting
Length of Their Trip: 6 months

Amateur travelers pack a lot. Pro travelers pack light. And then there’s the guy who brought two changes of clothes.

There are things you may doubt in life, but you’ll never have a doubt about whether this guy is in the room with you.

 

5) The “Make You Feel Bad About Yourself Cause You’re Not In A Cool Group Of Friends Like Those People” People

Defining Characteristics: Laughter; Telling stories about last night; Having fun plans ahead that night; You’re not invited
Length of Their Trip: 5 Weeks

There they are, having fun, enjoying the shit out of each other, and all you can do is stare longingly. No, you’re not in the group, and no, you’re not invited to wherever they’re going next. As you head up to bed alone, the sounds of their incredibly hilarious drinking game serve as a reminder of how alone you are in this country, planet, and universe.

 

6) The People Who Say Local Places With The Correct Accent

 


Defining Characteristics: Tongue rolls; A straight face as they do tongue rolls
Length of Their Trip: One month

You’ll find these people all over the world, but nowhere do they thrive like Latin America.  To be clear, they do not visit Buenos Aires, Argentina, they visit Buenos Aye-des, Adhentina.  They won’t be caught dead in Nicaragua, but love a good visit to Neecadagua.  They top off their act with 0% self-deprecation about pretending to be foreign.  They will look you dead in the eye without a trace of a smile as the local sounds roll off their tongue.

 

7) The Lonely Planet All-Stars 

 


Defining Characteristics: Reading their Lonely Planet at all times
Length of Their Trip: 15 days

You know one of these when their Lonely Planet looks like it’s from 1936 even though they bought it a week and a half ago. Their relationship with the book is intimate, mutual, and all-encompassing.

 

8) The Smily European Girl Who You’d Spend The Rest Of Your Life With Even Though You’ve Never Spoken To Her But She Smiled At You And Now Your Day Is Ruined

 


Defining Characteristics: Smily; Day-ruining
Length of Their Trip: 2 months

Let’s move on.

 

9) The “I’m The Kind Of Guy Who Knows The People Who Work At The Hostel” Guy

Defining Characteristics: Calls the staff members by their first name
Length of Their Trip: 3 months

Just so you know, this guy is in the inner circle at the hostel. He basically works there—he’ll direct you to the bathroom, correct your misguided placement of the communal olive oil on the non-communal rack, and he even helped a staff member bring out the trash last Thursday, so.

 

10) The Jaded European Who Doesn’t Want To Be Your Friend

 


Defining Characteristics: Quiet condescension
Length of Their Trip: 4 months

This is her 83rd country, she’s not that impressed by it, and she’s certainly not that impressed by you. She rolls her left eye at the Lonely Planet All-Star and her right eye at the over-excited American.

 

11) The Obnoxiously Happy Couple

 


Defining Characteristics: Being a happy fucking little team
Length of Their Trip: 2 weeks

Well aren’t they cute, with their matching backpacks and their shared experiences. Oh, and look who has too much chemistry to sleep in the communal dorm bedroom. These people have little consideration for any dramatically lonely solo travelers in the vicinity, just plowing ahead with their public bonding.

 

12) The Guy Who’s Maybe Been Traveling A Little Too Long

Defining Characteristics: Knows the people at the local grocery store by name; Not that into questions about his life
Length of Their Trip: 2.5 years and counting

He’s adventuring less than he used to, he gave up sightseeing long ago, and he’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t really ask him about his job, his life back at home, his relationship with his parents, or the law in his home country.

For an update on what our friends at the hostel are doing for the holidays, visit our holiday update.

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90 comments - jump to comment field »

  1. Very accurate description of hostel atmosphere, especially the best culture / worst culture blend.

    I’d add in the white guy with dredlocks, the sex-crazed Italian bros, and the blackout drunk Aussies. If you’re making fun of people in hostels, you have to include Aussies.

  2. I’ve pretty much decided to stop staying at hostel’s, and this is partly why! The one type missing to me! “The underage boys who are in a foreign country that allows them to drink therefore they’re going to be obnoxiously loud and drunk now”

  3. Brilliant article, nailed it!
    I absolutely hate 5) and 6) (once one number 6 tried to correct my italian pronunciation…which happens to be my mother tongue), but having worked in hostels for years, reading 9) made my skin crawl
    Please bring more!!!

  4. Anonymous

    I am #10, The Jaded European Who Doesn’t Want To Be Your Friend

    But I am Asian.

    People assume if you stay in a hostel you gotta mingle and blend in

    I beg to differ.

    I just want a cheap place to sleep.

    I have nothing against meeting new people, but usually when I go back to a hostel I am knackered so I just want some peace and quiet.

    Sadly hostel is not the right place for that. Now I try to avoid hostels as much as possible!

    • Anonymous

      If you want peace and quiet shell out the few extra bucks/euros/pounds/rupees/rubles/dinara/whatever for private accomodation, but don’t be the disgruntled antisocial person bringing the whole hostel mood down.

    • Anonymous

      i like to be social and for me that’s what i love about hostels but i don’t think its for you to judge someone who wants to just chill and not get too involved. Everyone is entitled to go for the cheapest. Surely the joy of a hostel IS the very fact its a mixed bag of all sorts and not some ideal – hence the description ‘best and worst’. i say that #10 of any nationality your are welcome to be there, plus the above person is one not on the list – #13 the whinny bastard, who thinks they speak for everyone but usually have a rude crass approach to life.

    • Anonymous

      “The 38-Year-Old Guy Who’s Pretending He’s 24″

      Aren’t old guys allowed to escape the boredom of life and have a little fun? Nothing worse than people who think that one should give up having fun, just because they are over 35!

    • Ancient and still travelling

      Yes, had to laugh at that one! “The 38-Year-Old Guy Who’s Pretending He’s 24″ This is your time, ‘dudes’ – granted, but if it weren’t for the oldies there would be no youth hostels. We invented them back in the drifting sixties when you guys weren’t even a thought.
      (And oh – as for the white guys with dreadlocks — did I miss the ‘black guy takes out patent on a hairstyle’ news?)
      Great article though — but you missed out the worst! The like girls who like cannot speak like three words without like adding like 26 ‘likes’ to the sentence. Like, do you blame like anyone for like being like anti-social when these people like step into the room?

    • Sad to say, but you two are mostly right. Many Israelis backpackers are inconsiderate pricks. Thankfully we tend to go to our own hostels :)

      This is because we usually travel quite young, as opposed to you guys. Also, we travel in groups – we’re probably the country with the most backpackers per capita, along with the Dutch. So, combine young travellers in big groups.. and you get the nasty Israeli backpacker.

      However, please don’t play innocent.. you’re a Brit, and Brits are just as bad as Israelis. I mean, have you ever been in the Loki/Wild Rover hostels?

      Australians can be noisy as all hell too. :)

      I love ‘em all though.

    • Loki? Jesus…being next door to one of them in Peru was bad enough. And, believe me, I have seen plenty of Brits behaving badly…but we tend to export our nobheads to Spain, thankfully. And yeah, the Aussies travel in gangs…likely because no-one (not even the English or the Irish) want to drink as much as them. Puerto Escondido in Mexico is full of drunken Aussies who get as bad a rep as the big groups of Israelis in places.

      The Australians frustrate me for not wanting to explore a bit more or be alone somewhere and learn a bit more about the culture. I met one fella in DF who didn’t leave the hostel at all, and when I invited him out with friends one night, as he seemed isolated, he told me “No, I’m OK. I just stay in because I’m not really feeling Mexico”. When I asked him why, he said “Well I got off the plane…and everyone was speaking Spanish” I’ve never laughed so hard in my life.

      The two Israeli musicians I met in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, were really great people. Friendly and open. They were travelling in places they could avoid their countrymen…in much the same I would if big gangs of English were being rowdy, cheap, obnoxious and upsetting the locals. Which I find pretty sad, and I don’t know how it’s going to change.

      The Israeli backpackers don’t seem open to meeting people from other countries (unless they’re attractive women). And that, for me, is the best thing about travelling. I don’t think that the siege mentality and suspicion in Israel helps, and the military experience of these young people affects them.

      They just need to open up a bit, and let people in. Unlike the perceptions they have of the Arabs…once they get to South and Central America…not everyone is out to kill them.

      Let’s hope that, if one day there is peace in the Middle East, things are going to change.

    • Anonymous

      Iraelis straight out of military service traveling in largish groups…. they’re a completely different breed to solo or smaller groups with a bit more age and wisdom IMO. Living in Eastern Europe the first group of 4 Israeli girls we had at the hostel were quite funny, all wearing the same shirts from their military service, singing songs in Hebrew in the morning … and they were also really lovely people.

    • You sound like an israeli! Israelis in 1′s or 2′s, nice, friendly, sociable. Israelis in a large group, loud, selfish, inconsiderate with no respect for anyone…. Get yourself out of there and go to a different hostel!

    • Anonymous

      I like to call them the ‘Misraelis’, they seem miserable. But have since met some fantastic Israelis. Such fascinating people

  5. you also forgot the old, like really old, gay man who surreptitiously ogles the many young men running around in nothing but shorts or a towel, and who is not averse a little drunken foreplay or a mercy f**k.

  6. kubo

    the world-traveling dutch couple has been to several countries together. they travel every year. the dutch are tall and weathered, interested yet skeptical at every turn. as a team they work together seamlessly and are utterly unbothered by hostel types 1-12. you feel inexperienced in their presence. the dutch couple just landed at the hostel today – but already, they have found the best grocery item within 4 blocks, with a decent beer, and are now hanging their laundry. if they’re in the mood to engage, their conversation consists of: pointed questions, jokes, or shrewd observations.

  7. I met three naked #8 in a shower at the Geneva Hostel. The 3 turned around and one of them said “I don’t think this is your time”, then they all started laughing. I walked out and there was a sign I had missed “Women 8-9AM, Men 9-10AM” They are all in my head 25 years later :-)

  8. There is a sub-species of (6). “The out-of-town/Lonely Planet know-it-all”. He (usually-and often American)loves telling anybody who will listen about the best curry-house in town ignorant of the fact that it closed 18 months ago just after the guide printed. He will tell you the best short-cut to get to a must-see museum and forget that he got there by foot ferry and you have a car. His knowledge of English Premiership clubs is unsurpassed but has no idea that Blackpool were relegated a few seasons ago or that Arsenal left Highbury for the Emirates many moons ago.

    If you explain patiently that you cannot use your AmEx card to get a discount at the Palace he will argue ferociously…..even though your wife is marketing director there.

    #SadLoser

  9. The French hippy who is trying to stay in the cheapest country in the world for as little possible; sleeping in a hammock, making his own food where it costs only $1 for a meal, critising other foreigners for frivolous behaviour like drinking beer in a bar instead of buying from shop.

    • Don’t forget the middle-class hippy wannabies, that grow dreadlocks and preach hippy ideals but when you scrape the surface know nothing about anything and are living on their parents money!

  10. Anonymous

    Hmm, I definitely miss the neo-hippie vegetarian type of person, thinking they will make the world a better place. Dresses up as a local after a few days. Usually not your smartest.
    I was #10 and turned into #12.

  11. With other commenters already having added Israelis, Aussies and the likes, my contribution has to be young Korean girls (occasionally also Japanese). They never interact with anyone and go almost completely unnoticed until they decide on getting up ridiculously early to pack their bag in the room, putting every individual item in a separate, loudly crackling, plastic bag. The ‘packing of the bag’ seems almost ritualistic and can easily take two hours (no joke).

  12. Anonymous

    I’d like to add a description about my friend and me in hostels :)

    They stick together like fried egg with non-teflon frying pan. easy going, superfriendly because most of the time this weird couple is quite dizzy or totally drunk – depends on the day/night time. Can be very loud and annoying for those ones who are seeing their 57th country this year, also for geeky hostel receptionists. One part of the male stuff who work in hostels feel like they’ve one in lottery when they see these ones, because they suspect the’de become very easy going and SUPERfriendly after a complimentary beer or even better – a drag of wooopy doop. They like meeting other people but no one can break this tandem – even some guy they both like – they’d rather choose to share him. ;)

  13. Anonymous

    You’ve got 2 types of Aussies,
    1) the decent kind, pleasant, social, lots of exploring.
    2)the Jekyll and Hyde girl and boy, the idiotic can’t handle their alcohol, self entitled, attention seekers. Add alcohol = instant asshole.

    number 1) you’ll find more so in the cultured, historical or out of the way backpacker areas.
    number 2) sole purpose to go to places where you are able to act like an ass and get away with it, Bali, South East Asia, Amsterdam, Munich, Prague, Mexico, Canada. But come and watch the worst in Bali and Thailand, their objective is to outdo the bad English backpackers in who can be a bigger dickhead.

  14. Anonymous

    How about a new list: The “i’ve seen to many tourists, therefore i hate you and everything you stand for” hostel staffer. Expects you to understand everything becasuse she has explianed the same 25 things to 25000 different travellers. “Hi how does the washing machine work i don’t…” she will roll here eyes into the back of her head and sigh since she really should be an actress or writing poetry, but here she is working in “Backpachers shitshow Hostel” dealing with you’re stupid questions . Luckily the hostel reviews will be read by management.

  15. ra

    not all travelers who stay at the hostel are on holiday,- expat who are on visa run or extend their visa from neigbor country ( I did the same thing, too..quite often), foreign worker who are waiting for their working visa be approved, street musician from England, Japan then they play music and make money of it ….My type is not on the list I guess.. ;) .. I just want a cheap place to stay cause I want to stay longer……

  16. Anonymous

    I am surprised there wasn’t one called the group of Australians who didn’t know each other but share mutual friends from back home

    • Anonymous

      I always tell ‘them’ my rich daddy pays for me. And I smile stupidly, as if that would be normal to anyone, isn’t it?. This leads to their next question: “Is that daypack your backpack for the whole 3 months your traveling?”And when I nod yes (a lie of course), they are so irritated, I just ruined their day. AND I LOVE IT. (And no, I pay for the trip myself)

    • probably because traveling Brasilians have $$ … $ = chance for education in Brasil , hence educated brasilian/2nd language ability (generally ingles) almost go hand in hand.. (not always, but a lot) ……… u know this , you’re Brasilian cara.. “i only meet or i have only met Brazilians who speak almost perfect english” is better my friend… mas parabens e um abraco

  17. that annoying 10 behaves like that to other girls too! I am european (portuguese). This year I went to japan. I used to go to many onsen, where the towels were available, either for free or paying. But in beppu I went to one where you were supose to carry your own towel. I asked gently to an old japanese woman where could I get a towel, by saying ‘sumimasen (excuse-me) doko deska (where is) and I pointed to her towel while waving my head as you are suposed to do in japan to be polite (so I just found out I am a 6#). The lady couldn’t explain me where to get one, but she smiled and gave me one extra she had in her bag. I gently refused, because I understand it was hers, but she insisted and so I accepted with lots of ‘domo arigato’ and a lot of waving my head, since the towel was beautifull, full of flowers and a nice courtesy. The lady was getting ready to leave, so I decided to undress and use a locker to get my things and clothes inside. Two girls entered the room, they didn’t complement the lady or me, just kept talking to each other in what sounded a germanic language maybe – maybe they where german, or austriac? I can’t say, they were blonde and spoke something germanic. They noticed the towels weren’t available, but where looking and walking around like a beheaded Cockroach, without asking me, when it was pretty obvious that maybe I could speak english. I then decided to help them: ‘hi, the towels aren’t available, we have to use our own…’ they didn’t reply or say thanks, first i thought THEY didn’t speak english, but the information was usefull, since they stoped looking. Then they started wandering around my locker… (?) I decided to help again – ‘I took that big locker, but the big one below is empty’ the response? a really unpolite -’Yeah, but we wanted the upper one!!!’… at this point I didn’t reply anymore… I simply left to the onsen outside and whispered the crazy story to my boyfriend in portuguese, who was behind a bamboo wall that separated the male onsen from the female onsen. we simply laugh of the crazy bit**es (really!!!)!!! what a jerks! At this point they entered and saw me laughing with my boyfriend on the other side and i felt that maybe if I was an 11 that would annoy them back. Except if they were a lesbian 11, then it didn’t work… :D ahahha! I still have the cute flowered towel, though!

    *I just realised they where not 11# even if lesbian because they where NOT smiling at all…
    *To choose to ignore other foreigner is kinda (?) ok, but to disrespect them… that’s just beeing stupid…

  18. Anonymous

    We just need the late forties guy who is on his 20th world trip looking down on you for eating a pizza while he is eating from a tin of beans he found on the free food shelf!

  19. Anonymous

    I love this! The descriptions nailed it, the travel time frames, not so much. Also, AUSSIES! They are token ins almost every hostel (mainstream
    ) not off the beaten path. Basically anywhere big city or party place. Love them though. Never complaining.

  20. Anonymous

    How about the Irish guy who blows his entire traveling budget in the pub, hardly sees a thing of the country he’s in and ends up every night getting absolutely hammered… and naked, if he’s on a roll.

  21. THIS IS SO TRUE!!! & Funny. Have to say I never met a bad Israeli, maybe because I told them I was pro-Israeli over a beer. The really gentle females going into their military service, I just told them it wasn’t so bad & got a post card 6 months later. Obnoxious types come from every nation. You forgot to mention US Peace Corps volunteers, & their British, German, Canadian equivalents, who usually have their poop in a group.

  22. Anonymous

    11. The guy in the wife-beater and khaki shorts writing in his notepad like he thinks he’s Ernest Fucking Hemingway or someone.

  23. great read! wow, surprised at the lack of love towards the “aussies”…… now i understand why people from all over the world always whispered quietly “to be honest i like new zealanders much more”…. but truly people – isn’t it great how the world is made up of so many different types of personalities / cultures / behaviours / attitudes.. HAPPY TRAVELS from a proud KIWI

  24. Anonymous

    I co-managed a hostel in Africa for three years. Guitar playing a***holes are the worst. Especially if they are white guys with dreadlocks. And a shark tooth necklace. These people should be instanttly stabbed.

  25. i read this while doing night shift in a hostel. i really wanted to emit high-pitched noises but then everyone would wake up : (
    also, you skipped the creepy guy from azerbaijan who gets kicked out on day 2 out for groping one of the european backpacker girls, who, to his surprise, are not as “willing” as they were told back home.

  26. Yvonne Neldel

    You really are into it…..never read an article so true and funny at the same time about the hostel scene-i worked for one in Berlin for about 7 years –yiehah! It´s the best way to find out a lot about humans.

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  29. Amyranth

    You forgot the Sex Tourists. Sometimes Aussies, sometimes Americans, but really just there (wherever you are) to get laid. And then brag about it.

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  31. Jonny Jenkins (@ stepupdivein.com)

    This is absolutely hilarious… We had a little crowd gathered together from the hostel the other night as we went through this list, giving great little titles to everyone around the table… awesome and spot on.

    A few to add…

    1) The Canadians with the flags… are you kidding now?! We get the fact that you’re not American, get over it.

    2) The Vampires… those ones that never seem to see the light of day, by the time they’re almost sober again they’re well on their way to being out for another ‘night to remember… that they forget’

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