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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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