10 Different Types Of Interesting Travelers You'll Meet Along Your Adventures

by Alexandra E. Petri

Travelers are an incredibly diverse species. After spending some time with them and observing them in their natural habitat, you will come to see that there are particular types of travelers you are guaranteed to come across.

Here is our travel-watcher's guide for spotting and identifying the ten types of travelers you will meet when you’re on the road and exploring the world:

The Hippie

The hippie is easily identifiable by a few distinguishing features: no shoes, dreadlocks, a bandana and hemp.

I find that the hippie is seldom properly showered and is permanently sporting a particular eau-de-backpacker scent that is a lethal combination of scorching hot days, rooms with no air-conditioning, nights spent on buses and trains, dirt roads and lack of soap.

The hippie, though at times a bit out there, is always an easy person to be around and has no real direction, but is in no rush to get anywhere soon.

The Gap Year

This one is everywhere and is never American. The gap-year traveler is the 18- or 19-year-old traveler who is taking the year off before college.

Young, innocent, sometimes loud and loose but still admirable in a way, the gap year represents something that I wish were more encouraged in the States.

The Inspirer

This is my favorite traveler because the inspirer keeps you wanting to travel more. The first people I met who truly inspired me were two girls from the UK who were taking a year to travel around the world.

I remember thinking to myself, “I want to be brave enough to do that.” No matter your own travel story or experience, the inspirer always fuels your passion for all things travel that much more.

The Partier

Like the hippie, the partier is easy to spot. Banged up and bruised, with remnants of neon paint tattooed on his or her skin, looking like he or she needs a break from a break, the partier is often wearing bracelets up to his or her elbows.

They could be a rainbow of rope bracelets acquired from days spent tubing on rivers or a carnival-like collection of festival or club bracelets. They are badges of honor to some and a warning sign to others. 

The Know-It-All

The first time I met the know-it-all traveler, I was in a hostel in Thailand and everything she said irritated me to no end. I hate the travelers who try to show off the wealth of worldly knowledge they acquired on adventures and offer unsolicited advice.

This is also the person who feels that he or she must come to understand exactly what the world is all about (and be ready to dispense opinions to anyone who will listen).

The Competitor

The competitor is almost as bad as the know-it-all traveler and coming across the two of them together is a nightmarish thought. The competitor is constantly looking to brag about how he or she travels and treats traveling like a sport to see who is the better and smarter traveler.

“Oh, you stayed at a hostel for $2 per night? Well, we are on a serious budget, so we pitched a tent behind the public toilets on the side of the garbage-filled road. Didn't cost us a penny!”

The Flashpacker

There are backpackers and there are flashpackers. Though the flashpacker loves to travel, the nitty-gritty quality of backpacking does not interest him or her; instead, the flashpacker's style of travel is more luxurious than what suits the backpacker budget.

This is the one who will stay in the more boutiquey accommodations and shell out some extra money for comfort, drinkable beer and decent meals.

The flashpacker packs some decent clothes, is always quite clean and usually is not shy about his or her desire to travel in style. I like that the flashpacker loves to travel but does not try to be something he or she is not by roughing it in budget hostels.

The One Finding Him/Herself

This is sort of the clichéd traveler, but he or she certainly exists. These are the travelers who are on a journey of self-discovery and who wish to come out of the trip as a new person.

Experiences have shown these can be people who have just come out of long relationships and are on their own again or people who were just genuinely really unhappy with themselves and are looking for something more.

The Couple

There are couples all over the place when you travel. Some of them meet while traveling and others are in long-term relationships and share a passion for traveling together.

Some couples you would not even know are couples, as they do their own thing and are not glued to each other’s side. Some are lovey-dovey but social and others just keep to and stick to themselves.

The Backpacker

I think there is a general and genuine, straight backpacker category. The backpacker can be someone who had a boring 9-to-5 at a desk-bound job and wanted — no, absolutely needed — to escape.

The backpacker can also be someone who realizes that time is not always on our side, so it is best to seize the day while we still can.

The backpacker can sometimes exhibit hints of various combinations of the above types, but ultimately, the backpacker is someone who looks to enjoy his or her time, experience other countries and cultures and figure out a plan along the way by taking things as they come.

Photo via We Heart It