As a current traveler on a budget, I often opt for hostels. They are affordable, generally pretty good quality, and are a great way to meet people and learn more about your travel destination. Due to the nature of cohabiting in rooms of up to eight or ten people, you’re bound to run into the funny, the weird and the annoying from time to time. I’ve asked my fellow traveler friends to tell me their memorable hostel stories, and have come up with a list of the five types of people you will probably meet in hostels.
Think dude or gal with a backpack, hiking boots, and Lonely Planet travel guide. Sometimes they have an itinerary and other times their two-month travel plan has turned into a six-month adventure. These hostel dwellers tend to rise early to begin a jam-packed day of sightseeing and exploring and are more than willing to share travel horror stories over dinner. While experienced and enthusiastic, I sometimes wonder whether The Nomad on month seven of travel is still going because they love their lifestyle or just love talking about it. The best thing about The Nomad is that they’re perfect for answering questions about best routes and travel methods because more often than not they’ve already gone where you’re going.
The Hostel Douche
This is the guy (it’s always a guy) who’s just seeing what this travel thing is all about but is 100 percent knowledgeable about everything. Sometimes he’s a freelancer who just needed a change of pace or other times he’s doing a bit of soul-searching while simultaneously mansplaining loudly about how travel has high-key changed his life. The Hostel Douche loves to talk at you, never giving you a chance to share some of your experiences, or only giving you a second to talk so that he can one-up you. He warns the solo female hostel residents they need to be careful while he heads out for an evening stroll by himself. They speak loudly so they can be sure everyone is accidentally overhearing just how awesome they are.
The Hippie is an equally lovable and cringe-worthy hostel inhabitant. They are most recognizable by wanderlust tattoos, flannels, and beards. Sometimes they’ve only brought a small backpack and their guitar because music and minimalism is all anyone really needs. They sip water from sticker-covered canteens and supplement the complimentary breakfast with fruit they bought off the street. They often practice yoga and may invite you to join them. Sometimes it feels like The Hippie tries a little too hard to maintain their rustic image, but other times The Hippie is all you need to feel right at home in your hostel.
This person is most-often a study-abroad or ERASMUS student who is taking advantage of travel time with minimal responsibilities. The Partier might wake up everyone in the shared room when they stumble in after a night out, but it’s no use getting upset about it because they won’t remember what happened when they wake up. This hostel character doesn’t do much sightseeing because they need to save up their money and energy for the nightlife. They love telling you about their wild nights and will definitely invite you out with them once or twice. If you find yourself bunking with a Partier, it’s a good idea to invest in some earplugs.
The Instant BFF
Every now and again, the hostel stars align and you find yourself sharing a room with a kindred spirit. This is that person you instantly click with and before you know it she’s asking if you like the coat she purchased from the flea market earlier that day. You roll your eyes at the guy who has left his smelly sneakers in the middle of the room and share your travel itinerary over your morning coffee. The Instant BFF is the rarest hostel acquaintance, but by far the best, and honestly restores your faith in humanity.
The next time you’re in a hostel, keep your eyes peeled for one of these folks! Cohabiting in one room with lots of other people can be stressful, annoying, and more often than not, smelly. But you usually get a good story out of it. Part of the beauty of travel, after all, are the people you meet along the way.