Tag Archives: seasoned backpacker

Interlude: the Four Types of Travelers

There are four different types of travelers:

First, you have the tourists.
– Tourists aren’t *real* travelers.
– Tourists travel for two weeks of time and and yet bring a roller suitcase holding three weeks worth of clothing.
– The tourist travels with his family of four, including small children.
– The tourist is ephemeral, only staying in each town for a couple of days.
– The tourist spends his time going on whirlwind tour of local attractions recommended by the guidebook.
– The tourist stays at a western resort, mostly eats westernized food at the resort restaurant, and never experiences the local flavor.
– the tourist buys lots of souvenirs – at hugely inflated prices.

Second, you have the wide-eyed backpacker:
– Typically in his or her late teens or early twenties, this traveler is in his gap year, is traveling for a summer, or has just completed school.
– The wide-eyed backpacker has a copy of the Lonely Planet guidebook.
– The wide-eyed backpacker travels with three goals: partying, getting drunk, and getting laid.
– The wide-eyed backpacker has no money, and so will always go for the cheapest option for everything – food, accommodation, and transport.
– The wide-eyed backpacker has all new gear, but no clue on how to travel, how to deal with local customs, or how to avoid getting scammed.
– Once the wide-eyed backpacker gets enough experience, he or she often graduates to become the next type of traveler.

Third, you have the seasoned backpacker:
– The seasoned backpacker is more mature, having a couple countries under his belt, and is traveling to see and experience the world.
– The seasoned traveler knows the ropes for traveling, knows how to avoid scams, and often speaks a bit of the local language.
– The seasoned traveler has the best stories.
– The seasoned traveler is comfortable both on and off the beaten track, both in big tourist destinations and villages with nary a foreigner in sight.
– The seasoned traveler is at the pinnacle of travel, but some devolve into the fourth type of traveler.

Finally, you have the jaded traveler:
– The jaded traveler is in his mid 40s and 50s, and has been traveling for way too long, often becoming an expat.
– The jaded traveler knows about cultural differences, but doesn’t care anymore.
– The jaded traveler has almost relapsed into pursuing the wide-eyed backpacker’s goals of getting laid and getting drunk, and will often start drinking by 10 AM.
– If engaged in conversation, the jaded traveler will always be angry (usually at the host country and its customs).

Bonus: the Asian tourist:
– The Asian tourist is the second cousin to the standard tourist.
– The Asian tourist always travels in a tour group, with people from his own country.
– The Asian tourist always travels by bus with his tour group, visiting tourist attraction after tourist attraction in a breakneck speed.
– The Asian tourist always takes photos, always takes pictures of himself with the tourist destination, and almost always has a DSLR camera.
– The Asian tourist always eats at a restaurant serving his home country’s food.

Which of the four types of travelers are you?