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8 Types of Traveller You'll Meet on Your Gap Year

Written by Jenny McWhirter on 04 / 05 / 2016

Gap Year Advice

Any of you that have done any form of travelling will know that travellers are a diverse species…

But if you spend enough time on the road you’ll come to realise that there are certain types of people who you are guaranteed to meet.

Spending your gap year abroad guarantees that you'll meet a ton of interesting characters, all who will teach you something both about the world and yourself.

But before you head off have a read through the 8 most common types and how to spot them...

The Hippie: Stress-free Company


Typical Look: no shoes, dreadlocks, bandana and hemp

The Hippie is fairly easily identifiable. They are seldom properly showered and will definitely be sporting the “eau de backpacker” scent. They often have no real direction but they are certainly in no rush to get anywhere soon. They take things as they come and will have little or no plan for the upcoming months.

Occasionally a little far out for those travellers who prefer their strict schedules and more routine travelling style. This said, their laid back nature makes them very easy to be around.

They offer stress-free company and will help relax even the most uptight of travellers.

The Flashpacker: Likes an Element of Glamour


Typical Look: found in boutique accommodation, always clean and dressed well no matter the time of day or night

The flashpacker, also referred to as the “fuss pot”, loves to travel but doesn’t care for the nitty-gritty of the road. They can’t quite acclimatise to the backpacking lifestyle and as a result is often found in boutique-like accommodation.

However, should you meet them before they’ve found their calling in the swankier accommodation, they will most likely be heard saying things such as “ew this toilet won’t flush” or “this jungle is just so dirty”.

They enjoy the finer things in life and it’s important to note that should you travel along with a flashpacker you’ll need to have a healthy bank account to indulge in the luxury lifestyle.

The Lads: Binging and Bicep Building


Typical Look: ripped vest top, shorts, beer in hand

A rather different traveller to that of the flashpacker, the lads will be found in groups and can be spotted sunning themselves on the beach, recovering from a hangover in a low-cut vest top. By night they’ll hit up bars (like the awesome nightlife spots we found in Havana) to “survey the talent”.

The top of their travel agenda is that of binge drinking and bicep building, whilst gyms aren’t as easy to access whilst travelling they’ll sure find away to continue pumping iron.

You’ll be sure to hear a string of stories from these boys, most of them starting with “Bro, remember that night we were wasted and…”.

The “Know It All”: Irritating to No End

Typical Look: no distinctive identifiable “look” but will appear to have it all figured out

The “know it all” thrives off showing the rest of the travelling world their wealth of worldly knowledge acquired throughout their adventures. They are guaranteed to always be the first to offer up an answer to your, or anyone else’s, question and they certainly don’t shy away from offering unsolicited advice – even if you haven’t asked for it.

They’ll certainly believe they have it all figured out and this results in annoying many of those around them. This said, don’t rule out their advice they do have some gems of advice hidden in all the excessive hints and tips, and have probably been somewhere you didn't even know existed.

Not sure how to start planning your gap year? Don't panic! Download The Gap Adventure Blueprint Our comprehensive gap year advice guide, which contains several chapters on preparing for your adventure.

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The Selfie Besties: Come With Selfie Stick in Hand


Typical Look: Posing for the camera, often using a selfie stick although this isn’t obligatory.

The Selfie Besties, usually found in pairs will be the two best friends who are more focused on their camera angle than their surroundings.

They will arrive at the local beauty spot, spend their time capturing the perfect selfie and then will be seen desperately trying to find the nearest Wi-Fi zone in order to upload their “OMG” moments to social media.

These two will never be seen without a phone in hand but will capture some great photos and, if like me, you’re not a big poster on social media they’ll do the hard work for you to keep your family and friends up-to-date with your latest travel shenanigans.

The Party Animal: All About the Local Watering Holes


Typical Look: wearing neon paint, drink in hand, often with bruises from drunken tumbles

The Party Animal is easy to spot and will be sure to constantly be having the time of their life. Although they can look as though they need a break from the break. You’ll either bump into them on a night out, drink in hand and able to show you exactly where the best party is at.

Or you’ll bump in to them around midday in the hostel looking rather worse for wear but still mumbling about where they plan on hitting up tonight. Common phrases will be a mixture between “I’m so hungover” and “I had this local drink last night that tasted like petrol”.

A great laugh, the party animal is always having a ball and if you are in need of a splash of neon paint or new in town they’ll be on hand to help with showing you the night life.

The Guitar Player: A Great Friend to All


Typical Look: guitar in hand or on back

The guitar player, as the name suggests, is that one person that is never seen without his or her guitar. Any opportunity they will start strumming away and gather a nice crowd of music lovers who will soon become their new friends.

They are a great traveller to be around with a constant chilled-out vibe and a repertoire of great music that works well be it hanging out in the hostel or camped round a fire. They also tend to allow others a turn on the guitar and are always happy to give you a quick lesson so you can join the thousands who can also play Oasis.

The Gap Year Traveller: One Just Like Yourself


Typical Look: Large backpack, fairly young, adorning a wristful of bracelets

The Gap Year Traveller is probably extremely similar to yourself, often 18 or 19 years old taking a year off before heading on to university or continuing on to a course.

Often described as young, innocent and loud they will always be up for trying new adventures and wander the traveller trails trying to “find themselves”. They’re adventurous and many have often taken part in some form of volunteering placement.

A great way to meet these types of traveller is through a structured program that helps the gap year traveller to find their feet abroad and begin their adventures whilst giving back to a local community. A 10 or 6 week program can be a great start to the year.

Thinking about your travel program? Take a look at our ten week programs, for example 10 Weeks in Borneo: Jungle + Tropical Island + Mt Kinabalu + Philippines and take part in some great volunteering opportunities.

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Travellers - a diverse species

So there we have it, a list of 8 types of travellers you’re guaranteed to meet on your travels. Whilst some you’ll click with and others will annoy you beyond belief. They’ll all contribute to a varied experience and some of the best memories you have.

Have you met some of these types, maybe you have another type that you’ve come across on your travels? We’d love to know, so share them with us in the comments below.

Want to ensure you’ll meet the whole range across your year? Download our 100% free, comprehensive gap year advice guide: The Gap Adventure Blueprint, which contains several chapters on planning your trip to maximise the fun you’ll have.

Check out our gap year programs

We have award winning 'planet saving' programs across Africa, Asia, South and Central America.

Reducing plastic in our oceans, protecting turtles and saving the rhino is just the tip of the melting iceberg.

All experiences include a mix of projects and adventures, travelling with a team and, of course, are risk assessed.

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