The 5 types of traveller I love to hate

From the same guy who brought you the 30 nicest travellers to follow on Twitter comes a blog post about the worst kinds of people you run into while travelling.

That’s right. You should stop reading now if you’re easily offended. Then again, if you’re offended it could be because you’re one of the 5 types of traveller I love to hate.

If that’s the case, you should just stay home from now on…

Me drinking on the Nha Trang boat trip
Water, water, everywhere… let’s drink!

1. The drunken idiot backpacker

I like to party as much as the next guy – unless the next guy is the type of drunken idiot who gets so wasted that he ends up waking up half the hostel  after a big night out.

You know the type: usually young, stupid and selfish, cutting loose on their first trip overseas. A combination of cheap booze and that first taste of freedom is a heady mix for these clowns who think travel is only about getting shitfaced every night and causing a ruckus.

2. Culturally insensitive travellers

I guess in the West it’s technically okay to wear a skirt so small that I can see your ass, but must you really bare all in very religious countries where it’s wildly inappropriate to show so much skin?

At Angkor Wat in Cambodia I saw tons of people – men and women – turned away because their clothing was too revealing; in landlocked Ubud, Indonesia, I saw locals berate a woman for wearing a bikini into town.

These people must surely have known better. You’ve got to respect the local culture, people – and do as they do in Rome.

I take a ride on a cyclo in Ho Chi Minh City
Being taken for a ride in Vietnam – literally.

3. Suckers

Must I go through the same bulllshit every single time I go to buy anything in Southeast Asia?

The man behind the counter names some outrageous price for a t-shirt, I tell him that I didn’t arrive yesterday, he scoffs at what I’m prepared to pay, I walk away and he runs after me. Sold.

Learn to haggle, people. Suckers who pay too much for things – whether it’s a bottle of water, an item of clothing or a guided tour – are pushing prices up. Plus they’re the main reason I have to waste so much energy shopping around for a good deal.

4. Tour group sheep

One minute you’re enjoying the wonders of Angkor Wat, the next a bus-load of camera-touting, fanny-pack wearing tourists are elbowing you out of the way, jostling for the perfect photograph.

We’ve all been there – if not at Angkor Wat, then at some other major tourist attraction. Like a plague of locusts, tour groups seem to come out of nowhere en masse, block out the sun (or at least whatever you’re trying to photograph) and then head off to the next attraction.

These kinds of tour groups aren’t so much large groups of travellers but living, breathing organisms that trample you under their collective will.

Me and some mates at the London 2012 Olympics
“God of nations…”

5. Embarrassing national stereotypes

Ugly Americans, loud-mouth Aussies, Kiwis who get crazy offended when you ask them if they’re Australian… the only thing I love to hate more than a cultural stereotype is when people perpetuate those same stereotypes at the expense of being a decent human being.

We’re all cultural ambassadors when we travel. Like it or not, if enough of us act a certain way then people are going to think everyone from that country is the same.

So let’s all be kind and get a reputation for being awesome.

About Simon Petersen 506 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.


  1. Ahahah! Nice post…
    Tour groups are THE WORST!
    You know those stupid little tourist “trains” that they have in a hundred different famous touristy spots? I used to sit with my friends in Athens and laugh at them, swearing I would NEVER do such a thing… Then I went on a press trip and had to ride one. Sooo embarrassed, lol.

  2. I have been in India for the past few weeks, passing through a place called Rishikesh. I gotta same some of the most annoying travelers ever reside here. I am all for taking a spiritual journey, learning about yoga, finding peace etc but some people take it to a whole new level here. They even start to make up their own little random things like one guy who took about 1 hour to eat a small bowl of curry, he just kept breathing it in and “feeling its energy”. He was from London and had been in India for a week and a half, go figure…

  3. Hahaha I agree with all of these! There is of course the spiritual hippie backpacker who is constantly high, but that might just be trumped up stereotype…

    I can’t wait to start travelling – I wonder which of these I’ll become !

  4. Those are some pretty annoying types. I’d like to add the guy, usually an expat though, who begins conversations with “you know what’s wrong with [insert name of country]?” Met far too many of them when I lived in China.

    • I think you’ll find that, in general, you are the one who is very much mistaken 😉 Have you seen Quentin Tarantino’s Deathproof? There’s a great line in that movie about Kiwis being mistaken for Aussies. Check it out.

  5. I haven’t started my travels yet, but I’m fairly confident I’m not going to fall into any of these categories…fingers crossed I won’t meet too many people that do!

  6. Great post! I see these types everywhere every time I go away. But being an Aussie I know and see way to many embarrassing national stereotypes from Aus. Its quite embarrassing and we are getting a bad rep now too unfortunately

Leave a Reply to Simon Petersen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.