I’ve stayed in my fair share of hostels. Small ones, big ones, stinky ones and downright awesome ones. All throughout Europe (and indeed the world), you’ll encounter different types of people sharing your space when you bunk down in budget accommodation. Some people will be cool and you’ll stay in touch, others you’ll want to get as far away from as possible. From my personal experiences, here’s a few of the very many different walks of life you’ll encounter in hostels on your travels.
The horny 19 year old backpacker
This kid is a menace. All he wants to do is find the nearest bar and cruise for local girls. When all you want to do is chill out and have a few beers in a local bar and soak up the atmosphere, this guy wants to hit up the next place because “there’s not enough birds/chicks/*insert-your-local-slang-for-girls-here*”.
This specimen is especially prevalent in Nordic countries, because hey, it’s every dude’s dream to pick up a hot Swedish girl right?
The sports team on tour
You’ll generally meet about 15 of them in a collective juggernaut of mischief. They’ll be keen to drink beer with you in the dorm room, usually brought into the country with them on the team bus. I once drank heaps of Croatian beer with a hockey team in Graz, Austria. If you stay up, there’ll be a few that’ll be keen on going out with you to find a bar or club locally to continue the festivities.
However that usually comes to a grinding halt. They’ll all be kept on a very tight leash by a coach or manager, putting a stop to aforementioned bar/club shenanigans.
The college students on exchange
This guys have put usually put themselves way out of their comfort zone, and good on them for doing it. They’ve probably flown half way around the world from New Zealand or Canada to study for 6 months in a European city. As they’re so far from home, they generally roam in groups of two or three. They’re cool, because they’re there to study but also almost always up to party also.
A lot of them are out there to liberate themselves and do things they’ve never done before. Either to prove something to themselves or their friends/family back home. This can work either for or against your favour.. 😉
The person from your home town
Every few hostels you stay at, you’ll meet someone that hails from your part of the world. Not just your part of the world though, your part of the suburb you come from. Scary stuff. This especially occurs frequently for Australians.
You’ll walk into a TV room and quickly be involved in this pussy-footing game of narrowing down just how close you live/lived to each other. My best effort was a girl that moved into a friend’s place, came from the same suburb as me and used to go to the same fish and chip shop.
The token Scandinavian girls
Watch every bloke in the hostel be on their A game around these girls. They’re hot, tall, well stacked and usually with long flowing blonde hair (tick, tick and tick for stereotype). Every guy will drop their map, phone or whatever it was they were concentrating on and go in for the kill. Just so we’re clear here, I’m talking about girls from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
They’re kind of like the opposite to the horny 19 year old – you’ll find the Nordic lass roaming South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand usually.
Conform or forge your own path?
With these and many other types of travellers roaming the backpacker trails of the world, where do you see yourself fitting in (or not)? Have you been a college student on exchange before? Or are you a new-age, green, overland travelling, cabin baggage only nomad?
Everyone’s different, and that’s one of the cool things about travel, meeting such a huge cross section of people from all over the globe.