What type of hostel guest are you?

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As someone who has done the majority of her travelling on cruise ships (upon which I was employed), having to find my own accommodation is new to me. I recently embarked on my very first completely solo solo-trip alone and while travelling in Jaco, Costa Rica, I had my very first hostel experience. While I was there, I met a number of other travellers/backpackers/guests. (I said ‘hostel guest’ in the title because I didn’t feel like I was backpacking, and actually, I don’t even own a backpack.) While I was only there for seven days (considered a ‘long stay’ in a hostel) I felt like I kept meeting different versions of the same few people. I suspect that the characteristics exhibited by them are actually very stereotypical of hostel guests everywhere. 

I have, therefore, decided to profile them for you here and if you are a frequent hostel-frequenter you can tell me if I’m wrong or if I missed anyone?

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The Selina hostel pool at night

1. The horny millennial 

These people are banging their way around the world, possibly as part of their own anthropological study, or possibly in their quest to collect exotic STDs. It could be a local, it could be another backpacker. As long as you are from a different country to them (and there’s alcohol) you might just get lucky. 
(More often female than you would think.)

2. The people who can’t have fun without alcohol

(Sometimes doubling as horny millennials.) 
Wherever they are they have a drink in their hands. They will stay up late playing drinking games, bragging about the drugs they took at the Full Moon parties they have attended in different countries. The more you have narrowly escaped death by substance abuse, the cooler you are to them. 

An outdoor lounge area at Selina Jaco

3. The generally inconsiderate

It doesn’t matter that they’re staying in a 14-bed dorm room, they will talk loudly first thing in the morning and even put their mom on speakerphone. They’re awake so everyone else must be too, right? Or they might wake you up in the middle of the night with the loud conversation they are having with their friend who is bunking under you. And it’s only when they eventually leave that you realise they’re actually staying in a different dorm altogether. They definitely don’t believe in cleaning up after themselves. “I know you’re supposed to do your own dishes, but if I just leave mine here, it’s fine. The (in this case) pregnant cleaning lady of whatever Third World country we’re in, can clean up after me with a smile on her face.” 

4. The technologically attached  

This person may be solo travelling but they’re not really alone as long as there is wifi. They’re just there for the Instagrams. It’s not about the experience, it’s about how people elsewhere perceive their experience. They don’t make real connections. You are a human tripod to them, just take the picture. “Actually can you retake it from a higher angle to make me look thinner?” They would like you to believe that they are a digital nomad, but they’re not actually making any money. They just hope that if they take enough 'Butt-stagrams' their next trip will be sponsored. 

Related Post: The Butt-stagram: 

Disfrutar las olas

5. The privileged gap-year kids

They managed to find jobs without any experience or qualifications in their First World countries and worked for five months in order to be able to travel around the world for nine.  That’s normal, right? They have absolutely no concept of the fact that less than 20% of the world’s population has ever been on an airplane - and it’s not because they don’t want to travel. These kids worked for this, okay, they deserve it! 

6. The solo traveller who’s going through something

Sometimes referred to as a ‘Grief-cationer’, this person has either just been through a breakup or divorce, has just lost a loved one, is suddenly 'between jobs' or may just be experiencing their usual bi-annual existential crisis. They have also read ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ one too many times (or just about any other travel memoir written by a woman since then). They have therefore reached the conclusion that sometimes the best way to deal with one’s feelings is to run away from their problems altogether for a while (and they might not even be wrong). 
They do not fit in very well with anyone else mentioned thus far.

Me taking a break from my feelings to see how far I can get from my phone
before the 10-second timer goes off

7. That one guy who’s going through a mid-life crisis and is trying to hang out with the cool kids to convince himself that he still is one

He’s not. 

8. The socially awkward expert

(Sometimes doubling as the midlife crisis backpacker.) 
This person keeps giving you advice that you’re not asking for - possibly to impress you with how much they know (even if they’re wrong half the time). They are terrible listeners and are bad at picking up on social queues. Sorry, if you wanted to watch the sunset alone, your politeness will trap you for hours. You’re on vacation, they know you don’t have anywhere else to be.

9. The vegan yogi surfer hippies 

When they are not standing on the beach on their heads, they’re annoyed that they have to share a fridge with you and your murderous animal products (a.k.a. milk). They will use the entire kitchen and most of its crockery to make a salad and judge you.

Rodrigo trying to pick up surfing tips

10. And the nice genuine people on an adventure who make it all worthwhile

Somewhere amongst all these people, you will also find some genuine interesting well-travelled souls. (Yes, they sometimes stay in underpriced accommodation too.) While some may exhibit some of the same qualities as the people mentioned above, they generally have a lot more substance to them. They have experienced a lot but are not boastful or arrogant, they are openminded, both interesting and interested. Unfortunately, if you find one of these rare gems, it will most likely be 15 minutes before they have to go to bed the night before they leave. At least that’s just enough time to restore your faith in traveller-kind.  

Have I missed anyone? If so, let me know in the comment section below?

A sunset from Selina, Jaco


If you're not already one of these hostel guests, you too can become one!

For my very first solo-travelling hostel experience, I stayed at Selina, a hostel in the surf town of Jaco, Costa Rica. To hear about my first experience travelling solo and to find out how you can plan your first solo trip, read this. 

Selina Jaco mural

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    1 comment:

    1. I've actually never stayed in a hostel since I've never solo traveled (always with family or friends or my husband). I'd like to think that I would be #10 though! Your descriptions cracked me up because I know people who fit all of those categories :-)


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