Maybe I should say WE are annoying, as I am also a backpacker. And I have a lot of backpacker friends too, of course. But going around the world and staying in multiple hostels, chatting with backpackers all over the place and observing travelers (specially in developing countries) has made me realize that some backpackers are undeserving of their freedom to travel and visit new places.
Here are 10 things to hate about backpackers!
1. They are pretentious little bastards
Asking you what countries you’ve been to, not so much because they’re really interested in knowing, but because that gives them the perfect opportunity to go on and on listing all the places they have visited. YAY, good for you!..
2. They like TO DO (?!) countries
Saying “I DID Thailand” or any other country (most typically around South-East Asia), instead of “I’ve visited” or “I’ve traveled to”. Apparently, when you land/arrive in a new country and spend a few days there downing beers, that counts as DOING a country.
3. They always talk about the same thing!
Book a bed in a dorm at a hostel and you’ll unavoidably be asked the same questions by your room mates: where are you from? where are you traveling to? how many countries have you DONE? I understand the ice needs to be broken and you have to start up a conversation somewhere. That would be fine if this annoying chit-chat wouldn’t end up in comparing travel plans more times than not. Backpackers feel glorious as they add new countries to their list. It doesn’t matter if you learnt anything from those places, those new cultures… you were there, you DID it, and of course, you’re an obnoxious self proclaimed adventure hero now!
4. They recommend stuff you couldn’t care less about…
Recommend things you MUST see and do, without even asking what kind of stuff you’re into. Backpackers LOVE talking about themselves… and talking about the things THEY like doing (as if they really meant them as tips for you). It’s just a variation of this self-adoring passion of theirs.
Tips such as telling you where you can find the cheapest beer in town (as if this was almost a question of survival) without even knowing if you drink or not, is high on the list. They just assume that, if you’re a backpacker, you HAVE to drink (A LOT).
5. They have a messed up sense of finances
Backpackers will easily complain about the price of food in a given place, even if this is a small fraction of what a similar dish would cost in their country of origin, and won’t end up eating a proper meal. But then, they can easily splurge on beer like it was tap water.
6. They bargain even with poor people
Backpackers love to get the best bang for their buck – I get that as I do too. But what pisses me off is when I see those stingy privileged assholes bargaining down a few cents with someone who clearly has less luck than they do in life. It’s disrespectful for vendors who are trying to make a decent living (in their own country!) and who are charging fair prices to begin with. Some backpackers will take advantage of their desperation, amongst all the existing competition, and feel like kings when they manage to save $0.20 on something. Shame on you!
7. They’re so condescending…
Specially when visiting developing countries and acting or think along the lines of “the white way is the right way”. This goes to comparing everything with “back home” (enter name of some western country) or loving that places are poor (because that means they can stay around for longer). The world is very diverse and there are many ways to do things – get over yourselves!
8. They go abroad and do things they would never do in their country
Like getting drunk in public and acting slutty in front of the local population or dressing in a not so proper way according to the local culture and parading their backpacker fashion like “yeah, I’m the shit!”. This applies particularly to towns near the coast (but even more shockingly, not always) or religious places. No – taking your photo with a Buddha statue in your bikini top is NOT cool!
9. They’re mommy’s little kids
Many backpackers think they are very adventurous and cool. Back in their countries, a lot of them are just mommy’s little boys and girls. Otherwise, how can you explain that they cannot prepare a meal for themselves? Clean up after themselves? Don’t know how much detergent to use or how to press START on the washing machine? They have the most horrible sense of organization and they leave balls hair after using the common showers… they don’t know how to clean the pots and pans they use in the hostel kitchen and they certainly don’t know how to keep their side of the dorm room organized (and that involves keeping stinky shoes outside too). SO annoying!
10. WTF! They have sex in dorm rooms
What’s worse than not being able to fall asleep? Having to listen to someone else having sex when you’re trying to get some rest. Also, you don’t want to even have a glimpse of those over tanned bodies with contrasting white unexposed bums… specially if they’re in the top bunk and make you shake as you try to fall asleep below.
I had once read a travel blog where the author was saying that he couldn’t sleep because the people on top of his bunk bed were having sex. Loud, shaky, out-there kind of sex – no inhibitions. Apparently, those backpackers were so drunk that once they were done with round #1, the girl came down and asked this guy: “so… you wanna dip too?“. Sharing is caring, my friends!..
What do you think?
What’s the most annoying thing about backpackers?
I’ll admit I have had sex in a hostel dorm in Morocco (shame on me), but it was very, very, very discrete. If it makes it any better I came home with scabies – not from that person, but from the bedding (picked up either there or camping in the desert or maybe from the person next to me on the plane), so you might say I got what I deserved.I don’t think someone else would bother me having sex provided they at least showed some courtesy and at least gave the impression nothing exciting was happening. As a saving grace I think it is important to point out that in many (usually developing) countries entire families (kids, parents & grandparents) all live in a single room and there is no room for privacy beyond say a patchy sheet. Who would you rather hear having sex – some strangers you never have to see again or mum and dad? (I throw that in for a bit of humour).
But you are right about some backpackers being pretentious snots. I had a bunch of guys in Krakow talking loudly outside me and 8 friends’ room at 3am and when I went out to tell them to kindly be quiet, one of the pratts opened his mouth to say an obnoxiously pretentious Oxbridge accent: “I don’t like you face” which he repeated every time I said anything.
Hostels in general terrify me and a few weeks ago I had a drunken rant to a couple of other travel blogger friends in the back of a taxi about people who stay in hostels being scumbags, or words to that effect. They just laughed understandingly and rolled their eyes.
Oh boy… naughty you in Morocco!! ;)
I especially hate #2. Eurgh! Fortunately, I’ve never been witness to #10, but I agree, WTF?! If you want to have sex, get a private room, or else go somewhere where the other people watching actually want to watch!
“somewhere where the other people watching actually want to watch!” hahaha, really good advice here!! :P
i feel sorry for myself, for never witness #10. LOL
You’re probably better off that way!! ;)
I came across your blog a good few months ago, and now i started mine I wanted to follow it. So I just spent 20 mins hunting it down on google to then remember that i sent a link to my boyfriend :/ anyway it was totally worth it! I love your blog, its so inspiring.
As for annoying backpackers, I’m yet to meet a lot as we have just started traveling so thanks for the heads up! haha
Thanks a lot, Jamila!
I am so glad you found us again!
Happy travels and all the best.. I hope you don’t have to encounter too many annoying backpackers out there! ;)
for me nr 9 is the most annoying one. When I check into my hostel room and i see so many dirty things of the floor I fell like killing someone!
Ugh! The last time I stayed in a hostel (and I swear that was the last time I ever will) I personally witnessed the most shameless example of #10 I’ve ever seen, and it was mid morning! After they left, the cleaners came in, shouted a bit, and then a security guard came and removed the entire mattress from the room! God only knows what that was all about.
i am from asia.
regarding #8, i understand, that maybe asia is too hot for western people. so i don’t miind people do such thing. as long as they have a good shape of body. and i enjoy watching
My observation says if hostel owner is strict enough + if the hostel is small it’s all good. Big hostels sometimes are really messed up by club/pub crawlers.
It’s really disappointing to see some people who just visit various countries to hang out at night & they sleep all day in underwear without sheets even if it’s cold…Yuk!!! They pays in cents to free walking tours but they don’t bother to spend lot of $$$ at clubs every night.
Lastly being a Indian backpacker, I always bite my nails when I see toilets with no hand shower. So on I always carry 1 empty plastic bottle with me even while transiting airports with long hauls. Ha Ha Ha!!!
Hahaa.. you’re not the first Indian traveler we meet that carries a plastic bottle of water to the bathroom. In times of need, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, right?! :D
What really annoys me is the sheer arrogance of so many backpackers who somehow comsider themselves to be a higher status than ‘tourists’. We are all visitors to someone else’s country and should treat people and places with respect…and don’t forget that some of us old, grey haired tourists were hostelling way, way before your parents even got togther!
Yes, Yes, Yes, and Helllll Yes. To everything. I was just telling my friend about another friend who’s been pretty much everywhere in the world (she hosteled/CouchSurfed for five years, plus gone to school and worked abroad) but is so completely humble – she didn’t even bother ticking off where she’s been on the CouchSurfers app, ’cause it’s just not about that for her. I’ve studied/lived in China and Australia and’ve met a lotta backpackers and they mostly seem to wanna journal about their experiences, swap stories (i.e., brag about themselves), out-do each other regarding how Third-World they’ve gone (Somalia!), and bash the US (e.g., “It’s not REAL.”). The kids traveling through Australia are the worst, IMHO, ’cause you can’t really expect to earn street cred for backpacking through big, modern, wealthy cities that have better QoL scores than your country of origin. I’ve never been to Thailand nor Amsterdam but I hear those kids take the cake. So as I’m telling my friend about my non-annoying backpacker-friend and the obnoxious nature of backpacker culture, she realizes that her son, who’s moved to Australia, grown dreads, and travels the country taking graveyard shifts managing hostels, has become THIS. She recently spent three weeks visiting him and he kept giving her grief for wanting to rent quaint AirBnB cottages… He actually thought his mom should stay in communal-room hostels with him “for the experience.” She’s like Ummmmm I’m 55 and grew up in Soviet Russia – I’m good! Oh and the haggling thing… Yes, they’re cheap, but also they think you’re “supposed” to, ’cause it’s part of the culture and vendors “get offended” if you don’t haggle.
Now this is what you called an extreme backpacker they don’t care of what will happen all they think is just only fun, I think this is normal when you are out of your country. :)
I came across this post because I’m currently in the middle of Asia, Koh Samui to be exact and I absolutely hate it. For years I wanted to backpack and it wasn’t until 8 months ago after a brutal breakup that I booked to visit Thailand. My image was I’d be lying on a beech for four weeks, boating it to other islands every now and again and drinking coconut water. The reality is entirely different. I didn’t do much research on Thailand which was my own mistake, so I didn’t realise how much club culture had taken over. I had planned to stay in hotels instead of hostels, nothing too extravagant but the friend I’m travelling with told me when we got here that she wouldn’t be able to do that and that it would be hostels. I could go on and on with reasons why this backpacking thing just isn’t for me. I have cut my trip short by two weeks, keeping in mind that I spent two weeks in Greece before flying out here. I was told that the only way I would grow as a person was to be out of my comfort zone. I have plenty of things ahead of me when I get home like moving to a new city. People grow in different ways and just because one way is good for one person doesn’t mean it will be for everyone else. Backpacking isn’t for me.
Just having a laugh at the article, by the way, I’ve never been a backpacker, but I’m an expat living in the middle east (have been for quite a few years). Point one can easily apply to a lot of Brit expats as well; several years ago I started what was at first a quite enjoyable conversation about travelling with another Brit guy at a social gathering. After a short time, another guy came wandering across and opened with “oh, you’re talking about visiting so-and-so, well when I was in the Navy we were detached to so-and-so for 6 months and….”; before I know it these two had cut me completely out of the conversation while they’re busily playing one upmanship with each other about how when they were in the Navy/Air Force or how when they started working “abroad”, they spent x amount of time on detachment or working in ……, having the most wonderful time doing ……, how drunk they got in …….., while I’ve suddenly ceased to exist as far as they’re concerned. So 40 and 50-something expats can be right pretentious little bastards as well.
Hey John! As someone who lived in Dubai for several years, dealing with expats who love drinking, I can concur that yes indeed… 50somethings can be as annoying as backpackers in their early 20s! :P
I hate everything about backpacking and hostels….Why the feck would one ACTUALLY wanna share ones space with random people….we Get apartments ….Just me and husband…..bliss…no smelly randoms…people making bs conversations and my belongings are safe…..we’re Just not into the whole sharing of kitchen or loo … find it all a bit ewwww
I see what you mean by annoying backpackers but I object to that photo of what not to wear in India.
If it put equal focus on the man who is wearing only shorts then maybe that would make the moralizing more tolerable, but clothing policing for women only is sexist.