The 7 Backpacker Assholes To Avoid

Travelling is not all about the places you go, it’s largely about the people you meet. Whenever I hit the road I meet a whole range of eccentric, sexy, hilarious and downright wonderful people. Unfortunately, the nation of Backpackistan is cursed with a stubborn horde of assholes who you will want to do your best to avoid. Luckily for you, avid explorer, I have designed this list of the worst offenders so that you can identify your foes from a distance and steer well clear.

 backpacker assholes

Perhaps one of the most annoying people you will meet on the road, the Yoga Mystic tries way too hard to be cool and is somewhat obsessed with doing yoga in as crowded a place as possible. Unfortunately, yoga mystics tend to be rather good looking so you may find yourself lured into an idiotic conversation by accident. They are a fan of patronizing, non-sensical comments and are usually out on a short trip to ‘reinvent’ themselves. When drunk, the Yoga Mystic has a tendency to dance in a floatey, rather hilarious, manner and flash everyone.

Catch Phrase: “It’s OK that you don’t want to try Tibetan Chakra Rain Dance Massage today, everybody has to take their own journey and one day you will arrive at the higher level of being at which I reside”

backpacker assholes

A frequent visitor to the fast food stalls, Captain Pancake is often obscured in a haze of marijuana smoke. He is a great person to hang out with for an afternoon, just don’t get stuck – he’s really quite boring and in desperate need of a shower.

Catch Phrase: “Hey man, shall we try a weed pancake?”

backpacker assholes

God knows why these guys decide to go exploring in the frigid mountains of Backpackistan. Usually these loud, obnoxious, creatures will travel in groups. They scare easily, but they’ll be back, and in greater numbers. Avoid at all costs if they are drinking, they will at some point whip off their England shirt to show their England tattoo plastered across their stomach. They are often one of the stars in our sex in hostels post.

Catch Phrase: “Engalaaaand, Engalaaaand, Engalaaaaand! Oi Geezer, where’s the footy on then!?”

backpacker assholes

Dreadlocks should be your first warning. A guitar slung across the back is your second. If they have tattered Ali Baba trousers, run… you’re in for a full blown douche-bag attack. The wannabe adventurer is obsessed with being ‘the best’ and will aim to outdo everyone they meet with a long list of the places they have travelled and the deeds they have accomplished. If your really lucky, you might be able to get away from them before they start showing you how many stamps they have in their passports or telling you which countries they have ‘done’.

Catch Phrase: Yeah man, Burma’s pretty cool, of course you had to go ten years ago to really feel the culture, you know?”

backpacker assholes

One of the quietest offenders but nonetheless a dangerous adversary. Be careful when choosing where to sit on the bus, if you sit too close you will be stuck with this person showing you literally every single piece of kit they own.

Catch Phrase: “Have you seen my solar-powered-dildo-camera, it’s a really neat bit of kit, let me take you into this darkened room and show you how it works”

backpacker assholes

Avoid at all costs. These are the backpackers who give the rest of us a bad name. Convinced that they are being ripped off, even when they aren’t, they will argue for up to an hour over ridiculously small sums of money. They usually travel in packs and seem uninterested in learning anything about the place they have come to visit. They have a tendency to get loud, drunk and aggressive.

Catch Phrase: “No, no, no! I know for a fact that the price is under one dollar, I was here ten years ago and that was the price then!”

backpacker assholes

Convinced that all the locals do in fact speak multiple international languages this specimen will ask the same questions again and again in gradually louder tones. Do not be near them when they start to shout, it gets embarrassing. They are usually found in international restaurant chains and are fond of bright shirts and stupid hats.

Catch Phrase: “You tell me – good price – nice McDonalds – where?”

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  • Avatar Timbo says:

    Im an expat in SE Asia and have been for 12 years. They tend to avoid us generally…what.irritates me is ive genuininly tried to be helpful when ive seen tgem need help or ask for it, and they alnost never listen as they met someone at burning man who told them etc….

  • Avatar Jeff says:

    This is accurate. I went to a lot of music festivals in my late teens and actually met a few wannabe adventurers. Your description is so accurate – them having guitars with them is actually what lured me in because I’m a guitarist myself, but them trying to “out best” everyone is so nerve wrecking. Such a bunch of show offs. But this article made my day

  • Avatar Sujan says:

    Yoga on the bus was the most funnest one pictures for me. Thanks for sharing your craziness.

  • Avatar Marco says:

    Good Shit Will
    Had a good laugh but all so true!!
    In Cambodia at present re. Hard Driver last night a couple ferals trying low ball cafe staff out of 50c
    Possibly less than a postage stamp in their country. Lol

  • Avatar Gerald says:

    Hahahaha so true, especially English backpackers they come in groups and they are drunk and loud

  • Avatar Josh says:

    I hate seeing ‘backpackers’ eating at mcdo but I’m also guilty bargaining drivers.

  • Hysterical! That article is a verrrrry clever piece of writing and acting (I hope you were acting)! Still laughing. Oh yes, we have all seen them, unfortunately. haha

  • I actually strive to be “The Wannabe Adventurer” lol

  • Avatar Eileen Bradley says:

    I have met all of these people, but the hagglers are the worst of this list.

    The main one I’m missing here is the scrounger. That dude who will always be next to you when you start preparing your food, looking hungry, even if he isn’t. Pretending to be your best friend and subtly guilt tripping you into “sharing”. Usually they are funny, charming and entertaining. So it might take a while for you to catch on to the fact that you are slowly but surely being drained of food, drinks, smokes and possibly money even.

    Dude, I have money cause I worked for it, now go away and grow up!

  • Avatar K. says:

    You forgot the dude who likes to loudly tell everyone everywhere they’ve been in a marriage of empty adjectives and intensifiers “SOOOOO GOOD.” “REALLY NICE.” “AMAZING.” Then point out how much endlessly better these places were than the place you’re currently at. I’ve met 4 of these this week. 🙁

    Great post! 🙂

  • Avatar Barry says:

    I’ve been meeting lots of Yoga Mystic and Captain Pancake recently. They seem to always be hanging around the hostel pool in Cambodia!

  • Avatar Liz says:

    This is hilarious and very accurate! We are taking our kids backpacking around South East Asia this winter and I cant wait to see their faces when we meet some of these characters.

  • Hahaha! These are great! My least favourite– The Vocal Linguist– I want to punch these people in the mouth anytime I hear them talking, especially when they use broken English to talk to people around the world who actually understand and speak very well. Dicks.


  • Hilarious posting mate! I’ve met all of these people and sadly I could probably fit into the “wannabe adventurer” category. But I don’t brag. Honest. Not counting that time that I went to Hong Kong and the British flag was still flying LOL…..!

  • Avatar Katie says:

    I get most annoyed at the drunk every night/hungover every day backpackers that barely leave their hostel. Why not just drunk at home, surely it would be cheaper?

  • HAHA this post is priceless. I’ve definitely met all of these along my travels. They are all spread throughout south-east Asia. Thanks for a good laugh. : )

  • This should be required reading for every college-age dude getting ready to travel in Southeast Asia. It NAILED IT!

    I’m the dude with the yellow shirt and the camera at the top of the page. I guess I wasn’t offensive enough to really make the list.

  • Avatar Adrian says:

    Met all of these twits abroad! Great list! I’d have to add Digital Nomad though, especially ones who have to update their Facebooks every five minutes with a pic of their laptop on a beach – “Look where I have to work! Gosh, life is tough!”. I know far too many people who do this so hopefully they won’t see my comment, haha…

  • “The Driver of Impossible Bargains” Yes, definitely the most obnoxious. These are often the same guys that want to save four cents on a bottled water from an old hill tribe lady because secretly they are saving up for a “beemer” when they get back home.

    • Haha!! Too right buddy, it just makes my skin crawl when people argue over a couple of cents; don’t get me wrong, I dont have much cash so I refuse to get ripped off but I’m happy paying what is fair 🙂

  • Avatar Tara- Hippie Hits The Road says:

    Will, your posts are hilarious! Laughing my ass off now! I’ve definitely met many people like this… Sometimes I’m guilty of a few of them (especially smelling of marijuana and needing a shower, lol), and I did just buy a pair of baggy trousers… But they’re just so damn comfortable!
    Looking forward to reading more of your stuff

  • Avatar Dariece says:

    Awesome post 🙂

    But the best part has to be the pics of you…omg, the wannabe adventurer?! Seriously?! Awesome.

  • This is brilliant and so so accurate. Haha! I met a guy in Santiago, Chile and made the mistake of spending the day with him… he was trying to navigate the city with a compass. I was so embarrassed to be standing next to him and his cargo shorts and socks in sandals. After giving him a fair shot with his compass and map (and pretty much a sign begging to come rob us) I finally just went and asked for directions.

  • Hilarious!!! I know everyone of these assholes….seen them on the road TOO much!

  • Hahahaha, this is hilarious! But let’s be honest, without these jerks our travels would be way more boring!

  • Avatar Karianne says:

    This post really made me chuckle – and its so true. Thank you for making me smile on a mid week morning!

    We encountered every one of your backpacker types while we were in Asia. I think the “been there, done that” wannabe adventure wound me up the most.

  • Avatar Katarina says:

    Hahaha that’s spot on. But I don’t think they should be avoided though, these are the people who make travelling memorable and there’s something to learn from every human being.

  • Avatar Sally Munt says:

    Haha I absolutely love this. The more I travel the more people I meet that I do not want in my dorm room! I cannot stand the know alls and the ‘lads on tour’ drunk English and American groups, they are good to laugh at!

  • You forgot the know-it-all. They’ve been everywhere and know everything. You couldn’t possibly teach them anything they don’t already know.

  • Avatar Samantha says:

    Lol love the pics. I used to be annoyed the most by the wannabe adventurer but after traveling longer, my pet peeve is the cheap bastards haha or as you put the driver of impossible bargains. It’s impossible not to cringe and be embarrassed that you’re friends with the guy who won’t pay a dollar to the poor local guy who is watching your car because you’re entering his property. Ugh.

  • Avatar Sarah says:

    Haha, that’s really funny. I’ve seen some of those people abroad, so true!^^

  • Will, I had to comment again because I’m still LMAO…..this time from Bali 😉

    Thanks dude!


  • Avatar David says:

    Hahaha these are amazing. I love the yoga mystic. I’ve met so many people like that. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good yoga session, but sometimes they’re a little much.

  • HAHAHA this is gold! So true… There are all of these type out there, what are ya going do?

    Oh big beautiful world…You funny place, you. :-p

  • Avatar Lucy says:

    Love this! I think we have the same brain – I wrote one creepily similar to you…
    Clearly we’re both irritated by the same things!

  • I am not a backpacker … but on my trip to Thailand I met two kinds “Yoga Mystic” and “Vocal Linguist” … …

    “Have you seen my solar-powered-dildo-camera, it’s a really neat bit of kit, let me take you into this darkened room and show you how it works”


  • Hey Will!

    Hahaha nice round up. 🙂 My pet peeve are the hagglers. One guy I was with last year insisted on haggling over $2 peddicab fee at 2 in the morning, after the guys had said they’d take us to every hotel until they found one we liked, and do all the bargaining for us in the local language including waking people up, and they would take us as far as needed. There are times to haggle, but that was NOT one of them. I was so embarrassed!!


    • Awww man, I’ve met some real tight characters on the road but that guy sounds like a real pain!! When you are embarrassed it can be hard, in the past I have pointed out to people that they are just being rude, it can sometimes be worth doing 🙂

  • Nice one. I was thinking about doing a similar post but I don’t think I can better this. Great site!

  • Haha, some travelers can be so obnoxious! Thanks for giving me a laugh 🙂

  • Lots of Yoga Mystiques in India and wearing those ridiculous baggy *local* clothes….!

  • Avatar Anastasia says:

    This is great! Made me visualise and smile, you are very precise! :))

  • Avatar Amanda says:

    Haha hilarious! You forgot super-loud-drunk-girl-who-usually-throws-up-somewhere, the one usually making out with dude-who-always-takes-his-clothes-off-in-inappropriate-places


  • Avatar Tez says:

    Ah yes, the wannabe adventurer! Very funny writeup; I may have spilled some hot chocolate on my shirt.

    Once met an individual on the metro in Korea who just had to let us know where he’s been since “taking a year off from college.” And yes the passport was flashed at one point.

    • Until recently I had an awesome, totally full, passport complete with many awesome visas… I never shoved it in anyones face or anything but it was pretty awesome! Sadly I now have just one stamp in my brand new passport…

  • Hi Will,

    Ha! LOLing from Savusavu, Fiji. You can probably hear me.

    The price wars/I’m always being ripped off/every local is a bastard who wants to bleed me dry/I own a $600 backpack but will haggle over a $1 sandwich is a funny one.

    They fight and scratch for every last penny yet, they have money. Or, they have money, but a mental illness that screams “I am a victim.”

    These are the type of folks who, when you tell them you rented a kick ass, clean, place in Thailand, for $300, will tell you, “you paid too much”, or “you’ve been ripped off.”

    I often think: “On what planet?”

    Insane, and funny. We rented an apartment in Chiang Mai for $600 a month earlier this year. In our home state of New Jersey this would have *easily* went for $2500 in Hoboken, the type of place that professional basketball players and American football players rent, and I guarantee that even after they saw the lap of luxury we were living in, they’d no doubt tell us we paid too much….only to haggle with the street stall owner down stairs a few minutes later about the 45 Baht full, delish meal that is “too much.”

    LOL funny.

    Tweeting soon.


    • Hi Ryan! Aw man – sounds like you are living THE life!! I would love to stay in a kick ass place like that, maybe in a couple of years when I’m rich and famous haha! Great to hear from you man, I’ve been following your work for a while and I’m a big fan! I love your style of gaining momentum through blog comments – I’m hoping to get down to reading your book soon but at the moment things are moving crazy fast for me (in a good way!) and I simply havn’t made the time!! I will though, that I promise! 🙂

    • Avatar the one that lives there says:

      LOL Figures only Jersey heads get ripped off and brag about it. I am that NON backpacker Mystic that lived in Thailand ooooh 6 years. In Bangkok (that is the capital) you can get a private house with a huge yard in the middle of the city for about that. In CM you should be able to do better, but hey when Jersey comes to Manhattan they think $3 hot dog is a great deal, back home they get half that size for $1.50, and WHAT FLAVOR! Well hey as long as you enjoyed yourself is what matters. But I wouldn’t brag about paying 2x as much for something as it normally costs.
      “I once bought som tam for $2 F*&^ YAH!”
      “Dude, it’s .80 cents.”
      “Man at home you can’t get a used condom for $2 so whatever.”

  • We met the dreadlocks type in Mongolia and now in Nepal seeing a lot of the yoga wannabe types.

    Very funny post but so so true!!

  • This was so hilarious that I wish I’d written it 😛

  • Avatar simon says:

    Haha, I hope these aren’t actual photos of backpacker assholes you’ve met along the way! Well done, sir – you’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head with all of these annoying backpacker types. I hope I never become one of these types…

    • God no, although perhaps I should start hunting real backpacker assholes with my crazy camera zoom! I think I just might! Thanks for your comments buddy, I just checked out your site, it’s looking good! Keep up the good work man! 🙂

  • Avatar Danie says:

    Oh my god this made me so happy. Well, you know, mildly depressed at the fact that we all meet the same characters on repeat, but happy that I’m not alone in my observations! Check out my site sometime if you’re keen, and keep on making me smile!

    • Hi Danie! I love your site! It’s really unique! So are you hitching down to Patagonia now? I’m rocking up in Guatemala in a week and working my way down to columbia and then venezuela over the next six months – let’s grab a beer! 🙂

  • Avatar Kach says:

    Well this is funny but I’m guilty with all of them! lol

  • The wannabe adventurer is definitely the most common of these. Anyone who asks you how many countries you’ve been to is sure to be one.

  • Avatar Anje says:

    Shit this is awesome, I enjoyed this post way too much!

  • Haha funny, I think my favorite one is the Yoga mystic. The Rain Dance lol I totally met an entire group of those recently, but they were super nice. They did try to enlighten me with verses from some obscure book, but I can’t recall much of it, was wearing my beer goggles that night.

    • Avatar Riccardo says:

      AHAHAHAH You are an idol! Great post but…you maybe forgot 1 type of Backpacker: The Solo! He/She is traveling “solo”, but in real he/she ’s only waiting for someone to stick to and don’t let go until he/she finds someone else…
      Basically, he/she jumps from a group, a couple or another solo backpacker to another…he/she is alone only in the toilet, maybe…

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