1. The Flashpacker
Mascara? Check. Hairdryer? Check. Fake tan? Check (Just for those behind the bikini white bits that the sun can’t get to.) Boy oh Boy. Backpacking just ain’t what it used to be. Gone are the days of travelling with one pair of dirty shorts and a scruffy vest you wash in the stream once a week! The ‘flashpackers’ are a new breed of travellers who don’t like to compromise on home comforts one iota along their journey. From mountain top to shore, they seek luxury wherever they go. Cockroach infested dorm room? Er I don’t think so.
2. The Beer Guzzler / Party Animal
BeerLao, Tiger, Singha, Saigon, Angkor, not to mention the infamous Samsung… If sampling the local liquor’s what travelling’s all about then this disorientated backpacker gets top marks. Pale faced through lack of daylight, the beer guzzler is commonly spotted at the local Irish bar, donning a ‘SAME SAME’ T-shirt or occasionally an ‘In the Tubing’ T-shirt, proof that they did actually make it off the Khao San road! This nocturnal animal is seeing the world from the bottom of a beer glass and is having a blast meeting different people along the way to share a bevvy with. Who needs temples, museums and culture when all you could possibly need is right there in a bucket for 200 baht?
Leeches, cockroaches, six foot Komodo dragons. Give me what you’ve got. Nothing vexes this Bear Grills wannabee. Constantly striving to get off the beaten track, this explorer’s essential items include a compass, a pair of Lowe Alpine waterproofs that detach above the knee and a roll of toilet paper for those caught short in the wild moments. White water rafting, jungle treks, bungee jumping, hell, even that dreaded slide at the fourth bar ‘Tubing’, this adventurer is up for anything. Preferring to go it alone rather than in packs, this backpacker is the rarest to spot of all the species.
The Soul Searcher
“I’m going to travel the world to find myself!” were the parting words on the lips of this bewildered wanderer as they fled the safety of the nest in search of deeper meaning in life. Sporting tie-dye fisherman pants, Henna tattoos, necklaces made out of vegetables, Hindu spots on their foreheads and Buddha bracelet’s round their wrists, this type of traveller is likely to enroll on meditation retreats and yoga courses in pursuit of their quest. You’ll find them traveller lingering at temples, loitering on mountain tops or occasionally trying to converse with a very bemused beer guzzler in a bar.
Their itinerary reads like an expertly planned military expedition. Up and out at 6am, two museums before breakfast, followed by a tour of four historical monuments, a temple or three over lunchtime, a route march through a local market in the afternoon, stopping for precisely ten minutes at four ancient houses, two art galleries and a zoo, and finish the day with just one more museum, a botanical garden and a spot of local dancing before retiring. Often spotted with a guide book or map in hand, dragging around a young rookie backpacker they met on the bus who has been naively accosted into the mission. Whatever else you can say about this backpacker, you certainly can’t say that they don’t make the most out of their day. But alas, the joys of just sitting in a café with a beer, people watching are unknown to this busy bee. What’s the rush?