Dude, Where’s My Shoes? & 16 Other Annoying Things Backpackers Do…

Backpackers are wonderful creatures, but there’s always one isn’t there…? Or two, or three, or a bus-load! If you recognise yourself or your pal in these characteristics – don’t worry! This article is intended to be a light-hearted look at all of us and is not meant to offend anyone. I personally have committed these backpacker crimes myself – including the first one….

1. Dude, Where’s My Shoes?

It’s baking hot and heat waves are rising from the tarmac road, so what does the stupid backpacker do? Kick off their flip-flops and decide to walk barefoot into town. None of the locals would walk barefoot along the road, not if they can afford a pair of shoes, yet the Western backpacker braves gravel, dirt, stones, scorpions, parasites and other hazards in order to look cool. Well, we’ve got news for you – feigning poverty is not cool and it’s not “spiritual” – put your shoes on!
Backpackers wearing no shoes in Southeast Asia. Super spiritual man.

2. Dude, Where’s My Shirt?

Despite the laid-back attitude to rules in many parts of Asia, if you do your research (or at least open your eyes when travelling), you’ll notice that many locals are rather modest in the way they dress and there’s a polite etiquette to what you should wear and when. Wearing no shirt and skimpy shorts are okay by the beach, but in restaurants, put your top on. When riding a bike around town, put your top on. When visiting temples – do we need to tell you this?
Sign outside a temple in Southeast Asia.
It’s respectful to dress appropriately in Southeast Asia.

3. Oh. My. God. You paid HOW MUCH?

Backpackers have this annoying habit of competitively comparing how little they have managed to pay for everything. You’ve just secured yourself a good deal on a hostel for the night and you’re feeling chuffed with yourself, then you hear a backpacker say – “Yeah, we just got a hostel for 20 baht/night, including free food and laundry. You paid HOW MUCH? THAT’S SO EXPENSIVE! (Roll eyes emoticon).
The less you spend of this stuff, the cooler you will be.

4. Urgh, I hated Bangkok / Thailand / South East Asia – it’s all so touristy.

Did you get off Khao San Road? Southeast Asia has loads of non-touristy places and they’re often not very far away from the main backpacker hubs. Take a long walk and get very lost down the back streets before you declare an entire city or country ‘too touristy’!

5. I don’t like to mix with fellow Westerners when I travel.

Except you see them mixing with fellow Westerners, telling them that they don’t like to mix with fellow Westerners when they travel. “I prefer to hang out with the locals and have local experiences.” Yeah, it’s great to want to get to know the locals when you travel to a new place, but this doesn’t mean that you can pretend you’re the only Westerner there and ignore anyone that you meet from your own country. How about just being a nice person to everyone?
Two backpackers at the full moon party.
Why would you NOT want to hang out with other Westerners?

6. Everyone crashes their bike in South East Asia.

Oh, it’s so cool to have a motorbike accident or get a ‘farang tattoo’ (an exhaust burn on your leg) from getting off the wrong side of the bike. You just haven’t been to Asia if you haven’t got a good scar! Grow up.
Three Boys Rest at the side of the Road on a Motorbike Ride
It’s not cool to crash your motorbike in Southeast Asia!

7. I want to feel the wind in my hair!

Put a helmet on or you won’t have a head.

8. Let’s jump for a photo.

Oh please. Please let’s not.

9. I have never been with such beautiful people. I love everyone right now. #Blessed ?

What are your names again?

10. Hippie chic wardrobe.

Before they came away they went straight to the ‘Glastonbury section’ of Topshop and got themselves kitted out with shabby-chic garb so they can look like they’re in bohemian fancy dress when they travel.
All ready for backpacking in Southeast Asia!

11. Oh, you HAVE TO go to Myanmar.

What happens if I don’t go?

12. No, I don’t want a F*?k’n suit, tuk-tuk or massage, thank you very much, T-shirt.

Upon first glance, this T-shirt is quite amusing, but just think how insulting this is to the local people who are trying to make a living from wealthy tourists who visit their country. Yes, you may get asked a thousand times, but why not learn a little of the local language and learn to say ‘no thank you’ and you’ll be left alone, instead of wearing this disrespectful t-shirt.
Don’t buy this T-shirt!

13. Call you by the name of the country you’re from.

“Hey Belgium, are you coming for drinks. Germany and France are coming!” Your memory hasn’t been that shot at by the buckets you’ve drunk to remember people’s names, surely?

14. Crusty old grumpy backpackers.

“Back when I first came here, there was only one bar, a few local street food stalls and not a 7-11 in sight. Never mind buckets, we all sat around a campfire drinking rice wine!” (Mmh. This one sounds too familiar.)

15. Warped economics.

After spending half an hour haggling with a rickshaw driver to lower the price of their journey by a measly 10 rupees, you walk straight into a bar and spend 300 rupees on an imported craft beer. Does that make you feel good about yourself?

16. Have you read ‘The Power of Now?’

Upon hearing about this book for the 19th time today, you’ll understand why I don’t want to appreciate the moment, thank you.

17. I can play the Ukelele.

No, no, you can’t.

What annoys you about fellow backpackers?

Nikki Scott - Founder South East Asia Backpacker
Nikki Scott | Founder & Editor

Nikki is the founding editor of South East Asia Backpacker and The Backpacker Network. In her early twenties, she left her home in the North of England on a solo backpacking adventure and never returned! After six months on the road, she founded a print magazine that became legendary on the Banana Pancake Trail. The rest is history.

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