Staying at a hostel is a lot like summer camp, but with fewer bears and more rowdy Australians. You sleep in a room with strangers, you eat cheap food, and you meet interesting people you might not interact with otherwise. The locations change, and sometimes the sheets do, too (if you're lucky), but inevitably, you're gonna have a pretty similar experience at all of them.
And here are 11 people you'll meet at every hostel. They'll forever change your life, liver, and occasionally the tattoo-covered-ness of your butt cheek...
He wears mom jeans and bowling shirts, but that doesn't stop him from drinking with you and the other hostel-dwellers too young to remember floppy disks (remember those things?). He tells stories about that one time he partied on a boat with Steve Guttenberg right after the release of 3 Men and a Little Lady, then creeps everybody out by ordering suggestively-named shots. Though you may be tempted, do your best to avoid calling him sir, or using his senior discount to your advantage.
They didn't come all this way to sit around, eat fairy bread, and read books all day. They're itching to show you the best spots to drink, since they've already been in town for a week and have mostly been drinking; amazingly, they still wake up in time to get that free breakfast. Somehow, every single Australian is traveling for six months and doesn't worry about working, ever. But they're nice enough to tolerate your lame boomerang jokes and frequent questions about Steve Irwin. So no worries.
He's not concerned with judgement, broken glass, or the diseases that inevitably live on the hostel floor. He'd much rather go on nature walks and smoke pot than do any traditional sightseeing, just because museums and statues are manmade constructs. He's chill and easy to make friends with, but don't touch his beard or copy of Thoreau's Walden without asking.
The (Really) Dirty Guy
You can smell when this guy enters and leaves the room. He loves exploring the city, but apparently not the inside of a shower stall.
They're young, they’re in love, and they’re at each other’s throats all... the f*&k#ng... time. Traveling the world together sure seemed like a good idea when they left Albuquerque a few months ago, but now they’d rather yell, point, and throw each other’s stuff out the window over who's going to shower first. Inevitably, they will break up when they get home, but they're gonna make everyones' lives miserable first.
The Sex Couple
Now that they’ve found each other, these two won't be pulled apart for anything -- not bed bugs, not the weird music the Portuguese guy in the next room is blasting, not even the fact that you're sitting in the next bunk bed trying to address the awesome postcards you just bought. They want to do sex, and they're gonna do sex, whether you like it or not.
Study Abroad Girls
They travel in packs, wear matching scarves, and love to talk about having Italian boyfriends (even if it's just a guy they made out with once). They're also trying to hoard Instagram likes while checking off as many countries from their bucket list as possible.
He insists he’s traveling just to take a break from the high-stress environment of work -- you know, from that high-paying job he definitely has. He can afford his own hotel room, but he's staying in a several-person dorm room because he loves meeting new people and doesn't need to spend all his money on stuff. He'd rather spend it on experiences, and tells you that as unsolicited advice. Hope that one day you too can be successful while living out of a backpack.
She LOVES to go out, and will insist on teaching everyone to how to twerk. She orders shots of tequila at every bar, no matter what city she's in, and will explain the intricacies of real EDM compared to David Guetta. She's fun to go out with, but make sure you hit the eject button before she proposes ending the night with matching tattoos.
Acoustic Guitar Guy
He’s no Jimi Hendrix, but that guitar is just begging for him to play Purple Haze. He acts all humble, but is really doing it to try and make panties drop. If you get to know him, he may even teach you the three or so chords he knows.
The Adopted Local
Don't even think about asking this guy to go to Starbucks with you, or to take your ironic picture with the Mickey Mouse costume guy in the town square. He'll be there to correct your pronunciation of local landmarks and list off endless facts about this city -- all while insisting that you can't truly know the soul of a place until you've stopped speaking English and started thinking in the local language.