It may strike you as odd that I, someone who spent my entire twenties backpacking, would write an article about why backpackers are so annoying.
After all, I met most of my friends while backpacking, and although I now have a home base and don’t consider myself a backpacker per se, I still travel with a backpack and stay in hostels whenever I do travel, making me very much part of the backpacker crowd.
However, when you’ve spent as much time with backpackers as I have, you naturally develop some pet peeves.
Now, before I get into the pet peeves themselves, I will acknowledge that I’ve been guilty of almost every single one of these myself – I am 100% an annoying backpacker too.
This isn’t supposed to be taken super seriously – it’s just a tongue-in-cheek look at backpackers, and why they’re so damn annoying!
So, if you’re ready to learn why are backpackers so annoying, just keep reading.
Why Are Backpackers So Annoying? 9 Annoying Things Backpackers Do
1. Count countries
Now, when I refer to ‘counting countries,’ I don’t mean that you sit down and tally up the number of places you’ve visited every once in a while.
That’s perfectly normal (and not annoying).
I’m talking about the type of backpacker who speeds from place to place, spending a night in each country just to tick them off a list and consider them ‘done.’
You should travel for the love of travel, not because you’re racing to visit ’30 before 30′ or some other BS goal that is more about bragging rights than raw experience.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people say that they’re only bothering to visit a certain country (cough – Kosovo – cough), because they’re ‘in the area anyway‘ and ‘it counts as another country.’
Not only is this a really obnoxious way of flaunting your privilege (some people only dream of travel, and you’re going somewhere just to tick it off a list), but it’s also very insulting to whichever country you’re talking about!
Visit a place because you’re interested in the food, the people, the culture, and the nature.
Visit a place because you want to learn something, to experience something. Don’t visit it for the sake of it being another number on your list.
2. Having super high expectations of hostels
Having worked at various hostels, I’ve been on the receiving end of some of the most ridiculous complaints ever.
For example, I worked in a hostel on the beach in Cambodia. Accommodation was 4-6 USD per night, and every night guests were allowed two free beers.
We had complaints about everything from noise (it was a party hostel with a midnight music curfew) to sand in the beds.
Now, I hate to break it to you, dear guests, but if you stay in a hostel ON THE BEACH and get into bed without rinsing your feet, THERE IS GOING TO BE SAND ON THE SHEETS.
At the end of the day, if you’re sharing a dorm room with 10 people and paying basically nothing, it stands to reason that sometimes you might not get a good night’s sleep.
Maybe the kitchen isn’t as nice as the one you have back home, or maybe someone left skid marks in the toilet and you came across it before the cleaner did.
I’ve certainly stayed in some less than ideal hostels, but when you’re paying a few bucks a night and you’ve got a hot shower, free coffee and a bed to sleep in, is it really worth kicking up a fuss about?
If you want better, pay for better.
(Note: I do know that there are some genuinely really bad hostels out there that deserve the bad reviews. However, I’m talking about people that expect Grade A facilities when they’re not willing to pay Grade A prices.)
3. Haggling over ridiculously small amounts of money
Of course, in some places, bargaining is part of the culture (Morocco, for example), and if you think that you’re being ripped off then by all means try to haggle to get a fairer price.
However, when you find yourself arguing for 10 minutes over the equivalent of 20 cents, you have to stop and ask yourself – is it really worth it?
If you really want to buy whatever you’re haggling over, then just pay the extra 20 cents.
It won’t make a difference to you in the long run, and believe it or not, people are not always trying to rip you off.
How would you feel if you left knowing that you’d pressured somebody to go out of pocket just so that you could gloat about getting a better deal?
4. Not befriending any locals
Sometimes you just don’t have any opportunity to hang out with local people, and that’s fine.
However, all too often I meet backpackers that only ever want to associate with other backpackers, without showing the slightest bit of interest at getting to know local people.
Don’t get me wrong – I love meeting fellow travellers, but some of my fondest memories of Cambodia aren’t partying with Brits and Australians – they’re of sitting on plastic chairs on the sand, eating fish and drinking beer with the local boys that worked in my hostel.
The reason I love Poland so much isn’t because of all the crazy nights I’ve had at party hostels (although I do have a soft spot for one particular party hostel in Poland), but because I’ve been lucky enough to befriend tonnes of Polish people who have invited me into their homes and lives.
Again, I understand that it’s not always possible to meet local people when you travel.
That said, I do strongly believe that if you just try a little harder, you’d be surprised at the people you meet and the experiences you have.
Next time you’re in a foreign country, try to strike up conversation with somebody at a bus stop or in a bar.
You never know – they might become your new best friend!
5. Loudly proclaiming how cheap somewhere is
If I’m only in the company of other relatively well off travellers (let’s be honest, if you can afford to backpack then you’re not doing too badly), then I will openly say that X country is cheap.
Albania, for example, is extremely affordable for Brits like me.
However, is it cheap for the local people who live and work here?
No, it’s incredibly expensive.
The average salary in Albania (538 GBP per month) is a fraction of the average salary in the UK, and many people are struggling to make ends meet.
It is in bad taste then, for me to run around losing my mind over how ‘cheap’ everything is, when local people are struggling to get by on prices that have been elevated by tourists like me.
For every tourist that comes from Dubrovnik to Kotor and exclaims how cheap Kotor is in comparison, there is a restaurant owner eavesdropping and rubbing his hands together, ready to increase his prices.
I don’t blame him!
This is the nature of the beast, after all.
However, bear in mind that while prices of things everywhere are quickly increasing, wages for workers are not, and so your innocent squeals of joy about how dirt cheap a place is might actually be harming local people.
6. Disrespecting the country you’re in
This one might sound obvious but apparently it isn’t, so I’ll spell it out for you: if you’re grown up enough to go backpacking, you’re grown up enough not to be a complete and utter moron while doing so.
It boggles my mind to see people posing naked at sacred temples, throwing up drunkenly on the street before it’s even dark and taking insensitive selfies at Auschwitz.
Remember when Logan Paul ran around Japan dressed as Pikachu, threw PokeBalls at people, before FILMING A SUICIDE VICTIM in Aokigahara Forest? Yeah, nah.
7. Refusing to spend any money, at all, ever
There is absolutely nothing wrong with travelling on a budget.
The lengths that some people will go to penny pinch is beyond me.
When I was volunteering at a hostel in Montenegro, I told a guy that was checking in that he could join the hostel ‘family dinner’ for 4 EUR (a bargain, for Kotor).
‘No, I don’t pay for things.’
Presumably, this leech expected to travel around the world and have things handed to him, without contributing anything in return.
On another occasion, I saw a guy on Facebook complaining about having to wait 2 hours for somebody to pick him up whole he was hitchhiking. He wrote that all Polish people are hypocrites because ‘they are super Catholic but won’t do ‘something nice for someone.’
When I pointed out that public transport is incredibly affordable, or that he could use a rideshare app to contribute towards fuel costs, he balked.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with hitchhiking, or cooking your own food, but to feel entitled to those things when you’re a guest in somebody else’s country really rubs me the wrong way.
8. Being ‘done’ with a country
I’ll be honest here – this one really grinds my gears.
Whenever I hear backpackers talking about having been to a country and describing it as having ‘done’ that country, almost as though they’ve ‘completed’ or ‘conquered’ it, I can literally feel myself bristling.
I have to work really hard not to roll my eyes when a backpacker says that they spent a day in Tirana, a day in Skopje and a day in Sofia and that they have now ‘done’ Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria.
First of all, no you haven’t.
You went to a hostel, you got drunk and you did a free walking tour.
This does not, by any means, mean that you have ‘done’ said country.
Talking about travel in this way turns your experiences into some kind of travel video game, whereby you spend a night in a country and suddenly you’re ‘done’ and can move onto the next level of the game.
It is no coincidence that most people who use the term ‘done’ in this way are also those obnoxious country counters that I mentioned way up at point numero uno.
9. Being loud and inconsiderate in dorm rooms
Turning the light on and having a drunken conversation with your friends at 3 am?
Going to shower at 8.15 and leaving the dorm room door wide open?
Rustling around with a million plastic bags at 6.30 am because you were too lazy to pack the night before?
Does this sound like you?
Well if it does, congratulations because everybody hates you, especially me.
Almost every other thing on this list is a mild annoyance, but there is a special place in Hell reserved for the light switching, bag rustling, screechy voice morons that have no consideration for the people they’re sharing a living space with.
If you are a bad hostel roomie, we cannot be friends.
Why Are Backpackers So Annoying? | Final Thoughts
So, that brings me to the end of the things that annoy me about my fellow backpackers!
Do you agree with my points?
Maybe you have some pet peeves of your own?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section!
Until next time,
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