The 13 Types of People You’ll Meet While Traveling

Brian M. Williams, JD
6 min readSep 21, 2021

In the course of traveling to more than 60 countries, I’ve met a lot of unique, insanely independent, and remarkably interesting people. That said, many of my trips have also featured plenty of stock characters, too. While I’m not for a second pretending to be offering a complete picture of anyone, I have made a list of some of the types of people that I can always count on running into in the course of any long trip.

The Where-is-McDonald’s Guy

Whether they’re in New Orleans, Hong Kong, Lima, Panag, or some other culinary capital of the world, this person will be looking for a familiar big-name chain restaurant to eat at and will do everything possible to avoid eating any of the local fare.

The Fool

I’ve met this person time and time again while traveling. They are usually some of the most happy-go-lucky people in the world. They’re friendly and easy to talk to and have a lot of crazy stories that leave you with your mouth open and wondering, “How the hell are you still alive!?” One girl I recently met said, and I quote, “I like to walk around a city until I get lost and then I just take a ride from a stranger to get back to where I’m staying.” These people prove the old adage “God looks out for children and fools.”

The Person Who Never Leaves the Hostel

While it’s impossible to know if someone never leaves a hostel unless you are also someone who never leaves, the one thing you do know is that every time you go out or come back to the hostel, this person is there. They’re usually in the same place as the last time you saw them and almost always staring at a computer or phone screen of some type and seemingly doing anything but taking in their surroundings.

The Drunk

You will never see this person sober, but you might catch them extremely hungover and opening their first beer of the day about ten minutes after they wake up. They’re traveling for one reason and one reason only: to get fucked up. Temples? Who cares? Famous monuments? They’ve seen a picture and that’s good enough for them. This person can get the party going in a hostel and can lead you to the best bars and clubs in town. And they can be a lot of fun if you don’t follow them too far down the…

Brian M. Williams, JD

Writer, Traveler, Educator, Mardi Gras DJ with a JD. Author of “Stranger in a Stranger Land: My Six Years in Korea” and “When a Stolen Child Returns.”