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Over the many years I’ve been wandering the world, there are certain types of travelers I’ll meet again and again.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Boston or Barcelona or Bangkok, it’s reached the point where I practically feel uneasy if I don’t meet these people – as if there is an imbalance in the Force!

But what’s equally as interesting as meeting the same types of travelers, is the common link between what’s in their hands. So, we’ve put together a list of the most common types of travelers, and the one item that seems to define their travel style.

Which type of traveler are you?

5 Types of Travelers and the Piece of Equipment They’ll Always Have With Them!

The Newbie

Item of choice: A guidebook

Texas travel guidebook with coffee

Photo credit: Davidlohr Bueso

Traveling for the first time can be very daunting, so you’ll usually find the newbie traveler with their guidebook.

Why do we assume? Guidebooks, while useful for a general overview of a destination, are usually a bit limited when it comes to seeking out a local experience and discovering off the beaten path gems. As you begin to travel more, your confidence grows, and you realize that you can leave that big chunky book at home.

While sometimes you can find some quirky guidebooks, part of the travel experience is exploring the unknown. For the best recommendations, connect with locals. And remember that you can visit a supermarket for bread, even if the guidebook didn’t tell you so!

The Partier

Item of choice: A bottle of Vodka, beer, gin, rum, etc.

Drinks alcohol RF

While you might argue that getting wasted every night is something you can do in any city around the world, and that you’re not really getting the full travel experience by doing that, I did spend the better half of my first year of solo travel perpetually hungover, so no judgement!

The Partier (when there’s a small window of clarity) can tell you about the coolest bars and clubs in the area, and will always have an outrageous story that starts with “This one time, when I was drunk in …”

Their average day starts around 3 pm, and they can sleep anywhere; on buses, trains, generally though, during the middle of the day! You’ll usually find them at your closest youth hotels, or at the front of the group on a pub-crawl.

The Beach Lover

Item of choice: Waterproof watch

This person lives for the waves and the sand, so much so that you’re convinced they actually have gills.

Usually seen wearing board shorts and flip-flops, the Beach Lover either has no phone (or maybe it sank to the bottom of the ocean), so has to rely on their fancy waterproof watch to have some semblance of time when they’re out there swimming among the fish or working on their tan.

When they’re not in the water, you just know that they’re checking around for the latest in waterproof tech so that they can finally go freediving all the way to the Mariana Trench.

Also, they can probably tell the difference between a Tissot and an Omega watch from 100 yards away at this point!

The Old-School Photographer

Item of choice: Olympus OM-2 film camera (or equivalent) with 50 different lenses

Girl camera

“Oh, you use a smartphone to take photos? Don’t you know the quality is so much better with film?”

This type of traveler barely has room for their clothing after packing a bag full of camera equipment. They travel with lenses, tripods, and know how to get the picture they want in one shot.

They’re not concerned about posting to social media, as that would entail scanning 400 photos!

The Minimalist

Item of choice: A passport

Passport stamps


The Minimalist requires no guidebook, no medical equipment, no phone, no watch, and barely any spare clothing. As a serial over-packer, I’m genuinely amazed at how they actually get by with nothing but a passport and a head full of dreams!

True, the more you carry, the more you’re weighed down and will likely lose at some point, but if you think I’m traveling without my toothbrush and eye mask, you’ve got another thing coming!!

Which traveler type do you always see on your adventures? Comment below.


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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. Definitely in that minimalist camp Meg ;) We cruised around the South Island of New Zealand today with a camera, phone, not much else. Passports home. Oh yes; international driver’s license too. If Kiwi cops are reading :) Fun post!


    • You really don’t need much more than that! I’ve always been a serial overpacker, but I feel like I’m getting better with time :D

      Glad to hear you’re having a blast in NZ! Looking forward to reading some NZ inspired blogging lessons soon!

  2. We’ve been backpacking for 30 years and still use a guidebook. The keyword here is “guide” it doesn’t preclude you from getting off the beaten path. Just yesterday we stumbled upon an old stepwell in Jodpur. It was full of young men swimming, diving, laughing and having a wonderful time. It was far more memorable for us than the fort will ever be. And one of the first things we do in a new destination is find a local shop where we can get our supplies. Usually, the reception at our hostel can point us in the right direction.

    • Very true re guide not precluding you from getting off the beaten path – I’ll definitely admit that these are stereotypes and obviously you can’t generalize everyone :)

      So glad to hear that you’re having a fabulous time in Jodpur! I haven’t been yet, but would love to at some stage.

  3. I travel with my Lonely Planet guidebooks (yes, I know they are heavy and it is so ‘old school” but they give me a sense of comfort in some strange way.Sometimes, I just want to to look at the pictures, highlight places to see without the worry about using up the juice on my phone, especially while on long bus trips in Asia. My old Lonely Planet has always been very useful in Myanmar because not all places have wifi or electricity for that matter.

    • There’s definitely something to be said about holding a physical book in your hands, and you’re right, I do often prefer to read a paperback than read on my phone if I’m on a long journey, or a bus. Good point too about use in destinations which don’t have connectivity or even electricity. They do definitely have their merits. And ultimately it’s what you feel most comfortable with – if they give you a sense of comfort, that’s great!

  4. I think you need to add a category for us oldies. Years ago I was the beachlover bit now I like my comfort.

    • I feel as though I’m already at that stage too lol I used to be all up for the parties, hostels, and camping, but now, comfort all the way :D

    • @MegJerrard ha ha I thought it was just me.

  5. I would have to buy a mobile power bank and extra camera batteries.

    • So you’re a tech traveler then :D

  6. Soap, toothbrush, small towel,1 change of clothes the rest I can buy as needed on the road :D

    • I don’t usually buy much on the road – wait – I lie…I purchased a large metal teapot, the size of a bucket, in Myanmar! (and I had to buy another bag just to get it home!)

    • What a cool souvenir though :D!

  7. that was one good read good perspective

    • Glad you enjoyed the pot Federico :)

  8. I really don;t know where I fall between these categories but here can I exchange all my chargers and electronics for a new surf board?

    • Sounds like you’re a beach lover then :)

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