We are all silly and pretentious in some way or the other. Each with a unique set of eccentricities. And those peculiar traits of our character bubble up when we travel. That’s the beauty of travel. You just cannot not be yourself.

Here’s a list of some stock traveller types. Some annoying, some pitiable, some outright revolting. I am sure all of you will identify with one of these types to some extent or the other. Oh, come on, now don’t act all perfect. You will see some likeness, I am sure. Of course, I don’t, for I have not included the true nomad traveller type who’s cool, adventurous, and fun. Basically, the best.

The I-am-in-a-fashion-parade Traveller

Need I even elaborate? Their suitcases will be the heaviest. They will always be the last ones to arrive at the breakfast table. Better be late than arrive ugly, is their motto. They must have probably bought an entire new wardrobe for the trip. Easy to spot: Branded goggles, chic shirts, a matching footwear every day (now, you know what that biggest bag was for? Footwear, du-uh!) Wanna make them cry? Tell them that photography is prohibited.

What they sayExcuse me, can you give me a different-coloured lifejacket? This one doesn’t go with my dress.

The I-am-at-home Traveller

The first thing this breed would do on entering a hotel room would be to unpack all their stuff, and arrange it neatly in the cupboards, on the side table, in the drawers of the side table, in the bathroom shelves, basically, anywhere and everywhere storage space is provided. Next morning, their clothes (underwear et all) would be found hanging on a clothesline precariously hooked from the door handle to the window grill. They like to feel at home everywhere. They have packed twelve pairs of footwear—bathroom slippers, sports shoes, casual wear—four for each of the four members of the family.

What they say: Do you have a toothbrush holder? And some bath teddies for me…er…my daughter. And a bottle of coconut oil.

The I-want-everything-for-free Traveller

True to his Indian middle-class roots, this type is commonly seen bargaining with the tour guide, the local handicraft seller outside a monument, the taxi driver, even the hotel manager. He would ask for free toiletries to stuff them in his travel bag, just like he had tucked away the five water bottles from the airline or the train he was travelling by.

What they say: What! Only one ride each for the family? Grandma, strap the chute. OR OR …our favourite:

Tourist auntyji: “Kya bhaiya, tourist samjha hai kya?” (Do you think you can fleece me as if I were a tourist?)

Irritated shopkeeper: “Madam, iske baad toh aap free mein le jaiye.” (Madam, any less than this and you might as well take this for free.)

The I-am-here-for-Facebook Traveller

They will hand their cameras to anybody and everybody, including the rickshaw puller, to get themselves clicked from every angle and at every tree, pillar, or dustbin of the site they are visiting. If you spot the type, run in the opposite direction, because they are going to bug you to take their picture a thousand times till they have got that perfect shot for Facebook. It will all start with an innocent “Excuse me”.

What they say: They don’t speak. They update.

Check in: In Goa!!!! Sun, sea, and sand – life is bliss!!!

30 likes. 2 comments.

(Paisa vasool)


The I-wanna-bungee-jump-from-every-chair Traveller

This breed is the adventurous type.  Or the pseudo adventurous.Or the over adventurous.The minute they land, they start itching to try that extreme sport they had heard their neighbour talk about. They are already roaring, and hooting, and by the time they reach the action spot, their energies have fizzled out. But they still go ahead with that 5-m jump they had boasted about to their friends. And in every holiday photograph, you’ll see them making a ‘V’ sign with their fingers (Going by their enthusiasm, maybe it means ‘virginal’). Sometimes, they also like to stick out their tongue in wild gorilla fashion.

What they say: Yaabadaabadooo…


The Mummy Traveller

He has packed an entire chemist’s shop. He has stocked extra woolens. He asks for spare mineral water bottles from the hotel when he is going out on sightseeing.  Because tap water is unhealthy. He is often seen chatting on the phone relating his potty tales to his mom. He says to the capped tourist gorging on waffles at the table next to him, “The last time I had these, I got traveller’s diarrhoea.” Atta boy! Capped tourist is unable to swallow.

What they say: Bhaiya, yeh safe hai? (Brother, is this safe?)


The I-have-so-much-work  Traveller

No, he is not on a real business trip. He just acts like he is on one. No-nonsense. No fun. Spotting him is easy: grumpy, peeping deep into his laptop screen, mobile or a newspaper. He is also the take-me-home traveller. All throughout the vacation, all he wants is to get back home as fast as possible. Actually, he shouldn’t be travelling at all. Please make him howl by spilling water on his laptop. Oh, that’s just mean. Hide his mobile phone instead.

What they say: “How much time will it take?” (Irrespective of where he is, that’s all he can say)


The I-am-in-history-class Traveller

This type will carry a book or a brochure with them all the time. And will consider it their burden to enlighten one and all about the history, geography and statistics of the place. They will ask the guide innumerable questions, not out of curiosity, but to test the poor man’s knowledge. Their moment of glory comes when a passing tourist halts for a split second looking at them distributing their gyaan to the poor guide. Suddenly, they grow two inches tall, their pitch is raised by ten decibels, and they are just about to ask for a mike when passing tourist asks them, “Excuse me, where is the loo?”

What they’ll say: Do you know the area of this place is 283746755-eat-my-head square km?


The PDA Traveller

The public-display-of-affection traveller is probably someone who doesn’t get any in private. He’ll be found getting cozy (with whoever he has come with). The elders on the tourist bus would throw disapproving side glances his way, the youngsters would giggle.

“Look saar, there’s the Konark Temple.” Saar is busy whispering sweet nothings into the ears of his madam. Actually, this type also shouldn’t be travelling at all. All that is needed is a room.

What they say: Er…they only make sounds.

Nishi Jain

Nishi Jain spent five years studying English literature at Delhi University, at the end of which she realized ‘all art is useless’. Another two years editing novels and writing newspaper articles, and shouting herself hoarse in street plays, she realized erudition never got anybody anywhere. So, she took off and visited the four corners of India, came back, and announced that the best thing in the world was cheesecake. Now, she just writes, plays ping pong, and eats cake on the sly.

Nishi Jain – who has written posts on WAH Blog.