Photo via Mashable

Beyond the other travelers you will meet in hostels, you will also have momentary encounters with people in all different kinds of circumstances. Some people will be helpful, some will be rude, and some will give you some memorable insight. Here are five people you encounter while traveling.

1. The stranger who pays for your groceries

There is no way to completely conceal your identity as a tourist. It’s inevitably obvious, especially to the locals. So when they see a tourist standing in line at a grocery store instead of the overpriced restaurant down the street, they can infer you are on a tight budget. If you’re lucky, you’ll encounter a kind stranger who recognizes himself in the young traveler. He’ll remember when he was barely scraping by traveling from city to city and then pay for your groceries! A simple act, but if you’re lucky enough to run into this person, you’ll realize he’s not a stranger. He is a part of the great travelers’ community that you have become a part of as well. And after this glorious moment where you managed to save a few Euros, you’ll probably associate this country with kind people forever.

2. The person who ignores you because you speak bad French

On the contrary, there are always the unhelpful locals as well. While you’re traveling in France, you’ll ask someone for help only to receive a blatant, silent response. Even speaking French with a Canadian accent is not good enough for the French. Some of the Parisian locals would rather you speak to them in English than Canadian French. You’ll meet incredibly kind people in France as well, but the stereotype seems to reign true. If you can’t speak French, at least say ‘bonjour’ every time you walk in somewhere and try to throw some French words in your conversations. The nice people appreciate your efforts.

3. The ticket inspector who almost fines you 50 Euros

That’s like more than 60 American bucks… Oops! You either didn’t make a reservation, verify your Eurail pass, or broke some other rule that you didn’t know about because you don’t speak the language. The ticket inspector threatens to fine you way more than you have in your pocket, but thankfully, you plead with him and he lets you off the hook-this time.

train ticket inspector

Photo via The Guardian

4. The older people who tell you about ‘when they were young’

Or, just older people in general. You might meet an Australian couple who, now that they’re ship has come in, can afford the bedrooms on the overnight ferry. They’re casually taking three months off their work to travel and reminiscing in nostalgia to you about when they were young. Or you’ll meet an older Greek lady who is traveling back to New York City on your flight telling you all the reasons Greece is the greatest place in the world. You’re bound to meet older people on the trip who strike up a conversation with you because, well, with a giant backpack on, you stand out as a traveler. They want to hear your story and then give you their awesome insights.

5. The local resident who lets you use their phone

You’ve crossed the same coffee shop three times looking for this hostel. It’s pretty obvious you are lost. Finally, someone sitting at a table outside asks where you’re trying to go and if you’re lost. Embrace the helpful people like this in the world. When all hope seems lost and you’re trekking around in the hot sun with a giant pack, someone offers to let you use their phone. Something you forget about while you’re at home is the luxury of being able to call someone or even just look up an address.

lost travelers

Photo via She Knows

What people have you encountered while traveling?


Sydney Pereira is a student at New York University trying to change the world while simultaneously making enough money to travel when she's not studying or writing. She's also an athlete, music-lover, and avid news reader. When she's not exploring NYC, fresh flowers from the farmer's market and a cup of hot tea on a lazy Saturday are equally fulfilling.



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