I hate to be the bearer of bad news…
But stereotypes do exist, especially in travelers.
After spending nine months in South East Asia and a year in Central and South America, I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I were approached with this scenario:
- Stranger: So are you guys [Australian/Canadian/British]?
- Us: No. We’re from the United States.
- Stranger: Oh, cause most the Americans I meet are [overweight, rude, or only travel on the tourist trail].
But the good news is…
During my time abroad I met and saw countless couples (some cool and some not) who all seemed to fit a profile.
Now, this is just my opinion and I understand not everyone fits into a mold. So, I’m happy for you to let me know if I hit the mark or totally missed in the comments below.
But first, let’s take a look at these seven traveling couple profiles…
Budget Backpacker Couple
These couples know how to stretch their pennies (not just dollars) as far as their money will take them. They chose inexpensive travel destinations (such as South East Asia and Central America) and scavenge for the cheapest accommodations: hostels, guest houses, camping, or couches (e.g. couchsurfing.org). Heck, even the really smart budget backpackers book overnight flights and buses so they don’t have to pay for accommodations at all! Budget couples aren’t afraid to haggle or eat street food daily.
Adventurous (Get Me Off This Tourist-Trail) Couple
These couples avoid overly tourist destinations and activities (such as big European cities, resort beach towns, or bus tours) at all costs and wouldn’t be caught dead on a cruise. They’re in search of the new, undiscovered destination that only the “cool” people know about (The Beach, anyone?). Adventurous couples love the great outdoors and solitude.
Whether they’re on a honeymoon, still in the honeymoon phase, or just met a few hours ago at the bar, honeymoon couples have no problem showing public displays of affection like holding hands or stealing a kiss. While it can be cute and acceptable in some areas such as the Americas, in Asia and Africa body contact is offensive.
Long-term (We’ve Seen It All) Couple
There’s no shortage of seasoned couple travelers. They have a level of maturity, experience and confidence in who they are (individually and as a couple) and where they’re going. Why? Because they’ve been around the block and have learned some hard lessons along the way. These couples always dress appropriately for the country and situation, are fluent with the necessary words to get by, and never seem to get lost.
Elderly (but Still Kicking) Couple
Perhaps one of my favorite traveling couples is the elderly who love to strike up a conversation with anyone willing to chat and always have smiles on their faces, even when the going gets rough. Life’s too short after all. These couples are in no rush and appreciate the smaller things such as a beautiful sunset, manicured garden or warm handshake. While normally fugal, they splurge on the good stuff and often ties buy a younger traveler a meal or beer.
Green (Keep the Peace) Couple
These couples are on a mission to educate the world on recycling water bottles (a big problem with traveling), minimize waste, and volunteer to give back to local communities. Whether they’re on a church mission, working for a Non-Government Organization (NGO) or volunteering at an elephant zoo in Thailand, they want to make a different and minimize their global footprint while encouraging others to do the same along the way.
We see celebrities on their yachts in Nice, beach lounging in Rio, and smoking cigars in Cuba (Jay-Z and Beyonce, anyone?), but there’s also less famous jet-setting couples that don’t make the magazines but still know how to travel in luxury. They have money to burn and know how to party, but probably couldn’t survive one day on the streets of India or use a public WC in Europe. These couples travel in comfort being shuttled around in first-class cabins and limos.
So, how does this list of couples compare to the real travelers you’ve met on the road? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!
About the author: Darcie Connell is the founder of Trekity – a daily newsletter and website inspiring women to travel. She most closely relates to the Budget Backpacker, Adventurous, and Long-term traveler… but is well on her way to the elderly. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.