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.
Q & I may fall into we’ve seen it all, but we’ve hardly ‘seen it all’
There are also couples that travel together for a particular hobby or passion….foodies, historians, dance fanatics, bird watchers, train travelers…their interests drive their traveling adventures.
You’re right Noel. I’ve also met a lot of couples who love scuba diving too. Lot’s of reasons to see the world. Thanks for sharing!
Some “We’ve Seen It All” couples are experts on particular countries, especially if they live or travel there frequently. :)
We definitely are in the Adventurous Couple category. Can’t stand the tourist trappings and pre-planned itineraries. If I wanted that I’d go to DisneyWorld!
I think we’re a cross between the “budget” and “adventurous” couple, but I think we have a little bit of all of these depending on what trip we’re on!
I noticed you didn’t have the “barely hiding that they want to fight” couple or the “complaining about everything” couple. I try to avoid being around or being either of these couples!
We are a little of the budget and a little of the adventurous. Can’t stand touristy places but maybe not full on adventurous all the time. Don’t have much money but are not completely trying to pinch pennies either.
We’re the couple everyone thought must be homeless. :)
You guys are out idols!
we are with you guys. We definitely have our adventurous side.
Ha ha, love this. There is also the ‘ Annoying couple’ who has to tell everybody about all of their ‘awesome’ travels, even though nobody wants to hear about it. I think we are a combination of the Green (Keep the Peace) Couple (more of the keep the peace side though) and Adventurous couple. A cruise holiday sounds like my worst nightmare.
Great post. Being American I love how you mentioned our stereotype and it’s spot on with how we are often seen. Is there such a thing as a hybrid-couple? If we had to peg ourselves we would be a Budget-Adventure-Green-Longterm-Elderly(slightly ;) Couple. Maybe that means we are completely confused???
Ha! This is great. My partner and I were the “elusive couple”. He and I very rarely spent time with the rest of our group!
Great suggestion! I’ve met a lot of ‘Annoying Couples’ who continuously brag about the number of countries they’ve been to and how awesome they are. And admittedly, I was little like that after my first big trip to Asia. But my friends quickly learned not to ask too many questions about my travels because I could go on for hours. :)
We’re a mix of the adventurous and luxury couple. We want them both all at once! ;)
You bet! We like your style!
Haha, love this! I would say my guy and I are a combo of the Budget Couple & the Adventurous Couple. And also the Ridiculously Social Couple (well, that’s my personality, so it gets transferred to both of us when we travel together!) But I also like the “barely hiding that they want to fight” couple suggestion below. I think we’ve all been there at some point or another!
Love it! We should have an all of the above selection?
I think we’re a budget-adventurous-longterm-green couple :-) Doubt we’ll ever be the luxury couple, although my parents are taking us to a Sandals for their 50th wedding anniversary in June, so we’ll get to pretend we are for a week! Great post!
We are a 50/50 slit on the Budget Traveling Couple and the Adventure Travel couple…
Unless the adventure is TOO expensive…
Then we revert back to our BUDGET traveling stereotype!
Oh, I should preface this… We lived in a hatchback for two months in New Zealand and Oz to save money. Didn’t even buy a tent.
When we didn’t want to pay for camp sites we stayed in McDonalds parking lots…
Man, did this living situation lead to some HEATED FIGHTS ;-)
So, definitely the BUDGET couple…
No tent? That is roughing it. I can imagine there were some good fights.
A little luxury never hurt anyone? Thanks for sharing.
I have definitely met a few of these couples!
All depends on your definition of “elderly” doesn’t it? We ski, one of us dives (the other cheers on) yes we chat to lots of people. Eff maybe i am considered elderly by a lot of people. Better have a nana nap and synthesise this. Good post tho
We want to be like you when we grow up!
Thanks again for featuring us. Happy travels!
My girlfriend and I are a month into our extended SE Asia trip. We’re aiming to be the “Budget Backpacker Couple” mixed with some “Adventurous (Get Me Off This Tourist-Trail) Couple” and working towards the long-term “Elderly (But Still Kicking) Couple”. However, I think we’re a new type of “Have Money Now So Enjoying Some Comforts, But Will Be Broke And Begging Sooner Than Planned Couple”!
I think we are the budget couple that wants to see everything which it’s easier said than done :)
I think my boyfriend and I would fall into the adventurous couple type. Haha, love the descriptions. Which one do you think you guys fall into?
Hmm I think we are a bit of a mix of a few…definitely adventure, budget and honeymoon couple. Hey we were long distance for 2 years, we’re still in our honeymoon phase :) Wouldn’t mind being a luxury couple but don’t see that happening any time soon haha
I’d say we’re a combination of types, long-term boomers (def. NOT elderly!, lol) aspiring for the luxury category. We also are best friends, even after being married for over 11 years, so maybe there’s a bit of the honeymoon couple in there too. What about you guys? I didn’t see fighting couples in the list. ;)
11+ years! Congrats you two! We are all of them except Honeymoon. We will have none of that!