Backpacker Bingo

Articles on this site contain affiliate links, meaning I may be compensated if you buy a product or service after clicking them. The full privacy & disclosure policy is here.

Grab your pencils folks, it’s time to play Backpacker Bingo!  This fun game can be played alone or with any number of friends as you make your way from hostel to hostel around the world.

The rules are very simple:

1.  Print and cut out the handy bingo card above.

2.  Following the definitions below, mark off on your card when you successfully identify a hostel stereotype.

3.  When your card is full, jump up and down shouting “BINGO” at the top of your lungs.  Ideally this will be at three in the morning.

4.  Insist that all other players buy you a drink.  If you are playing alone, buy yourself two drinks.

5.  Print out a new card and start again.

Good luck!

The Snorer

Finding one of these is very easy – in fact, it’d be amazing if you go more than a night or two in a shared dorm without encountering at least a couple.  The lights are out, you’re lying there on your lumpy mattress quietly thinking back over the events of the day and just drifting off to sleep when all of a sudden a noise quite unlike any other explodes upon your consciousness.

At first you suspect that somebody has fired up a chainsaw in the bunk below, or possibly a maintenance crew have started doing roadworks in the middle of your dorm room, but then it all becomes clear.  No, it’s just The Snorer launching into the beginnings of a multi-part, multi-hour nasal symphony.  Time to find the ear plugs and reach for the sleeping pills. You did pack them, right?  If not, you may want to try suffocating the offender with your bingo card instead.


Contrary to popular belief, Russell is not always a boy’s name.  Nope, even girls can be a Russell too.  You’ll become acutely aware of this fact at somewhere just before the break of dawn, as one or two of your dorm mates crawl out of bed to catch that stupidly early train / bus / plane that seemed such a great idea when they were booking it.

In the best traditions of shared accommodation these people won’t have bothered to pack their bags the night before, so you get the pleasure of listening to zips being opened and closed, heavy items being dropped, packs being dragged around the room and – best of all – seemingly dozens of plastic bags being rustled loudly enough to wake the dead.  Since you’re already awake, of course, that won’t be a problem.  All you can do is lie there fervently hoping that the Russells miss their bus.

Party Guy

Or possibly party girl.  They are the life and soul of the party, always looking for someone to go for a drink with at any time of the day or night.  Gin for breakfast?  Sure, sounds like a great idea.  These are the people that you really want to meet and hang out with when you’re feeling great, excited and just itching for a huge night on the town.

They are also the people you will do everything you can to avoid when you are feeling like death the next day, as Party Guys seem to have superhuman powers that render them immune to hangovers.  While you’re looking for a quiet dark hole to lie in for a very long time, these party animals are just gearing up for another 12 hour margarita marathon.  They’ll probably be getting home just as the Russells stow their last plastic bag and head for the door.

The Farter

Let’s not be coy about this.  Every dorm room has The Farter.  It may even be you.  Sometimes they are easily identifiable – they’ll be the ones lifting the sheets with a klaxon blast worthy of the Starship Enterprise.  Others are much more nefarious – you’ll have no idea that you’re about to mark another space on your bingo card until your fellow hostellers start coughing, crying and running for the door shouting something about a gas leak.  My advice would be to grab your card and follow them.  Quickly.  And don’t light a match.

The Shagger

Everyone’s perennial favourite, The Shagger makes an appearance a lot more frequently than you might expect.  Or like.  As the activities of the dorm room shagger are most often conducted under cover of darkness, here’s a list of sounds to listen out for to identify this particular specimen:

1.  Loud drunken voices coming towards the door, followed by lots of shushing and five minutes of dropping keys, scratching around near the lock and generally trying to get the door open

2.  Quiet (read: not quiet at all) tip toeing through the dorm room, falling over things and whispered questions from the new arrival as to which bunk is the right one.  If somebody collapses onto your head, you know they got that one wrong.

3.  The rustle (not Russell) of clothing being removed and the squeaks and grunts of two people trying to fit into a single bed.

4.  A different set of squeaks and grunts.

(thirty seconds later…)

5.  The Shagger seems to have been replaced by two copies of The Snorer.

This would be the perfect time to flick the light on and shout “BINGO!” as loudly as possible,

The Stink

Unlike The Farter, who only assaults your sense of smell now and again, The Stink is an altogether more pervasive experience.  You’ll first notice it when you open the door to a dorm room and some sort of rancid combination of sweat, body odour, beer, deodorant and wet laundry jumps out to greet you.  If this stench had a colour, it would undoubtedly be brown.

After a few minutes of gagging and fighting for oxygen, you eventually get somewhat used to the nasal barrage and even manage to convince yourself that it’s not all that bad.  Until, that is, you make the mistake of stepping out of your room for a few minutes to go to the bathroom.  As soon as you re-open that door, it all comes flooding back…

Captain Snooze

Pretty much the polar opposite of Party Guy, Captain Snooze will be found tucked up in bed at all hours of the day.  Whether you are preparing to hit the streets for a day of exploring, popping back to your dorm to grab something mid-afternoon or getting changed before heading out for dinner, Captain Snooze will be there, horizontal and angry that you’ve dared to disturb his or her slumber.  No matter that the sun is up, this backpacker won’t be.  Must make for some fascinating travel diaries.

The Flasher

If you happen to find yourself in a hostel with large numbers of middle aged European men, make sure you have your pencil handy – there’s an excellent chance that you’ll be one step closer to winning the game before your stay is finished.  While The Flasher is not always male, fifty-plus and German, a disturbingly large proportion of hostel exhibitionists do seem to fall into that category.

You’ll quickly get to know the type – the guy who has a shower in a shared bathroom and then stands there vigorously towelling himself off in full view for several minutes, or happily spends half an hour parading around the dorm room butt naked while getting dressed in the morning.  Surely there’s no better start to the day than waking up to see old man dangly bits jiggling around a few feet from your head…

The Guru

Also known by several other names, most of them too crude for even this blog, every hostel has one of these.  Thinking about going somewhere?  They went there ‘back in the day’ when it was awesome, before it got far too touristy like it is now.  Met some cool people?  They’ve hung out with someone much more interesting.  Eaten a great meal last night?  Theirs was dramatically tastier, lower priced and more authentic.  Taking a 28 hour bus ride to your next destination?  They walked that route, on one leg, carrying an elephant while dancing the frickin’ Macarena.

You name it, they’ve done it harder, cheaper, earlier and just downright better than you could ever hope to imagine.  Take out your pencil and if you can avoid the urge to stab them in the eye with it, mark off another space on your card.  You’ve just met The Guru.

Any other stereotypes that should be included in Backpacker Bingo?  Have you just filled up your card and shouted BINGO?  Let me know!

20 Responses to “Backpacker Bingo

  • I think you caught most of the great offenders of our arena…. I think the “iphoner” deserves an honorable mention, however 😉

  • Valerie Looi
    13 years ago

    Nice! 🙂
    You forgot your favourite though…the Pom!

  • Nigel Dean
    13 years ago

    Once I stopped rolling around the floor with laughter I thought back to our Europe trip and a “Guru” named Greg. He was the archetypical guru and a Sydneysider to boot! We can hardly mention the name Greg even now without shuddering!

  • Great post! My personal most hated has to be a toss up between ‘The Snorer’ & the ever patronising ‘Guru.’

  • Hahahaha, this is hilarious. I would hope to scream “BINGO!” wildly while The Shagger is mid-coitus, then demanding they both buy me beers.

  • This is SO true. Great post idea. Thanks for the laugh Dave.

  • I tried to get rid of the snorer by only getting female dorms but the offenders appear in both genders.

  • Thank you very much Dave, now I have something else to look forward to in Thailand. My only fear is becoming one of these stereotypes. I slept in til 3PM today!

  • @Kate – I’m so with you on that. The rest I can just about deal with, but the Snorer and the Guru … *shudder*

    @Candice – god you crack me up. I have this vision of you bouncing out of bed – “BINGO!!! Right, when you’ve got your clothes back on, make mine a Heineken”

    @Pam – no problem! A welcome distraction from looking at new site themes hey? 😉 The new look is awesome, btw – well done!

    @Ayngelina – yeah sadly snoring does seem to cross the gender boundary. I think if you want the real wall shaking roar, though, find the fattest, drunkest guy you can… 😛

    @Eli – let me know when you get a full card!

  • Sam Edgerton
    13 years ago

    I remember coming across ‘the preeners’ girls who spend 30mins in the only working shower, before spreading their crap over every other available space in the bathroom so they can have perfect hair and makeup before trying to sight see in 12 inch heels, Seems to be very common in Italian hostels, but maybe something you miss the joys of in men only dorms;-)
    Great article, I have tears from laughing so much.

  • Hehehe, thanks Sam! 🙂 And of course, the preeners … not such an issue in the male only dorms, I guess, but I’ve sure seen a few of the ‘hair and makeup’ crowd prancing around hostels over the years. Nothing says good times like walking around old cobbled streets in mega high heels, I’m thinking…

  • This is the funniest post I’ve read all week! Awesome job, I hope this game catches on 😉 and that I don’t have someone call out “Bingo” to me!!

  • Thanks Aly – so pleased you liked it! 🙂 I’ll join you for a game somewhere in the world!

    Nice site too, by the way – very impressed!

  • Oh man, the shagger one just had me laughing pretty hard! Came over from Candice’s blog and can’t believe I haven’t seen your site before!

    • Hey Shannon, thanks for stopping by – and pleased that you liked it! Damn dorm room shaggers… 😉

  • Ha ha! I wrote about getting silent revenge on these dorm offenders on my blog earlier today – before even reading this! I’ve had a gut-full of rude people in dorms so it’s nice to see the light side of it again!

    • Heh yeah it’s hard to see the funny side when you’ve had 3 hours sleep and somebody is throwing the contents of their pack around the dorm at maximum volume, hey? I was only able to write that post after spending several weeks nowhere near a hostel so that the pain had subsided a bit… 😉

  • Haha, I have the pleasure of working on a daily basis with the Guru. I make it a point not to talk travel with said person on account of your very sentiments “You name it, they’ve done it harder, cheaper, earlier and just downright better than you could ever hope to imagine.”

  • Haha! Awesome post. Pretty sure I’ve met a couple of people that could mark off several x’s all on their own! Cheers

  • And now I remember why I got to the point where I won’t share a room while travelling!! Enjoyed the laugh, thanks!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.