When I think about travel, I usually think about solo travel. Whether it’s planning a one-week vacation for one or sorting out accommodation in a backpacker’s hostel, I tend to prefer travelling alone. In fact, if you’ve read any of my previous works, you’ll realise I almost always angle my articles from the point of view of a solo traveller.
That being said, there are times when I come out of my hermit state of mind and go on trips with my friends. And sometimes, it’s during these trips that I remember WHY I prefer travelling alone. That’s not to say I never have fun though! Regardless, after years of travelling, I’ve realised that most Malaysian travel kakis fall into at least one or more of the following types of travellers.
Don’t believe me? Read on and see if you can think of someone that matches the description. It might even be you!
1. The Forgetful One
Let’s start with a true story. It was 2017, and I was in Japan for the very first time with my friend. We flew into Haneda Airport and was at the platform waiting for a train that would take us to Kanda where out capsule hotel was. Note that it was about 10 pm. at that time, so there weren’t that many trains left.
Just as the train was arriving, my friend made a weird sound. I turned to see him frantically looking around. He looks at me and asks “where’s my camera?” Not how I envisioned my first day in Japan would be like. We ran through the airport, looking for his camera. Luckily, we found the bag in the arrival hall, opposite the booth where we went to buy our local SIM cards.
Next to the bag were about half a dozen uniformed airport security personnel. That’s when it hit me: we left a suspicious looking bag unattended in the middle of Tokyo’s busiest airport. They thought it was a bomb! After several nervous glances and a nasty side eye from one of the men, my friend managed to retrieve his bag, camera all in tact and we barely made it in time for the final train.
You might not have a story or friend like mine but I’m sure you know someone who is just as forgetful when they travel. They leave things around unintentionally and forget to bring certain items, often leading to some pretty amusing situations. Never change guys, never change.
2. The Overpacker
These guys would pack their entire house into the suitcase if they could. Overpackers arrive at the airport for a 3D2N vacation with massive suitcases that make you raise an eyebrow immediately. Of course, we don’t really mind too much or ask too many questions…until we go on the trip and they start buying everything they set their sights on.
Then on the day before you’re supposed to go home, they’ll say: “eh, can let me tumpang your bag ah?”. Ugh.
3. The Underpacker
The complete opposite of the overpacker, the underpacker is the guy who can go on month-long holidays with nothing but just a tiny backpack. Somehow, these unique specimens of the travel kingdom always make it work for them despite their limited luggage.
And in fact, when you think about it, this is pretty smart too. They get to skip lines at the baggage check-in counter at airports and they don’t have to wait for the luggage carousel after disembarking the plane. Not too bad…
4. The Rations Supplier
We all have this one friend who just can’t seem to forsake Malaysian food. Understandable lah, Malaysian food = best food mah! What I don’t understand though, are people who pack their bags full of Malaysian food! Instant noodles to chili sauce and even canned food sometimes, you crave it, they most likely have it!
5. The Medical Officer
The medical officer is quite similar to the rations supplier. Except they don’t pack food, they pack medicines and first-aid kits! While we try to always think positive and stay happy on our trips, sometimes, we inevitably fall ill, especially when we travel from one climate to another. It’s during times like these that we’re glad that we have someone in our group of travel buddies who brought along stuff like panadol, nasal sprays, and more!
6. The “Professional” Photographer
Depending on your interests, these type of Malaysian travel kakis can either be super cool to be around and absolutely annoying. Not gonna lie, I love photography and sometimes I take my time to get that perfect shot. But I have a friend who, when we went to Langkawi, took a full 40 minutes just to get one good shot of the Langkawi Sky Bridge! I had to wait for him until he was satisfied with his work!
Guys, it’s cool that you take photography so passionately but pity the people who are travelling with you also lah!
7. The Shopaholic
These guys live by the phrase “shop till you drop”. And before anyone makes any sexist remarks, let me just say that I know plenty of men who love shopping while travelling just as much as women. It’s quite amazing seeing them go, browsing from one shop to the next, leaving every few minutes with more and more bags in their hands.
8. The Foodie
The foodie is like the shopaholic, except instead of spending money on things, they spend them on food. Honestly, these guys are pretty awesome companions if you’re going on a food hunt. Most likely, they’ll know exactly where the best places are and they have an incredible appetite!
They’ll bring you to the weirdest places in search of good food and often will need to “stop and refuel” every few hours or so. But on the bright side, you’ll most likely be able to taste authentic local cuisine thanks to them!
And, as they say, airlines can charge you extra for overweight baggage but can’t do a thing if you gain weight from eating too much!
9. The Socialite
The harsh reality is that some people find it easier to mingle than others. The socialite is often the party animal of your travel groups. He/She’s the most happening person, always up for a good time. They make friends with the locals super quickly and is known to sniff out exciting parties wherever they are. It’s tiring to keep up with their hyper vibes, but super fun.
10. The Interpreter/Translator/Speaker
This guy is the designated “voice” of the group. Whenever you get lost or need to clarify something, especially in a foreign language, you rely on this person. He/She will be the person chosen to approach someone and ask for help or info while the rest of us stay back and just watch.
We don’t know where we’d be without these guys. We love you guys!
11. The Closeted Travel Junkie
Have you ever looked at a person and thought: hmm, he/she doesn’t look that interesting. He/she must be a very safe and conservative person. And then you travel with them and you realise that, once they’re out from their home, they change into a different person! To a point where you might go: huh, I never expected them to be like this!
That timid guy at the office suddenly turns into this gungho adventurer who’s willing to try anything once. That shy person in your class suddenly starts having conversations with locals at the bar. It’s truly amazing how travel can change a person, isn’t it?
12. The Travel Expert
The travel expert is often the guy who makes sure the trip doesn’t disintegrate into chaos. He’s the one who gets things done. From settling the accommodation, booking the flights, setting the itinerary, he’s your go-to guy for trip planning. We all have that one friend who fits this role and we can’t tell how grateful we are to him/her!
13. The Complainer
These guys are the most annoying of the bunch. They’ll moan and complain about almost everything but won’t take on any responsibility. Some of their favourite phrases include : so expensive, not nice lah, waste of time, queue too long, why so far, need to walk ah?, that place better etc.
Once, I brought a friend to the Acropolis in Athens, which is difficult in and of itself because not all signs in Athens are in English. When we got there, my friend remarked: we walked all the way just to see a bunch of old stones? At that point, I wanted to sparta-kick him off the edge of the fortress grrr.
14. The “He/She’s Not Coming”
We all have that one friend who, when we’re planning to go travelling, appears to be really eager and excited about the trip. He/she can’t stop talking about it and hyping it up. But then on the day when you’re supposed to set out, he/she suddenly backs out or simply disappears without a trace!
And there you have it, 14 types of Malaysian travellers! Which one are you?