Indians have peculiar characteristics, especially when it comes to travel. How many times have you cringed at the sight of loud Indian kids on flights? Or seen one of our fellow countrymen arguing and insisting to be let in without a confirmed reservation? How many times have we seen desis carrying bags-full of theplas and khakras on airlines? Or been pleasantly surprised at seeing a well-dressed Indian couple sipping champagne in one of the most decadent sky bars in the world? Whether it’s the luxury traveller, the new experience seeker, the group tour specialist, or the self-proclaimed important person, we’ve all seen them at some point during our travels. Here’s a list of the most common types of Indian travellers – are you any of them?

The Freeloader

Unwilling to leave anything behind, even if it’s not wanted or needed - this traveller will take it only because it’s free. Whether it’s the alcohol on international flights, the toiletries in hotel rooms, or even the fruit and cheese on the breakfast buffet, they’ll ensure they make full use of it (and carry some back, while they’re at it). Reminiscent of Ross from Friends, this traveller will have several ‘treasures’ stowed away in his/her suitcase.


The VIP, or Very Irritating Person in this case, is that guy you’ve seen at restaurants, bars and any other high-end place, throwing his weight (and sometimes a visiting card, owners’ or influential person’s name) around. This kind of person is often the one who does not have a reservation or a place on the guest list – but he absolutely must get in. Nothing is beyond the VIP – shouting, creating a scene, sometimes even getting a little violent. Clubs have bouncers in place for this guy.

The Sophisticate

A growing breed of traveller, this is the one who enjoys going to offbeat luxury destinations and gaining indulgent experiences. A Michelin-starred restaurant, luxury stores, a VIP club, and a suite in a high-end hotel are all within reach of this kind of traveller, who’s often seen toting an Hermes bag or Gucci belt. The best place to spot the Sophisticate? Luxuriating at the hotel spa with a pampering full body massage.

The Khakra Carrier

The Khakra Carrier is not just a native of Gujarat – rather, this category includes all those desis who like to travel abroad but can’t do without the Indian food. They might miss an important part of travel – local fare – but are happy to just see the locales and the people. Just don’t be surprised if they open a box of parathas and pickle as they picnic near the Eiffel Tower. They are also the reason the travel cooker industry is thriving.

The Tour Company Specialist

The Tour Company Specialist is one who, as the name suggests, prefers to travel as part of a tour group, preferably with a local Indian agency. This type is happy to stay behind a tour guide, be escorted on a tour buses, and stick to a strict timeline, seeing a place while not exactly experiencing it. The vegetarian/Jain catering is an obvious and comforting draw. You’ll also see this type of traveller outside typical attractions like the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower or Buckingham Palace with uniform hats to identify their group.

That Loud Kid & His Parent

Most often seen on long-haul flights, this species is little, but with a very high decibel sound level. If they’re not screaming, they’re running down aisles or playing loud video games while their hapless parents watch in-flight entertainment, sleep or simply run behind them, trying to calm them down.

The Culture Vulture

A more evolved species than The Sophisticate, the Culture Vulture enjoys immersing himself into the local traditions and customs of a place and seek new experiences. This type is usually well-travelled, and is learned in the peculiar habits of a variety of countries and cultures. Staying in a Bedouin tent in Oman, breaking bread with locals in Croatia, going for the Viennese opera – the culture vulture partakes in all these experiences and more.

The Adventure Seeker

Whether it entails taking an unplanned route amid the Himalayas, going skydiving in Australia, snorkelling in Boracay, or biking through Mongolia, the adventure seeker will have it on his to-do list. Taking risks is part and parcel of these daredevils’ holidays.

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