Forget beautiful sights and friendly locals, the real joy of travel is proving you’re a rugged, independent traveler and the rest of the backpackers at your whites-only youth hostel are simple tourists. Here’s a game you can play to determine which of your
travel companions rivals are worthy travelers and which are embarrassing poseurs who should really have stayed at home. The rules are simple: first make sure you aren’t automatically disqualified, then each person goes through the list, adds up their score, and compares it with the other players on the table at the end.
* Going with a package tour
* Staying at a hotel with more than one star
* Having anything other than a backpack as luggage
* Using the Lonely Planet: zero points (everyone else does)
* Not using the Lonely Planet: -10 points
* Traveling third class to save a dollar: +10 points
* Spending an extra two bucks to travel in first class: -10 points
* Hitching: +15 points
* Having a cool piece of gear nobody else does: +5 points
* Not giving to beggars: +5 points
* Shouting at beggars: +15 points
* Not buying something you really want because you couldn’t haggle the price down another three cents: +5 points
* Lecturing a fellow foreigner with material you learned from the Lonely Planet: +5 points
* Lecturing a local with material you learned from the Lonely Planet: +10 points
* Teaching a fellow foreigner a word in the local language: +1 per word
* Loudly correcting their pronunciation: +2 per word, +5 if you don’t know them and you’re shouting across a restaurant
* Dressing in traditional local clothing: +5 points
* Dressing in traditional local clothing even though everyone under 50 wears jeans and a t-shirt: +10 points
* Visiting more countries than your opponent: +1 per country
* Staying at a cheaper hostel than your opponent: +5 points
* Staying at a cheaper hostel than your opponent, and it serves awesome pizza: +10 points
* Being American: -5 points, unless you have a Canadian flag on your backpack
* Admitting your parents are paying for the trip: -5 points
You and your opponent add up your points and check the table below. If you have:* 20 or more points than your opponent: You win!!! You’re a real traveler and they’re just a common tourist. You don’t get to brag, though, because they’re beneath your notice.
* 10 to 19 more points than your opponent: You are a real traveler and they’re a wannabe traveler. Congratulations, you get the right to lecture them!
* Fewer than 10 more points than your opponent: Same as above, but don’t travel with them because they might win the next time you play. Sneer, and then never speak to them again.
* Equal number of points: Invite them to travel with you and play again. Do anything you can to beat them!
* 1 to 9 points fewer than your opponent: Start lying to make up points.
* 10 to 19 points fewer than your opponent: Move out of the hostel in the middle of the night and go somewhere your opponent has already visited. That way you can start again with your reputation intact.
* 20 or more points fewer than your opponent: Hang your head in shame and book a package tour.