Confessions of a student backpacker

The change in season has got many thinking about their university holidays already. With this in mind, Condor Properties reveal the confessions of a student backpacker.

Travelling on a shoestring is a rite of passage for many students. Grubby dorm rooms, crowded trains and colourful encounters with the locals; it’s all part of the charm when you’re on the road in a foreign country. What you sacrifice in hygiene and comfort, you make up for in the “experience.” Speak to any veteran traveller and they’ll always tell you the budget days were the best.

“I’m lucky, I have a job where I get to travel the world and stay in posh hotels for free,” says Dan Wadley, a businessman and former student at Cardiff University.

“But when I was inter railing around Europe, staying in 40-bed dorms, drinking in dives and eating street food, they were the best days I’ve had travelling. You have so many more adventures.”

Budget travel certainly makes for better anecdotes, he says.

“When I was in Croatia I stayed at a guest house belonging to this old man. He kept touching my shoulders and telling me I looked strong. That night I went to bed and woke up to find him standing in my room watching me. I told him to get out but that didn’t stop him; next day he tried to get in the shower with me.”

Happily, not all travel tales involve creepy old men... some involve creepy old women.

“I was travelling around Portugal with my mate and one night we were drunkenly chatting to these girls in a bar in Porto,” says Glen Roberts, a student in Liverpool.

“Trouble is, they weren’t girls, they were women and the dimly lit bar was hiding a multitude of sins; when I kissed one of them I realised she was missing a few teeth.”

At least he wasn’t asked to wrestle another man.

“I was Couch Surfing around Italy and one of the guys I was crashing with in Milan was a wrestler,” says Joe Curtis, a student in Bristol.

“One night he made me and some of the other guests strip to our boxers and wrestle in the lounge. He filmed it too. It was a bit creepy in hindsight, but it makes for a good story.”

Tom Healy and his girlfriend, Emily, also have a funny travel tale – but not one they’d want to tell their parents.

“We were on a train in Eastern Europe,” says the former Cardiff student. “We had a compartment to ourselves and started to feel a bit randy so we locked the doors and stripped. We didn’t think anything of the train stopping and were too busy to hear the announcement about the train splitting.”

“Half an hour later we realised the rest of the train was heading to Prague and we were stuck on a stationary carriage at this station in the middle of nowhere. We had to wait six hours for the next service.”