Backpacker Bingo: The Ultimate Travelling Drinking Game

Backpacker Bingo Cover

We all know the backpacker stereotype. Dreads, bracelets, hippy clothes, baggy pants and a backpack the size of a house. As much as I tried desperately to rebel against the backpacker stereotype during my trip, I still somehow managed to slip into it every now and again; it was inevitable. And so, I invented Backpacker Bingo.

Backpacker Bingo Rules

Backpacker Bingo, a fun-filled game to enjoy with new hostel friends, travel buddies, or by yourself in your head! It’s a way to tick off (or drink to) all the typical backpacker things that you said you’d never do, but somehow find yourself doing anyway…

One point (or drink) every time you see, do or meet one of the following. Even better, make up a bingo card with 20 of these (or your own ideas) on it. Then tick them off as you go along with prizes at the end. Don’t forget your dobber.

Backpacker Bingo 1
What are you wearing?

Backpacker Bingo

Same Same But Different

Cockroach sighting. Probably in your clothes or bag.

Some guy in your hostel whips out an acoustic guitar that he can’t play. Neither can he sing.


Backpacker Bingo 2

A tuk-tuk ride that makes you wonder if you’ll ever get out of this alive.

Power cut.

Squat toilet.

Bum gun.

Eating an insect (either by accident or on purpose).

Backpacker Bingo 3

Drinking a whole fresh coconut as a hangover cure, chopped open by a scary guy wielding a machete.

Beer that is cheaper than water.

Rope anklets and bracelets.

Someone repeatedly mispronounces the name of the place you are staying, but everyone is too polite to correct them. Double points if they ask, ‘What country are we in again?’

Someone says Angkor WHAT? Like it’s the first time anyone has ever said that.

Backpacker Bingo 4
Angkor WHAT?

That’s not oregano sprinkled on your pizza.




A full conversation with someone (traveller or local) using only hand gestures and laughter.

Backpacker Bingo 5

Caving to your Western appetite and eating a burger and chips. Double points if your meal is from McDonald’s.

You do something that you know you’ll never tell your mother about.


Selfie stick.

Put down your bloody selfie stick and live in the moment.

Backpacker Bingo 6


Mosquito bites (even though you surround yourself with a cloud of deet).

Someone in the dorm snores, sleep-talks, sleep-walks, or all of the above.

An overnight bus journey that saves you a night’s accommodation, but sets you back two days of productive sightseeing because you’re too exhausted to do anything.

Scooter exhaust pipe burn on your leg.

Backpacker Bingo 7

Rice paddies.

I really hope that noise I hear isn’t someone having sex in the dorm room.

Someone who just got a tattoo they will definitely regret. Double points if it’s you.

You dump a third of the stuff in your ridiculously heavy backpack. Most of that discarded weight is toiletries.

Why did you even bother bringing your makeup bag?

Backpacker Bingo 7

You stop brushing your hair.

You think you’ve become an expert at haggling. Then you see a local buy the same item as you just did for a third of the price you just paid.

You need to get somewhere fast to catch a flight/meet a friend/something important. Inexplicably, no transport is available that day.

Something gets stolen.

You leave something behind at a hostel… then something else on a bus… then something else in a taxi…

Backpacker Bingo 8

Absorbing odd slang and accent twangs.

Jumping off something into water.

Elephant pants.

You’re on the other side of the world, in the middle of nowhere… and you bump into someone you know from back home.

Spending the day on the toilet.

Backpacker Bingo 9

You realise that street food is less likely to make you ill than the ‘Western food’ served in restaurants.

Lizard friend in the dorm room. (No, really. He’s your friend. He’ll eat the cockroaches and the bedbugs.)

Someone gets up in the middle of the night to pack.

You start to daydream about having a proper bath.

Jellyfish sting.

Backpacker Bingo 10
This hat.

Your shoes break.

Pretty girl out on the town or lady of the night?

Lady of the night or ladyboy of the night?


All-day happy hour.

Backpacker Bingo 11

Damn, I can’t wait to be home.

Damn, I’m never going home.

What is that smell? Oh, it’s me.

Backpacker Bingo 12
Temple. Temple. Another temple. Buddha. Another temple…

The Winner

The winner of Backpacker Bingo gets a round of beer-that-is-cheaper-than-water bought for them, or the prize of the tackiest fridge magnet you can find. BINGO!

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