The ability to travel the world is a privilege. Those who can afford to jet set to exotic locales shouldn’t take it lightly.
Far too many hot-spot locales have populations living in or near poverty. When we visit, we contribute to their economy by staying in hotels, buying tickets to attractions, and purchasing knickknacks and souvenirs. These dollars are often vital for families living in touristy regions.
The difference between the standard of living and wages of people who can afford to travel and those who toil in tourist hotspots is vast, and one reason why beg packing is such an insidious trend.
What is “Beg Packing?”
Beg packing is a way of traveling with little to no out-of-pocket expenses. Instead, you “beg” your way around the world.
People who beg pack don’t generally come from poverty. They may not be able to afford to travel however they want, but they typically can afford plane tickets and then beg for food and shelter once they arrive in a foreign country.
Some beg packers try to earn a buck selling little trinkets rather than begging. They’ll whittle little figures, crochet cute creatures, and set up shop next to the locals selling their own wares.
Why Beg Packing is So Messed Up
Typically, you see a beg packer from a wealthy country begging or selling alongside a native resident of a poorer country.
A post on the popular R/Trashy Reddit community showcased why it’s such a horrible trend. The post featured a picture of a man in what appears to be Vietnam, holding a sign that says, “I’m traveling without any money, please support my trip.” Behind him is a native woman selling coffee.
“Behind him in the back is a lady selling .75usd coffee, making around 15usd per day trying to get by and feed herself and her family,” said one user, pointing out how ridiculous it is to beg for travel funds when natives are busting their butts to support themselves.
“Please third-world support the journey of a first-world spoiled brat,” snarked another.
“Taking up space in another country like this is wild,” said one Redditor. “To beg for people’s money when you had the privilege to travel and leave is absolutely insane. He doesn’t get it.”
Back Packing Hurts Locals
These beggars are oblivious to the damage they cause to the places they claim to love.
“First-world poverty is real, but it’s also nothing compared to poverty elsewhere,” stated one user, and they’re right.
Although the US has a proven poverty trap, those who can afford a flight aren’t caught in it. These people pay for airfare to foreign countries with worse-off economies and people and basically steal from them.
Every dollar they receive to “fund their trip” is a dollar that could have gone to the local economy.
Some Countries Restrict Beg Packers
Most countries welcome foreign tourists who will spend cash. However, they restrict visitors who may become a burden or take from the economy rather than give to it.
“In Thailand, one theoretically actually has to have at least 300€ with them when entering the country to show that one can afford staying there,” shared one user, adding that they weren’t actually checked when they entered.
“Exact same happened to me when I went to Australia. Thing is, I needed 5k AU$,” replied another.
“My bil tried to do this somewhere in Europe, and they turned him around and put him on the next plane out of there,” added a different user.
A number of countries work to ensure that all visitors will be a net gain for the economy and not a loss. Even if you aren’t beg packing, its best to check the entry requirements for any foreign country you wish to visit.
Travel is Life-Changing, Beg-Packing Isn’t the Way
Traveling the world is a magical experience everyone should attempt at least once in their life. However, make sure you can afford it before embarking.
While the experience shouldn’t be limited to the privileged few who can afford it, stealing from locals who are less well off than you isn’t the way.
There are plenty of ways to save money for travel or to travel on the cheap, so there’s no need to beg for others to fund your trip.
Enjoy the world, but not on the backs of others.