Travelling is really great, getting to experience a multitude of cultures, meeting great people and seeing the most beautiful places on Earth.
Travelling is however a luxury for most of us, with a fraction of the population being privileged enough to afford it.
So when westerners are found ‘begpacking’ through the streets of developing countries, it leaves a rather disgruntled group of residents in it’s path.
For these countries, tourism is a vital income and many locals rely on it to survive. Sponging off of the kindness of strangers is downright selfish and honestly, if you cannot afford to travel, don’t do it!
Some countries’ authorities have stepped up saying enough is enough, with immigration officers from the Indonesian Island of Bali sending ‘begpackers’ to their own embassies to sort things out.
“We have seen many cases of problematic tourists, lately they are either Australian, British or Russian,” one official said. “We tend to report these cases to the relevant embassies so that they can oversee their citizens who are on holiday.”
We don’t really know the context behind these images, some of these people may actually be victims of some sort of misfortune, but others are clearly looking for handouts.
Visa regulations make it easy for westerners to travel, with Europeans easily popping over to Senegal for 90 visa free days whenever they get the craving to do so. If a Senegalese person tried the same, harsher rules would apply to them.
Sadly this reality applies to most of the world.
And no, before one gets upset about the whole thing, we don’t disagree that people cannot monetize while travelling, but don’t be that burden that residents hate. Offer a skill like teaching a language, selling handmade products or offer a service.
“Whilst it is not OK to beg whilst travelling there really is nothing wrong (or new) with busking or selling hand-made jewellery on the side of the road,” Will Hatton, founder of the Broke Backpacker blog, told the Independent.
“This isn’t a conventional career choice but it is how some people opt to travel the world and if you are sharing a skill or selling a product I really don’t see the harm. I think a lot of people are threatened by backpackers living so hand to mouth as it’s a lifestyle which many people just can’t get to grips with – ultimately though, for many, it’s far more fun to travel the world on $10 a day than to be chained to a desk.”
“The news about foreign tourists turning to begging and busking on the streets of Kuala Lumpur cannot be good news. They claim they need money to continue their world travel.” Malaysian businessman and traveller TV Smith said in an Instagram post.
“It cannot be a good thing as it might affect all of us travelers, especially travelers on a budget.”
“I am very angry reading this as I do not travel without sufficient funds or contingency. Most of us don’t. We stick to a plan and go home when money run low.”
“How will it impact you? Soon, many countries may start imposing conditions to enter such as minimum amount of money in travelers cheques or you must carry a credit card with a healthy credit limit. Or provide proof of hotel reservations and return tickets. I have seen it imposed at entry points in the UK in the 1980s. I don’t know if travellers cheques still exist and it was a hassle buying them before a trip. It will affect genuine travelers everywhere.”
“I think it is best we do not give money to these panhandlers as it will only encourage more shoestring backpackers to do the same. Some of the beggars boast on their Facebook, showing off their lavish lifestyle funded by begging from locals. Many just pretend to be poor and may have a platinum card in a pouch somewhere.”
Travel responsibly folks!
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