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Travel is truly one of the best things that a person can do – it broadens the mind, fosters empathy with people of all races and cultures and creates memories that last a lifetime. However, travel is a luxury and a privilege that only a fraction of the world's population can afford.

So when Western people, with all the privileges we hold, are found 'begpacking' on the streets of developing countries, it can leave a sour taste. Tourism is a vital source of income in many countries; we should travel in such a way that maximizes the benefits for local people and businesses. Sponging off the kindness of strangers to further our own selfish travel goals is just not on! If you can't afford to travel, stay at home until you earn enough money to do it ethically.

Authorities in some countries have had enough, and now immigration officers on the Indonesian island of Bali have started sending these 'begpackers' to their embassies to get themselves sorted 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."

While we don't know the context behind these pictures - some of these people might genuinely have been a victim of some misfortune - others are clearly just looking for a free ride around the world.

What do you think about this phenomenon? Have you traveled on a tight budget before? Have you ever found yourself needing help in a foreign country? Do you see a problem with this kind of 'begpacking?' Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

#1

Saw This Foreigner Begging To Travel To Thailand Next To An Elderly Woman Who Is Collecting Junk In Order To Resale To Survive

Saw This Foreigner Begging To Travel To Thailand Next To An Elderly Woman Who Is Collecting Junk In Order To Resale To Survive

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#2

In A Very Working Class Neighbourhood That Has Been Especially Hard Hit By The Typhoon How You Have The Nerve To Beg For Money To Fund Your Travels Around Asia Is Completely Beyond Me

In A Very Working Class Neighbourhood That Has Been Especially Hard Hit By The Typhoon How You Have The Nerve To Beg For Money To Fund Your Travels Around Asia Is Completely Beyond Me

Your new clothes and new shoes, begging for money in a wet market as people around you try to rebuild their shops and lives

peteryuill Report

For the vast majority of the planet the cost and practicalities of travel make it simply an unattainable dream; visa regulations are stacked heavily in favor of Western passport holders and affordable flights just don't exist in many parts of the world.

A European can, for example, pop over to Senegal for 90 visa free days whenever they feel like it. However, if a Senegalese person wanted to do same, going back the other way to Europe... harsh rules and restrictions apply for them. This is the reality for most of the developing world, so be thankful for the greater freedoms your passport gives you. Click here to check out the 2019 Global Passport Power Rank

#3

Begpacker In Hong Kong

Begpacker In Hong Kong

Hong Kong Free Press Report

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Claudia
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This kind of people are so annoying, get a job, there are people and causes that REALLY need money, to live instead of traveling so you can post dumb pics on insta.

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There is nothing wrong with sharing a skill, like teaching a language for example, or selling some hand-made products. Travelling on a shoestring is a source of pride for many people, who enjoy the challenge of survival in challenging places. That's also fine, as long as you don't become a burden and have to rely on others, who themselves may have little to give.  

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“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.” 

#5

I Happen To Pass By This Area In Bukit Bintang And I Saw This Irresponsible Act By Russian Begpackers That Can Literally Cause Injury To That Poor Baby

I Happen To Pass By This Area In Bukit Bintang And I Saw This Irresponsible Act By Russian Begpackers That Can Literally Cause Injury To That Poor Baby

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Marcellus the Third
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well this one was arrested for it, in Feb 2019 [see e.g. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-47126174 ]. This is a specific Russian thing/belief/fad, "dynamic baby yoga".

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#6

Begpacker In Seoul

Begpacker In Seoul

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Kerry
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I agree this person is a piece of s**t a*****e. I don't agree with your use of his race. There are plenty of shire people who would never dream of doing anything like this!!

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"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."

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"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."

Pretty much sums it up! Let's hope this horrible new 'phenomenon' is quickly dealt with. Travel responsibly, everyone!

#7

Beg Packers - Tourists Who Travel With The Intent To Beg For Money From The Locals To Fund Further Travel. Peep The Sign, Too

Beg Packers - Tourists Who Travel With The Intent To Beg For Money From The Locals To Fund Further Travel. Peep The Sign, Too

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Rodney W Bidmade
Community Member
4 years ago

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#8

Initially She Started To Beg With Her Child And Picture Of Her Because Her Husband Dumped Them

Initially She Started To Beg With Her Child And Picture Of Her Because Her Husband Dumped Them

Few days later this husband pops out and they are together begging.

begpacker Report

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Rodney W Bidmade
Community Member
4 years ago

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#10

Begpacker In Seoul

Begpacker In Seoul

koryodynasty Report

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NanZ
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What these people are doing is so tasteless and disgusting to me. I had no idea that this kind of thing was even happening. I am just so shocked and disappointed in these people.

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#11

She Is Stil Active And Doing The Same Scam Since We Reported In May In Penang, Malaysia

She Is Stil Active And Doing The Same Scam Since We Reported In May In Penang, Malaysia

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#13

Westerners Are Traveling Around Asia On A Shoe String Budget And Begging For Money To Fund Their Trip

Westerners Are Traveling Around Asia On A Shoe String Budget And Begging For Money To Fund Their Trip

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#14

Somehow Begpacking Is Becoming A Trend Among Ukrainians, Please Support Them, Share With Us When You See Them To Help These Brave Hard Working Travelers!

Somehow Begpacking Is Becoming A Trend Among Ukrainians, Please Support Them, Share With Us When You See Them To Help These Brave Hard Working Travelers!

begpacker Report

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vp
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I mean, relatively speaking, he's not terrible. He's at least selling photos to fund his trip.

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#16

They Literally Would Create Such A Gimmick Of Putting Blind Folds And Offer "Free Hugs" With A Donation Box Asking For Help To Fund Their Travels

They Literally Would Create Such A Gimmick Of Putting Blind Folds And Offer "Free Hugs" With A Donation Box Asking For Help To Fund Their Travels

We can clearly see how privileged these guys are because a lot of Asian girls got so giddy about them to the point that one of them wept with joy while being bear-hugged by one of them. Welp, I guess this is becoming a trend now... 

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#17

What Ever Happened To “Free Hugs”?

What Ever Happened To “Free Hugs”?

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Kaisu
Community Member
4 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why is there misspelled Finnish in the sign behind him. Or maybe it's Estonian, if there's an Estonian person here, let me know, because I'm curious

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#18

Begpacker In Seoul

Begpacker In Seoul

koryodynasty Report

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Kimberly Irving
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

At least he's doing something for the money.....no different than a street performer in North America.

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#19

His Signs Reads: "You Can Hug Me For Free And If You Want You Can Support My Trip And Leave Some Donation Let's Hug"

His Signs Reads: "You Can Hug Me For Free And If You Want You Can Support My Trip And Leave Some Donation Let's Hug"

What makes this guy think anyone wants to hug him? And to pay him for it? Pssh nah bro, get a job like the rest of us

kineticcrisscriss Report

#20

Yesterday I Saw These Blindfolded Travellers Asking For Money In One Of The Most Transited Areas Of The Shopping District Of Kuala Lumpur

Yesterday I Saw These Blindfolded Travellers Asking For Money In One Of The Most Transited Areas Of The Shopping District Of Kuala Lumpur

Travelling is a choice, and not only a choice but a luxurious one. When you choose to travel, to leave your comfort zone and explore the world you might feel yourself as an adventurer, and you might be one, you are one among your group of privileged people. If you can actively decide to leave everything behind, take a backpack and wonder the world, it is because you have a social structure that allows you to do it. You do it because most likely your family does not need your work force to be sustained, you do it because even after months or years of travel, you can go back to a safe place were your "Struggles" as a backpacker will only be a nice memory of the times when you decided to get out of your comfort zone and "Live". I have no troubles with the people that decide to travel and perform an art, entertain people, and from that keep travelling, or finding a part time job in different places to keep going, as long as it is legal. When I was living in oxford I had a licence to perform in the streets and I was registered as a legal busker as a side activity. I have also performed in bars and hostels in exchange of a beer or an extra free night. I have done hardcore backpacking myself, and if it wasn't for the dozens of people that have let me stayed with them or that have helped me in other ways, I wouldn't have been able to live as many experiences. But I have never pretended that people should give me free money to keep travelling, to keep doing what the majority of the people in this planet will never be able to do, not because they don't want to but because they can't. I have always had enough to sustain myself, I plan and save for years for my travels

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#21

Begpacker Near Hồ Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi

Begpacker Near Hồ Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi

RevolioClockbergSr Report

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
4 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Due to many very long business trips to Việt Nam (that's how they spell their country's name) I have spent a total of almost 2 years in this country. I know how much the average Vietnamese people earn and it makes me really angry to see such beggers asking them for money.

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#22

Begpackers Spotted In Hoi An

Begpackers Spotted In Hoi An

pallantejm Report

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Seeminly So
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Faces buried in a book and drum. Yeah, I'd be ashamed to show my face, too.

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#23

Begpackers In Asia

Begpackers In Asia

begpacker Report

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Meeow
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why the f**k we need to give you our hard earn money, don't have money to travel don't f*****g go.

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#24

Begpacker

Begpacker

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Kaisu
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You know what other people do to achieve their dream? Work hard and earn money

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#26

Begpacker

Begpacker

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Kaisu
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Don't believe people like these! If they were truly robbed, they would contact their country's embassy and get help that way!

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#27

Begpacker In Seoul

Begpacker In Seoul

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Alia Darling
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Idk i feel travelling artists and travelling musicians arent too bad! Its the free hug ones or the ones that just sit there asking for donations that really gr8 my bones

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#28

Begpacker

Begpacker

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K Miller
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Peasant? His sweater looks practically brand new.... ffs if you don't have enough money to travel then go the f*ck home! Or don't leave home in the first place.

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#29

Begpacker

Begpacker

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YoyoSthlm
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well a least this dude had the energy to translate the sign... but wouldn't it cost money to have those photos printed?

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