Sorry, But You Should Stay Home If You Can’t Afford It

At the risk of being dragged over the luggage belt, I’m going to step out here and give my opinion regarding travelling via panhandling or begging.

In a word, DON’T.

Increasingly, on the streets of Hong Kong and other major Asian cities, (note this article, from the South China Morning Post,, you’ll find young backpackers looking for cash. Some might play an instrument, busker-style, some try to sell a few trinkets, but most just hold signs that say, “Please Help, Out of Travel Funds”.

Sure, you might argue that generations of young people have strapped on their rucksacks to hit the open road. The difference here is that, unlike those nomads, these kids EXPECT others to fund their travels. They’re actually intentionally going abroad with full-knowledge they won’t be able to afford it.

Well, that’s wrong. Travel is a privilege, not a right. Instagram isn’t helping the matter, with all of the sharing of glorious travel pics from far-flung destinations, why wouldn’t you want to get out there and see the world? You have to work hard to make that dream happen, kids. You can’t just wing it.

Hong Kong is arguably one of the most expensive cities in the world, Singapore also on par, and everyone knows Tokyo’s high prices. These big cities also have their own fair share of local beggars, many with horrific injuries that will tug at your heartstrings. These folks probably can’t make it across town, much less around the world. The under-funded international traveller crew have no business on these streets.

With many countries now offering the Working Holiday Visa, I’ll argue that instead of burdening places that already have their own fair share of social problems, you can afford to have a fantastic trip…while making money to fund it. As you should. That’s your responsibility when you take on travel. Not ours.


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