'Begpacking' is the one travel trend not to try

'Begpacking' is the one travel trend not to try

Young tourists from Western countries visit Thailand and then beg locals for money to fund their travels.

man with backpack reading a map
Pexels/veerasak Piyawatanakul

There are some travellers who just cannot resist the allure of taking to the open road with nothing but the clothes on their back and a small bag of personal items. Even at a time when backpacking has taken on a special kind of glamour, there are those who prefer to challenge themselves to survive on as little as possible and to "live as the locals do".

Then there are those who want to take the tradition of backpacking and twist into something else entirely. Enter "begpacking".

Tourists visiting Thailand have taken to carrying cardboard signs with pleas for money on them at local markets, hoping that kind locals will give them some money so they can afford to tick off the rest of the items on their itinerary. 

In the latest incident, a tourist identified only as "Alex" writes the following: "I’m travelling in Asia for 15 months. Sadly, I’m out of my savings, but I stay positive. I’d like to ask for your kindness to fulfill my dream of travelling. Please donate for my trip. Thank you."

Begpacking has been widely criticised because it exploits citizens of the country in question, many of whom are often poor. It is not the only fundraising behaviour of its kind, as other tourists have been known to busk alongside local artists for extra money for their trips. 

ALSO READ: Oregon man gets engaged to box of wine

This, too, is problematic according to the Huffington Post: "This is their space. This is where they make a living. When you come crashing in with your ukuleles and harem pants, you take away their business." 

It is unknown whether Alex, who clearly does not know how to manage a budget, was able to raise enough money for his trip. 

Show's Stories