Begpackers: Get a job or go home!

About two weeks ago, I read the article “Beg-packers”: White tourists who beg in Southeast Asia This article shocked me. I cannot shut my mouth on this topic after reading it.

Who are these begpackers?

The article is about couples who sell stuff or playing music and beg on the streets of Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. They do so to earn money for their trip around the world. The so-called begpackers.

They own a lot of expensive equipment and can obviously pay the necessities, they just beg for money to travel longer.


During my travels, I’ve seen a lot of poverty.

People who work an incredible amount of hours, just to be able to buy food for their family. To be able to pay their rent. To be able to survive.

In Mexico, which is by far not the poorest country, people work mainly six days a week, often work two jobs, just to make it through the month. There are a lot of people who earn in one day (if even) what people from first-world countries make in one hour.

People have debts because an urgent expense came up, they couldn’t pay. Man, they work so hard and it just isn’t enough.

How are you able to cope with nurturing a family when you earn a day, what we earn in an hour but the prices in the supermarket are almost as at home? Seeing this happening in Mexico is what often makes me so angry.

The world is an unfair place sometimes. But not for us. For us people from first world countries.

Atlas Mountains

In the Atlas Mountains, Morocco

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home


We should be happy to be born in a country that pays people their retirement. So they don’t have to work packing bags in the supermarket at age 70.

We should be happy to be born in a country where we earn so much and yet pay so little for our groceries and luxury goods due to the huge competition on the market.

We should be happy to be born in a country where the government pays unemployed people their basic necessities (speaking of Germany).

We should be happy to be born in a country that gives us so many opportunities.

That makes so much so easy for us.

We shouldn’t be doing this.


Puno, Peru

If we work, it is easy for us to pay rent, get enough food, go to the gym, buy clothes, furniture or whatever it is you want without breaking the bank. You buy big stuff all at once. You don’t have to buy your TV, your living room furniture or your mobile phone in installments. Because there is always money left if you are smart enough. We earn enough money to regularly go on vacation or even to save enough money in one or two years to travel around the world long-term.

This is a delicate topic but I believe that we, who are the most privileged people in terms of money here on this earth, should not be the ones begging in a country where people have far less than us. This is disrespectful. Even if you don’t have enough money to travel anymore, there are people right next to you that probably still have less!

Don’t you feel embarrassed to beg for money (probably with your DSLR in hand to take photos of this moment) when truly poor people pass your spot?


Trinidad, Cuba

Beg-packers, do me a favor

So please beg-packers…Do me a favor. If you don’t have enough money to continue your trip, go to a place where you can work for a while to earn some money. Help a local in exchange for a bed. Start working online (there are jobs available which don’t have to be done by experts) or just fly home. Seriously.

If you do it right, you can travel cheaply but that doesn’t mean everyone can. Travel is a privilege. It is a luxury problem if you cannot afford it and please do not involve people who have worse problems.

You should know better. You’ve seen the world. (Tweet this)

This post is very important to me because living in Mexico makes me see struggling people on a daily basis. And I am aware that conditions in Mexico are still much better than in other parts of the world. I am often angry and sad because it is simply unfair. We are no better people. Not a bit. And still, our lives are much easier. Only because we were born in another country.

I would be grateful if you write me your opinion on this topic in the comments. Share this post on your preferred social media platform, so beg-packers think about what they are doing beforehand.

Source Feat. Image: Pixabay

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Begpackers: Get a job or go home!

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5 thoughts on “Begpackers: Get a job or go home!

  1. Alanna

    Playing music or selling jewelry isn’t begging, it’s entrepreneurship. Still, if they are taking sidewalk space that other locals could be using, they shouldn’t be doing it. If there are permits they need to secure, they should acquire them. To me, real begpackers are the ones that set up ‘gofundmes’ to fund their travels…

    1. Stef Post author

      I agree with you that it’s entrepreneurship and I don’t say they should do it. I’m just saying that I don’t like that they are sitting next to the locals who do the same but not to travel but to earn money to be able to buy food for their family.
      And yes, crowd funding is another thing but I guess it’s the same, some people have really great and entrepreuneurial ideas and some exploit the opportunities we have today.

    1. Stef Post author

      Thank you Agness! I understand that people want to make money to travel but I am the opinion that there should be other things they should do and not affect local people around them who definitely suffer more.

  2. Joe

    Unfortunately this is starting to be more common than I expected. I didn’t know it had a name. Below a link of someone that travelled through South America with a bike and gear worth more than 3k USD, sponsors, and still decided to travel with no money to “see first hand the kindness of strangers”.

    The fact that someone from the first world decides to live on charity in the third world is disgusting. Even more than a company finds it worth supporting. Most of the people from the countries she visited would not be allowed in her home country without a job contract, but she’s allowed to beg in theirs… And this is a “social experiment”. Wtf?

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