“Aren’t you technically homeless? Why shouldn’t YOU cash in too. Why shouldn’t other people pay for you to travel? Begpacking (or beg packing) is a way for backpackers like you to earn money while you travel by begging for money or busking around the world.”
Thailand has its fair share of ‘beg packers’ each year – young travellers who apparently run out of money and end up on the streets, begging for additional funds to continue their travel. They come in two sizes – the ones that are simply sitting and begging and the others that are busking or doing something to earn some coin.
Begpackers really get a big response on social media. Some netizens say ‘leave them alone, they’re not hurting anyone’. Others call them pariahs and ‘should be sent back to where they came from’. Still others think they should be ‘discouraged’ with local police attention and fines.
In a Buddhist country the culture of ‘giving’ to the poor or less-fortunate is engrained. Sociologists believe that western travellers sometimes take advantage of Thai’s good nature when travelling around the Kingdom.
But now there’s actually a website that shows people how to ‘beg pack’ with the article titled…
Everyone wants to travel around the world. Why wouldn’t they? Traveling is the best way to spend your teens and early twenties before you get too old to enjoy yourself. The problem with traveling though is that you need money to do it, no matter how cheap you are. And most of us don’t have a ton of money because we either quit our job to travel or never had a job in the first place. But don’t let a little thing like money stand in between you and your dream ‘round the world trip’. Need cash to travel? There’s a new way to get it: begpacking.
These two begpackers rounded up and fined by police three times in Krabi, Phuket and Bangkok
The article is mostly upbeat encouraging potential begpackers to earn the offerings made by passers-by. But suggestion Number 5 is to, well, just beg!
5. Just Beg for Money
You don’t need to busk to make money while begpacking on your travels. All you have to do is beg. Sit on a street corner, put out an empty cap or coffee cup, and start asking for money. It sometimes helps to have a cardboard sign that explains that you are backpacking abroad and need money to continue traveling.
Or something like, ‘HELP US FULFILL OUR DREAM!’ or ‘WORLD TRAVELERS NEED YOUR HELP!’ Everyone loves a sob story about how desperate your situation is. Locals will feel sorry for the foreigner trapped in a strange country and offer up anything they can spare. Other backpackers will feel your pain and will surely give you a few bucks of local currency. And other non-backpacker travelers will probably throw you a couple of bucks because they will give to any beggar they see.
Thailand has photos of begpackers being snapped and posted onto social media often enough. Here are a couple of eastern European begpackers that were caught by police three times in Krabi and parts of Phuket, last seen in Bangkok, trying the same trick.