Travelling around the world is a dream for many of us and we all have our reasons for it. Some say that it’s a kind of meditation for them while some want to explore the culture of different places. For some, travel is a source of happiness and for some, it’s a break from their otherwise monotonous life. Whatever your reason might be, we should travel as much as possible because of the contribution it does to our overall personality development.
Essentially, two factors are required for travelling, and those are time and money.
Normally, people earn money, do some savings, and then travel using that money. Some people do freelancing work like digital marketing, website development, etc, and fund their travel. But nowadays, we see a different kind of a trend where some people claim to travel without money. We see a lot of such posts on social media, in which people ask for help in providing them with food or accommodation as they are travelling without any money. There are a lot of content creators on YouTube who make videos about travelling and show how they managed to travel with either no money or very minimum money by relying on hitchhiking and other people for food and accommodation. And what surprises me the most is the glorification that these posts receive from a very large number of people, appreciating the daring they show.
Here, I would like to specify that I hold nothing against anyone who is doing it or promoting it. They are free to lead the kind of life they want. But wasn’t it always the case, No Money= No Travel. My problem is with this trend of relying on others to bear the cost of your travel. In a way, it’s a kind of begging, just that you are doing it for travelling while a very large percentage of the population does it for basic survival. If you are so passionate about travel, work for it and spend your own money on it.
Some people would come up with an excuse that they want to travel but don’t have money. To them, I would say that they should first focus on building their career and then travel with the money they earn. If your financial condition is not good, it is your responsibility to improve it first before you think about anything else.
But the question is that, isn’t hitchhiking a kind of begging? If you are in a situation where you are not finding any transportation facility due to some unforeseen circumstances and you ask for help, then it is not begging. However, if you are doing it just to save money on your trip, then yes, it is begging. You knew that you would be travelling from place A to place B and you could have planned for paid transportation, be it private or public. But instead, you chose to stand by the side of the road, with a placard in your hand, asking for a free ride.
What about free food and accommodation? If you are relying on others for your food and accommodation while you want to travel around, you are begging just like someone who is begging for basic survival needs. The only difference is that they are asking for it directly and you are asking for it subtly. Some people would say that we do couch surfing, or we stay with local people just to experience their culture. I would say that if you want to do that, you can stay in a homestay and pay for it. Or if you want to stay with some local family and think that the host might get offended if you offer money to them, give them some gift as a token of gratitude.
I often see people posting about volunteering for food or accommodation. It’s a wonderful thing to do if you are doing it to support some cause. If you are doing it to sustain your travel, it is still acceptable as you are doing some work for your food or accommodation or whatever you get in return. But be very careful if you are doing it in some foreign country and check the rules beforehand. Normally, you are not allowed to work for remuneration when you are on a tourist visa and it might land you in trouble.
Some trends are not supposed to be followed and this one is surely bad. Think about a scenario when a lot of people get inspired by these no money travellers and start travelling like this. When you travel to someplace and spend money over there, you contribute towards the economy of that place. But if you are not spending anything, you are just a burden for the place and its economy.
If you don’t have money, earn it. If you have less money, travel on a budget by using public transportation, stay in hostels/homestays, and eat in dhabas or roadside stalls. A lot of information about low coast travel options is available on the internet. Do thorough research and make a travel plan that suits your budget.
What’s the point of travelling when you have to constantly worry about your next meal and where are going to stay next?