Begpacking: How to Pay for Your Travels by Begging and Busking
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 at all. But don’t let a little thing like money stand in between you and your dream trip. Need cash to travel? There’s a new way to get it: begpacking.
What is begpacking? We’ve all seen those guys on subway platforms and street corners begging for food and money. Sometimes they are busking by selling crappy drawings or playing a cello off key. Often they are just asking you to spare some change. Usually they are poor people or homeless people. But… why can’t YOU do it too? Aren’t you technically poor? Aren’t you technically homeless? Why shouldn’t YOU cash in too. Why shouldn’t other people pay for you to travel? Begpacking is a way to earn money while you travel by begging or busking wherever you go.
All you need to do is find an empty spot on the street (the busier the area the better — look for local beggars who know where to go and set up near them!) and start asking for money. The best part is you can do it anywhere in the world! Whether you’re traveling in Thailand or Cambodia, Nicaragua or Honduras, fellow travelers and locals alike will definitely feel sorry for you and hand over some dough. It’s the perfect low-effort way to fund your travels! Not sure how to start? Here are some suggestions to get you out of your country, on the road, and on the street in no time!
Five Ways to “BEGPACK” around the world:
1. Play an Instrument
Did your mom make you take clarinet lessons as a kid? Are you carrying around a guitar to look cool anyways? We’ve all seen those guys playing drums on street corners or playing violin in the subway. Why not cash in on your skills and play on the street for tips? This works best with lightweight instruments that fit easily in your backpack. Flute, harmonica, ukelele. You don’t even have to be that good. I mean, have you heard most of those musical buskers?
2. Make Art
Can you draw halfway decently? Paint? Sew? Knit? Glue shit to cardboard? Consider making art and selling it on the street. Or you can offer up on-the-spot portrait or caricature drawings to passersby. Bonus: it really helps if you can make art similar to that of the local artisans. People love buying local souvenirs! And they love it even more when they can buy it from Westerners. If you can’t make art of your own, consider buying it from a local market and marking up the price. You can always haggle down and sell it for twice as much! No one will be the wiser!
3. Sell Photos
Do you travel with an iPhone? Who doesn’t! You probably take photos with your iPhone too. Perfect. Find a place to print out a bunch of your photos and sell them on the street. Who doesn’t want gorgeous photos of the places they travel to!?!?!?
4. Make Friendship Bracelets
If there’s one thing backpackers love to wear, it’s friendship bracelets. Some collect them based on all the BFFs they make while backpacking. Others collect ones to signify all the countries they’ve traveled to. No matter the reason, backpackers often wear a sleeve of friendship bracelets. Lucky for you: friendship bracelets are easy to make, use cheap materials, AND weigh next to nothing. You can carry a whole load of them and you won’t even notice the weight. Make heaps of them in all kinds of colors (especially those of the flags of the countries you’re traveling in) and sell them to backpackers. Bonus if you’re skilled enough to sew words and phrases into them like “THAILAND,” “WOLF PACK,” “CUNT.” Those are guaranteed to sell.
5. Just Beg
You don’t need to busk to make money while begpacking. 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! WE 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 money. And other non-backpacker travelers will probably throw you a couple of bucks because they will give to any beggar they see.
See? You don’t need money to travel the world! All you need to do is beg. Begpacking is a great way to take your dream trip when you don’t have the funds! Why pay for your trip yourself when there are other people that will?
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