The beggars and touts we meet while travelling are people just like us.
Are they often annoying? Yes.
Are they sometimes overly pushy? Yes.
Do some pesky kids sometimes gang up and con us? Yes
Are travellers seen by beggars and touts as money bags? Yup

Do we, as travel bloggers have the right to speak of them as lower than the scum of the earth?
Are we better than they are because we have extra resources at our disposal to visit their countries and remind them of their poverty?
Are we realistic in basing our expectations of these human beings on our idea of utopia?

I have been combing through blogs recently as I research an upcoming sojourn and I read two encounters that just left a bad taste in my mouth. Oh my, the way they spoke of the people truly broke my heart – I just clicked off and did something else.

Why don’t we prepare mentally to experience the beggars and touts in the places we visit?

Is this not a part of the authentic experience of visiting a location in the developing world? How often do we take the time to sit and listen to why a beggar or a tout is doing this? This is something that I usually find interesting because it helps me to understand the people in those places where I travel. I guess being from a developing country I understand certain struggles and don’t judge as harshly I guess.

There is often nothing you can do to stop beggars and touts from what they see as their jobs but you can prepare for it and try to view things from their perspectives too.

Beggars and Touts are a reality of visiting developing countries

That is correct. Many developing countries have high rates of unemployment for various reasons. If tourism is a major industry you will encounter touts and beggars. Will they be like mosquitos singing in your ears throughout your travels in that country…absolutely. People engage in this activity because it pays and people need to earn a living.

I know the frustration of being tired, jet lagged and being greeted at the airport by pushy touts. You need a strategy to combat this and it ay involve a bigger travel budget to a destination.

A refreshing scene in the midst of this unpleasant topic

A few suggestions on how to avoid or minimise your interaction with touts and beggars:

Forget being a budget traveller
In order to save money you will need to get local transportation and such which means going to the places where you will encounter touts and beggars.

Do packaged tours
This means everything is organised and there are locals escorting you everywhere and you will run into less beggars and touts though not necessarily the latter

Visit only destinations in developed countries
The tourism industry is usually more organised/developed so there are regulations that may mean no touts or beggars will appear.

Pre-book the necessities for your trip
I find booking lodgings, transport and local tours ahead help with not having to do the back and forth with touts. It is nice to be able to say thank you, smile and let them know you have it all arranged. Though this doesn’t mean these entrepreneurs won’t try to give you a better deal. They are entrepreneurs after all.

Hints of fall to brighten the mood of this post

Our expectations need to line up with reality. I enjoy every aspect of a destination I am exploring and I try my best to keep an open mind. I hope as travel bloggers we would treat all, the people meet in our sojourns, with dignity. We can share about the unpleasant aspects of our sojourns without being unkind.

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