Opinion

Mobile Phone on a Beach

Are Mobile Phones Ruining Travel?

Was travel BETTER and MORE ADVENTUROUS before the days of Mobile Phones? Does constant connection to the Internet in almost every corner of the globe enhance, or diminish our travel experience? What do YOU think?

Maya Bay Koh Phi Phi set to close April 2018

CLOSED TO TOURISTS! Koh Phi Phi & Boracay. Where Next?

For 4 months this summer starting June 1st, Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi will close to tourists. Authorities in the Philippines are discussing a 6-month closure for Boracay Island. Is a closure necessary to protect these natural beauty spots and where should be next?

What is a “Backpacker”? Tell us what you think… #abackpackeris

What does the word backpacker mean to you? Do you have to wear certain clothes to be a backpacker? Do you have to be a certain age? Do you have to stay in hostels? Do you have to be on a budget? Is there a ‘backpacker’ stereotype in SE Asia? Tell us what you think… #abackpackeris

Hill-Tribe-Children-Thailand

Stop Trying to Find The “Real” Southeast Asia!

I’m going to have a rant about the word ‘authentic’ when applied to travel. When used by either travel companies, or backpackers themselves, I feel it’s the most ‘inauthentic’ and overused word in the whole travel vocabulary!

“Backpacker Tourism can be a Force for Good.” Says Aid & Development Worker

Backpackers may not spend a lot, but almost every one of their dollars stays in the local economy. With package tourists, often hardly a penny is spent in local, host economies, rather large tourist corporations, big hotel chains and restaurants, shopping malls selling Western brands. It begs the question “Why does backpacking not feature in tourism developments?” Why do backpackers get a bad rap, out of proportion to the tiny fraction who misbehave?

“Begpacking”: Backpackers Behaving Badly?

Over the past few days a photo has been going viral on Facebook showing two backpackers in the street selling postcards to fund their travels. I can’t help but think that this story is being blown way out of proportion by the Western media and the image of these two young, naïve backpackers is being used as a scapegoat for the inequality of the world. Before you get angry with me, here are some thoughts I’d like you to consider…

Child beggars at Chong Kneas Floating Village, Cambodia.

How Do You Feel About Beggars When You Travel?

Throughout my travels in India and South East Asia, I’ve been approached by beggars of all ages. Sometimes, I’ve given money or food. Sometimes I haven’t. Every time I go through a complex surge of emotions and the internal dilemma I describe here. Does everybody feel something similar to this? How do you cope with being approached by beggars?

7 Reasons Why Tourist Hotspots Aren’t Necessarily So Bad…

Disclaimer: Some touristy places are, without doubt, man-made hell-holes that have been commercialised beyond salvation. We’re merely suggesting that you shouldn’t write them ALL off – until you’ve experienced them yourself. Then, and only then, can you slag them off until the cows come home!

5 Off The Beaten Track Experiences To Have In Southeast Asia

South East Asia is a region that’s constantly changing. What was once an empty beach might be covered in hotels and resorts on your return visit, and that little village you discovered may be swarming with tourists the next time around. But don’t fear! Finding a slice of paradise all to yourself in this popular part of Asia is still possible… you just have to look a little bit harder! S.E.A Backpacker Ambassadors, Nick and Dariece, from Goats on the Road share their tips…

Notes From the Editor: Do you Embrace the Prospect of ‘Change’ into Your Life & Travels?

The anticipation of a big change has been lingering in the air of the S.E.A Backpacker office in Chiang Mai recently. As soon as it was felt, we knew deep down that we must follow our hearts and obey the backpacker spirit that brought us here in the first place… Even though making big changes in your life is never easy, sometimes you need to take the plunge and dive right into the next adventure…

Notes From the Editor: Don’t Let Your Possessions Possess You!

Living a life of minimalism can lead to a life of increased adventure. Those tied down with credit card bills, car loans and mortgages while harbouring a desire to escape can relate to this. Sometimes it can seem that your possessions possess you! For a brief period of time, as you live out of your backpack, you witness a life where you are detached from your things, location independent and free to go wherever the adventure beckons. Spontaneity reigns –suddenly everything is a possibility…

Old guide books

Is the Lonely Planet Dead? We Question the Future of the Travel Guidebook…

With Lonely Planet being sold by the BBC this week for a shocking £55 million loss, does this put the future of guidebooks into question? This happens in the same week that we hear Frommers guidebooks, born in 1957 with the groundbreaking ‘Europe on 5 dollars a day’, announce the decision that they will publish no more titles. So what do you think? What is the future of Lonely Planet and the travel guidebook in general? Is there still a place for the guidebook when you are planning your trip?

Notes from the Editor: Patience and Backpacking in South East Asia

“What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”… When backpacking through South East Asia, your patience threshold will be tested on more than one occasion. Trains that take five hours longer than planned, spontaneous holidays that make banks, embassies and post offices close when you just need to get that something done and a laid-back attitude to the point of slumber are just some of the things that you may struggle with. Coming from a Western culture, we find it very difficult to just… WAIT. Learning to adapt to this cultural and lifestyle difference is an ongoing lesson…

The Death of the Postcard?

Long gone are the days when an ink quill, a scroll and an owl (or perhaps a stamp and some help from the Postal Service) were all it took to pour out your deepest most heartfelt feelings and get them to your person of choice. Why bother, when these days a short text, a quick Facebook comment, a simple email or a public Blog can do it with far less effort expelled and in much less time?

Green Fields Seen From A Hut in Pai, Thailand

Notes from the editor: Where is home?

Where is home to you? Is it a building or a place where you grew up or where you went to school? Is it where your family and friends are located? Is it a place where you feel like you can just relax and be yourself? Lyrically speaking, is ‘home where the heart is?’ or is it ‘Wherever you lay your hat?’ Editor, Nikki Scott discusses the concept of home and how travel has changed the place where she now calls “home”…

Notes from the Editor: Going Against the Grain and Forging Your Own Path

Many people in the West tend to follow a similar route – we leave school, go to university and get a job – success is measured in assets and achievements. It can be scary and daunting to imagine a life that strays from this structured ladder. Backpacking is a time to break away from the regimented order of Western society and get a taste of a different way of life – adventure, excitement, spontaneity. Once sampled it may be hard to go back to ‘normal life’…

Notes From the Editor: Travel and a Simple Twist of Fate…

Unencumbered by routine and responsibility, backpackers are free to make impulsive decisions that have the potential to change the next few days, weeks, even years of their lives. Have you ever wondered how differently your backpacking trip may have turned out if certain, seemingly insignificant events had gone differently? Retracing the steps of your journey it is possible to pinpoint those tiny instances that with hindsight literally changed everything, the course of your journey and even your life…

Notes From the Editor: What Does Travel Teach us?

What does travel and living in a foreign country teach you? Does it changed your personality? Does it change the way you look at the world? Since the idea of backpacking began, travellers have returned home with shaggy unkempt hair, a dozen bracelets on their wrist, perhaps a bindi on their forehead and proclaimed to their wide-eyed parents ‘woah man, Cambodia really changed me.’ I want to delve deeper into this statement and ask why? And how does it change you?

Escape From the ‘Real’ World. Could you Backpack Forever?

For many, travelling is the ‘time of your life,’ an inspiring, fun-filled adventure that happens once in a life time. Something you ‘get out your system’ before resuming your position in the ‘real world.’ But what if you decided you’d rather not go back to the ‘real world’? An interesting idea, but a far-fetched fantasy! Or is it?

South East Asia: Same Same But Different. (Our First Article Ever!)

The minute you arrive in South East Asia, you quickly realise that it’s not quite the strange, far off, foreign land your mum thinks it is. Backpacking through this part of the world, you’ll encounter such an interesting ‘fusion’ of Eastern and Western cultures that at times you may have to stop and remind yourself where you are!

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