From language barriers and dirt roads to poisonous snakes and unforgettable landscapes, travelling to developing countries (formerly known as the Third World) is no doubt an exhilarating experience. The differences from exploring the Western World are countless, but it is those differences, both good and bad, that combine to make it a life changing event.
photo credit: Duquesa Mercedes
Cheaper - The most important point for many backpackers comes down to the price tag. Travelling in lesser-developed countries gives them the ability to stretch the money that much further since the cost is frequently much lower. In this sense, backpacking often gives people the opportunity to build on their budgeting and planning skills and helps them learn how to make decisions based on value (*tell that one to your parents).
More Culturally Authentic - If the culture hasn't been touched as much by present technology, then chances are it will provide a more authentic cultural experience, allowing you to get a better idea of the true behaviour of the people.
Unforgettable Scenery - Some of the most untouchable places on earth supply the most breathtaking scenery. Envision climbing volcanic peaks, crossing desert mounds and trekking through jungles.
Less Security - Funding proper police forces and other security measures is problematic for developing countries, meaning many officers turn to corrupt methods to get a decent paycheque. Because of this, a traveller can never be 100% sure of their protection.
More Difficult / Dangerous Transport - Funding problems also mean that roads might not meet proper safety regulations, or be nothing more than a dirt road. Transport can lead through dangerous terrain, such as mountainous hills, making it something to be concerned about.
More Petty Theft - Watch your pockets! Money belts will become your best friend as sneaky pros and rambunctious kids eye your wallets. Again, economies with less money will have more sticky fingers to worry about, especially when they see a traveller coming their way.
Greater Health Risks - Japanese Encephalitis, Hepatitis, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Malaria... the list goes on. Some of these illnesses can have horrible side effects, or even cause death if not treated. Be sure to get your vaccinations and take all necessary precautions.
Greater Security Threats - It might be possible in some countries to become the target for terrorist activity, or to get caught in the middle of a war. If you happen to be travelling in a country full of civil unrest, try your best to stay on top of the news.
Is it worth it?
photo credit: Gusjer
My personal story:
"I was overcome by anxiety before my flight to Kyrgyzstan, a small, unknown country that most people don't even know exists. I had all my necessary medications, vaccines, and safety tactics I could think of, only to be surprised by the extreme ease at which life travelled. My host family took me in as one of their own, and when I decided to leave for my own apartment, I was surrounded by glorious mountains in every which direction and neighbours that quickly proved why the Kyrgyz are known for their hospitable ways. I cannot even begin to explain the ways travelling to this country has changed me. In my opinion, it is very much so worth it."
What do you think, Furnished Property tenants? Does the good of travelling to the Third World outweigh the bad? We want to hear your personal stories on how this type of travel has, or has not, changed you.