The Hobo Checklist
To qualify as a globetrotting hobo, a certain sneaky and skillful backpacking criterion must be met. When setting off into the big wide world of money-scamming rip offs with low cashola, even lower standards of hygiene and a non-existent moral conscience, why not be smart about travel? A hobo’s gotta do what a hobo’s gotta do.
1. Hobos will always, always take the cheapest mode of transport. In fact, we would prefer a 30-hour-bus ride accompanied by a night in a dodgy transit center somewhere in the middle of Woop Woop than a first-class sleeper train that takes half the time and costs a few more bucks. You might be thinking, Why not just save time? Be comfortable? Be safe? Well, worrywarts, we crave the adventure, the unexpected. It’s all about the journey.
2. Hobos go above and beyond to look up friends, family or people they know through an aunt of a cousin who used to work with their neighbour and happens to conveniently live in the places they want to visit. Stalk them on Facebook, send a friendly, enthusiastic message and there’s your free couch and local insight to a new city.
3. Hobos come prepared to free hostel breakfasts with a bag of some sort, empty pockets or at least napkins. These breakfasts are usually Western style and serve bread rolls, muffins or old fruit. This is the time to sacrifice looking like a complete fatty and stuff that plate up, fellow scumbags. When no ones looking, slide the leftover (plus more) contents into the bag and voilà: squished deep in the pits of your smelly backpack lie the next few meals! Simply genius.
4. Hobos usually don’t pay for tours. Most of us aren’t fans of tours, as we like to daydream about the history of a monument and bail when we’re over it. However, if there is a tour you’re keen on doing, be smart about it. Don’t pay. Suss out the meeting place and follow the group inconspicuously, nice and close so you can hear the famous tales and important historic dates, but not close enough for the guide to realise you are not actually part of the group.
5. Hobos see the free and stuff the fee. As often as you can, visit free museums, galleries and parks to save entry prices to sometimes underwhelming tourist traps.
6. Hobos can’t afford luxuries like body wash and laundry detergent, nor can we afford to take up valuable space used for playing cards and muesli bars in our stuffed rucksacks. The solution is easy – a cheap bottle of shampoo will do wonders for your hair, skin, and if you lather it enough, it can be used as shaving cream. Another use I have recently decided shampoo works well for is laundry detergent. Pour a little in the machine and BAM, your clothes will smell like pomegranate silk anti-frizz shine in no time.
7. Hobos think it’s perfectly fine to wear the same underwear two days in a row, but the third day is pushing it, even for us, so for ultra hygienic reasons, just turn them inside out. This lightens your laundry load and carbon footprint. Feel good and fresh.
Congratulations rookie hobos. If you have ticked off the above, you are well on your way to exploring the world, true shoestring style. Be smart about squeezing the most out of life… and your toothpaste.