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Well we’ve all guiltily visited it now and again, haven’t we?

 Occasionally borrowing a tenner to top up your Oyster card and never paying it back. Letting them pick up the restaurant bill… well… every time. But it is a recession after all.

Haven’t you heard? The youth are struggling! And uh, so are some of us not-so-youthful...

But some parents are really going above and beyond, with one in 10 of them paying up to £5000 toward their kid’s gap year travels, according to new statistics. Five grand!

What on Earth are they doing with it? How many containers of pad Thai can a backpacker consume?

Actually, I have a pretty good idea of what some of them are doing with their wads of cash, ever since I overheard half a conversation in a cafe in Sri Lanka last year.

A British backpacker had called her mum and was howling down the phone,

“But you promised I could do a skydive if I got here and still wanted to... about £300... hmm, better make it £500. Just transfer it, God!” She hung up, after sniffling out a hasty,

“Yeah-love-you-too-bye,” and spent the next 15 minutes showing off to her mate about how she’d managed to con a few extra hundred quid out of her stingy mum.

More than anything else, I felt a bit sorry for the girl. Backpacking in your gap year is meant to be a rite of passage – sink or swim out there in the big bad world.

You come back boasting about how you survived on nothing but biscuits for a week after missing a flight – you’d got drunk with these crazy guys you’d met in the hostel bar the night before.

If your pals breathlessly ask what happened next, and you say, “I called home and demanded an instant wire transfer,” well, that’s got to lose you a lot of points in the cool stakes, hasn’t it?


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Travel opinion: One in ten parents fund kids' gap year, should they?
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