The world can be very small, but at the same time it is enormous with many far corners waiting to be explored. For many first-time travellers, the range of choices can be rather daunting. Choosing a travel destination isn’t always easy but thinking carefully about different options will help give you the optimum experience.
I’m sure you’ve heard the terms before but what exactly do the terms “First World,” “Second World” and “Third World” actually mean and more importantly, how do they relate to travel? Back in 1952, French demographer Alfred Sauvy invented the concept of the world being sub-divided into these different categories. Briefly, they can be described as follows:
First World: is also known as the free world or the West. It refers to democratic and economically developed countries that offer capitalism and freedom for individuals.
Second World: refers to socialism and is made up of Communist countries. It is marked by government suppression and has a history of genocide and human suffering.
Third World: in more recent years, this term has largely been replaced by ‘developing countries’. Some are much closer to being ‘developed’ than others with many of the poorest countries having a history of civil war, malnutrition, disease and misery.
WHICH IS BEST?
This is always an interesting question that doesn’t have a definitively correct answer. The first point that should be noted is that since the Cold War, countries are often now referred to as simply ‘developed’ or ‘developing’. It’s debatable which category some countries fall into but either way, the fall of Communism has seen Second World countries redefined.
The best advice I can offer is that it’s entirely up to you.
Consider what potential travel experiences inspire and excite you. For me personally, when I travel alone I am happy in any world as long as I can see historical sites and experience the local culture. I tend to think that visiting cheaper countries that are quite different to your own create more memorable travel. The reason for this is that what these countries lack in development, infrastructure and facilities, they make up for in personality and spirit. If you don’t mind a little discomfort and additional challenges, it is a compelling reason to visit developing countries.
With regard to your budget, obviously travelling in first world or developed countries is going to be more costly. So, if you are combining countries it may be a good idea to go from first world to third world and not the other way around. That way, you avoid the shock of everything suddenly starting to cost so much. And if you need to do it the other way, be sure to save your pennies because in some places you’ll need them!
In summary, I wouldn’t recommend any particular part of the world over any other based on how developed it is. Some categories encapsulate entire continents and you can naturally expect a lot of variation with such a vast region. Every travel destination is unique and offers something different. The reality is that, no matter which world you enter, you can still have the time of your life seeing and doing what you personally enjoy.