FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, joining the military has enabled the less fortunate to travel. Now, the less fortunate who travel are often traveling away from militaries. There are currently about 20 million active military personnel worldwide, and the UNHCR reports over 50 million people remained forcibly displaced at the end of 2013.

How does that compare with tourism? If we put them all in one place, it would be the world’s top destination. Perhaps we should take a minute to consider how the world’s millions of refugees view travel. For many of them, it’s the only travel they’ll ever know.

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from Doug’s recently published Travel: The Guide, available now from Amazon, Google Play Books, and iBookstore.


CREDIT: PhotoAlto / Alamy / Yongyot Pruksarak / EPA / Photoshopping of the two images by Marco t’Hart / Excerpted from Travel: The Guide


While a man sunbathes at El Confital beach on Tenerife (in Spain’s Canary Islands), Red Cross members help some of the 59 sub-Saharan immigrants that were intercepted trying to reach land on a small boat.

CREDIT: Desiree Martin / EPA / Excerpted from Travel: The Guide


$3 – Backpack, outfit, shoes

$2,500 – Backpack, thermal and water-proof outfit, boots, sleeping bag, self-inflating mat, cooking gear, GPS, first-aid kit, camera, water purification kit, and walking poles.

CREDIT: Age fotostock Spain, S.L. / Alamy and Leon Werdinger / Alamy / Excerpted from Travel: The Guide


$1.50 – Cost per day per refugee family, according to UNHCR, which includes food, shelter, and 3.5 square meters of space per person.

$1,000+ – Cost per person per night for a typical private tent in a top-tier luxury safari camp, some of which include a Victorian bath, butler, and heli-pad.

CREDIT: Mark Pearson / Alamy and Frans Lemmens / Alamy / Excerpted from Travel: The Guide


1,087 passengers fit onboard a single-class 747 El Al flight from Addis Ababa to Tel Aviv as part of a 1991 operation to airlift thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

489 passengers fit in this Airbus 380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. There are 14 first-class and 76 business-class seats (that recline to a flat position), and 399 coach seats.

CREDIT: Nathan Benn / Alamy and Amy Cicconi / Alamy / Excerpted from Travel: The Guide


1,000–10,000+ people die each year while immigrating by boat (exact figures are not available). Many go for days without food, water, or shelter, and some decide to jump overboard rather than continue the horrific journey.

6 people die each year, on average, out of 20 million annual passengers (not counting deaths by natural causes or self-inflicted ones like jumping overboard or overeating), which makes cruising even safer than flying.

CREDIT: Jacqueline Arzt / AP and Mark Waugh / Alamy / Excerpted from Travel: The Guide


$840 – Annual rent for an entire shop on the Champs-Élysées (pictured here), as the main street of the Za’atari refugee camp is called. The camp is Jordan’s fourth-largest city.

$11,720 – Annual rent per square meter on the Champs-Élysées in Paris

CREDIT: Refugee city, State Department photo / Public Domain and “Champs Elysees, Paris” by Mark Kobayashi-Hillary (CC BY 2.0) / Excerpted from Travel: The Guide


1.6 million people visited Alaska (pictured here) in 2012. The world’s top destination, France, received 83 million visitors, while the United States (66.7 million visitors) and Spain (57.5 million visitors) occupied the next top spots. Almost none of these visitors traveled to these destinations by foot. Walking is almost exclusively something they did once they arrived.

1.6 million refugees selected Pakistan, the world’s top refugee destination. Iran (857,400 refugees), Lebanon (856,500 refugees) and Jordan (641,900 refugees) occupy the next top spots—all crucially within walking distance of their primary sources of visitors. (Pictured here, 37,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers flee from Libya during the 2011 civil unrest.)

CREDIT: Emilio Morenatti / AP and Accent / Alamy / Excerpted from Travel: The Guide