Vacation is a time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a much-needed break from reality. When you arrive in a dream destination, the last thing on your list of things to do is to watch out for scams. Unfortunately, as a tourist in a country, you can become an easy target for scams.
Here is our list of the top 7 scams to avoid while traveling:
1. Set the price first
Before getting into any taxi or going on any tour, always set the price first. Taxi drivers can run meters, change prices, or take you on a runaround of a foreign city to jack up prices. Always set your price before getting into a taxi or a tour so there is never any confusion and you are in control of the situation at hand.
2. Don’t eat in a tourist area
After visiting a tourist area, it’s easy to want to head into the first restaurant you see, but beware of the prices that are behind those doors. Tourist restaurants know that they can up prices by more than 50% just via their proximity to popular sites. Walk at least 2 blocks away from the tourist destination to find lower, local prices.
3. Never give your credit card
Credit card scams can happen at home or on vacation, but the last thing you want is your credit card to be taken in a foreign country, leaving you stranded without money. When dining at a restaurant or buying anything at a shop, make the staff bring the credit card machine to you, constantly keeping the card in sight.
4. Too good to be true
If a price or deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. If someone offers to take your photo or give you a gift, be weary of taking it. Many times, once you accept this “gift,” you are asked for money and put in a precarious position. Avoid these too good to be true deals by simply saying no thank you.
5. Saying things are closed
Many scammers pray on unsuspecting tourists by pretending to help. If a stranger approaches and says that the site that you want to visit is closed, but offers to take you somewhere else, wave the red flag! This is a scam, often found in big cities with major sites. Kindly refuse and walk away. If a major attraction is closed (which doesn’t happen often), you will know that it is closed.
Don’t rely on a stranger who is looking to give you the runaround and get a kickback from it.
One of the absolute worst travel scams to beware of is pickpocketing. While this can occur anywhere, crowded tourist areas like train stations and tourist sites are a favorite of pickpockets
. One of the main ways travelers get pickpocketed is through distraction. One person will come up to you perhaps performing something, offering you a gift, or asking if you need help while their accomplice slyly snatches your goods out of your pocket.
Your best bet is to keep valuables out of pockets and in a protected over the neck pouch, in a shoe, or in a hidden zip pocket.
7. Only buy tickets or goods direct
Many taxi drivers or overly helpful civilians will offer you a discount on admission tickets or goods. While it seems like they are being helpful, many times they are either selling fake tickets or they are overcharging you for the goods and in turn, they will get a kickback from said ticket seller. Graciously refuse and always buy your tickets directly from the source.
How do you keep clear of scammers while traveling? Comment below!