On the heels of last week’s post about travel safety tips, I found an infographic detailing some travel scams to watch out for. Some of them (for example #1) are rather scary! Although the infographic seems to focus on Europe, some of these scams (#5 and 7 in particular) are found worldwide.
Scammers constantly invent new schemes to separate travellers from their money. Often they rely on misinformation, or just plain overcharging. Most often you lose a few dollars, and perhaps some time. Don’t beat yourself up too hard for having been “had”. Even experienced travellers can’t avoid every single scam thrown their way.
A few things to watch out for
Taxi drivers are a common source of overcharging and misinformation all over the world. This also applies to all their variants: rickshaws, tuk-tuks, and so on, and is the reason why I avoid taxis as much as possible, especially when arriving in a new country.
Always double-check your bill in restaurants as well, and count your change carefully, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the currency.
Anytime somebody is being too friendly or something is too good to be true, it’s a red flag to be vigilant. If a cab driver offers to take you on a cheap (or even free) tour of the city, you can be pretty sure you’ll be making several stops at shops along the way (where the driver gets a commission when you buy). If a stranger tries to give you a “gift”, don’t take it. Just walk away. (Why? They won’t let you give it back, and they’ll ask for money while you’re holding the trinket.)
There are also scams that target men or women specifically, and my solo travel: men vs women post mentioned a few. A common one for men starts with a friendly stranger accosting you on the street, who then offers to take you to a bar where you’ll meet beautiful girls. After a few drinks, they present you with an outrageous bill, and bouncers don’t let you leave until you cough up the cash. This happens in Southeast Asia and parts of Latin America among others. Or you may just be approached directly by a girl who asks you to buy her drinks. She’s in cahoots with the owners and the story ends the same way!
And then there are these seven popular travel scams, courtesy of Cheapflights:
As for me, I’m now all packed and about to leave on my winter trip. Talk to you next from sunny Spain!