There’s something so beguiling about new destinations, new people, new experiences and all the excitement that comes with them. While you’re busy telling yourself to make the most of your trip and embrace every adventure that comes along your path, let’s take a moment to realise that traveling is not a bed of roses. While immersing in the beauty of a place or drifting away with your thoughts is a great way to absorb your surroundings, make sure it doesn’t come in the way of your alertness.
That’s why we’d like to give you a little nudge about some of the most common tourist traps across the world.
1. Taxi Trickeries
Transport is a major concern when you’re visiting a new destination. For obvious reasons, it’s difficult to grasp the routes and how the internal commuting takes place. While trains and buses have standard fares, it’s the deceitful taxi drivers that make a fortune out of duping tourists. You’ll often find several taxi drivers lined up outside key locations of the city, like railway stations and airports waiting for innocent passengers. They’ll quote a sky-rocketing fare or take you via complicated longer routes, ultimately making you shell out lots of cash. The best way to diffuse their efforts is by using the map feature on your phone to track your route, and insisting on traveling with accordance to the taxi meter.
2. Entry Fee Frauds
All good things in life are free – well almost! Many popular tourist attraction spots, especially the ones which are nature-centric do not entail an entry fee. On the other hand, some charge a nominal fee for visitors. If you are new to the place and don’t know the local language, you’re prone to encountering fraudsters who’ll demand fake entry charges or higher fees. Let them not fool you with their authoritative tone and extort more money out of you. Before visiting tourist sites, read up more about the place. Official websites will provide all the information you need with regard to an admission fee or allied charges. If at all someone imposes any tariff, ask for a receipt and a breakdown of the charges. If you’re unsure of their intentions, ask fellow tourists around if they’ve been asked to pay as well.
3. Tour Guide Trouble
Guides are important parts of sightseeing expeditions. Shedding light on the relevance and history of the place can be very enriching and informative. Well aware of the international tourists around them, many hoodwinkers show up as tour guides. Additionally, you may also come across tour guides who’ll make fake promises to take you around, but at a dirt cheap rates. That’s just their easy way to make money, leaving you there with a precious travel day wasted. Book yourself a guide through a proper travel agency, even if it means you have to spend a little more money than you want to. These guides are trained and will also help you navigate in other parts of the city.
4. Street Shopping Shams
Street shopping is an adventure of its own. Vibrant markets and countless options to choose from, is every shopper’s dream. Let the dream not turn into a nightmare, with you paying exorbitant amounts of money for cheap roadside products. We all know how shopkeepers outsmart their customers, especially foreign tourists who often struggle with the domestic currency. Small souvenir shops and bazaars often entertain bargaining, and therefore start by quoting high prices. You can save yourself from falling for these retail traps by speaking to a local you know well. If not, avoid splurging in such marketplaces and visit proper stores instead.
5. Dining Deceptions
There’s nothing worse than a dissatisfying meal at a swanky restaurant that burns a deep hole in your pocket. Following the trait of street-smart sellers, restaurateurs are no less. Since each place you visit has their own authentic cuisine and delicacies you may be unaware of, you are likely to try the wrong food at the wrong place. Even if you’ve enjoyed your spread, you might land up paying more than you should. Luckily, there are a plenty of apps out there that’ll help you locate the restaurants, hotels and food joints that cater to your taste buds and wallets. Check the reviews and menus of the place before making a choice.
6. Currency Cons
You’re almost out of cash and want your native currency converted into the local one. Go to a bank! Your trip can take a different twist if you trust anybody other than yourself with your money. You’re sure to find embezzlers sitting on corners of the street, who’ll do the currency exchange for you without charging any fee. Those are exactly the kind of people you should stay away from. Befriend a bank in any situation that deals with depositing, withdrawing, transferring or exchanging money. Also, while making any cash transactions, be sure to watch out for counterfeit and damaged notes.
7. Sympathy Scam
You’re walking on the pavement admiring the skyline of the city, when you’re suddenly interrupted by a young person asking you to hear them out. They tell you about an organisation they are associated with, which works for the welfare of physically or mentally challenged individuals. As a validation, they’ll show you a bunch of heart-breaking photographs and tell you stories of patients. By striking chords of compassion, they’ll request you to donate some money. Please don’t.
It’s unfortunate how imposters try to make money by using disabilities to their advantage. It may look genuine, but most often than not, it’s a trap.
8. Begging Bowls
Poverty prevails in every country. If you’re traveling within any third world nation, be prepared to have little children, old women, and handicapped people asking you for money. Yes, it’s a sorry state. What hurts more is that it’s true. But don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Tourists are easy targets after all. If you must, then instead of dispensing your cash or coins, it’s better if you gave them something to eat.