7 Tips for Avoiding Scams while Traveling
Unfortunately, traveling doesn’t always go so smooth, particularly when scammers are involved. Here are seven tricks for avoiding scams while traveling.
Tip #1: Know the Taxi Prices
Who isn’t familiar with this situation? Once you get to your destination, the taxi driver charges you a much higher price than expected, and now you’re stuck contesting the bill to no avail. You end up resentful that you took the taxi when you would have rather done ten other things instead.
To avoid such a situation, we recommend that you agree on the price before starting the trip. It is also wise to listen to friends, acquaintances, and locals about normal taxi prices and their recommendations. It’s also important to inform yourself about other cheap travel options. Especially, when in many places you can get from A to B not only by taxi, but also by minibuses, long-distance coaches, ferries, or trains.
Depending on which country you are traveling in, taxi prices will change, so keep that in mind. Though, it is important to make sure that the taximeter is not tampered with, making it run faster than it should. For avoiding transportation scams while traveling, be sure to research beforehand what the prices should be.
In many countries, there is the Uber app or similar apps, which are a cheaper alternative to expensive taxi rides. Due to the transparency of the app, scamming attempts can be in this case largely ruled out. However, the Uber drivers are not often welcomed by taxi companies. For this reason, it is important to inform yourself beforehand about the usage of Uber and similar services in the place you are visiting to avoid inconveniences.
Tip #2: Be Wary of Tourist Traps
Unfortunately, there are tourist traps everywhere, but if you get enough information ahead of time you can still enjoy the destination without much concern.
Everyone knows the “typical” tourist, or the people you would recognize anywhere and at any time, simply because they have their selfie-sticks at the ready, Bermuda shorts hoisted high, and stop everywhere to take photos.
The saying “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” also applies on vacation or when traveling. You don’t want to attract too much attention, but rather try at least somewhat to blend into the crowd.
Again, listen to recommendations from friends or acquaintances on where and how you can avoid typical tourist traps. Also, do your research ahead of time on your particular destination to learn about the most common scams while traveling there. Tourist traps are common not only at popular sights, airports, and restaurants, but also on the streets.
For example, if you are approached at a market and are given great offers, listen carefully and stay a little suspicious. Sure, you want to get involved in the new culture and get to know new things, but that doesn’t mean that you should believe everything you’re told.
Tip #3: Don’t Forget to Barter
Whether in markets or in shops, you can put your bartering skills to the test in many countries because it is often customary to haggle over the price. Paying the first price is perhaps not necessarily considered falling prey to scams while traveling, but the starting price is usually higher than sellers expect to get. You can save some money by negotiating.
We advise you to always start your negotiations low so that you can meet the merchant somewhere in the middle. In addition, it doesn’t hurt to make nice conversation before you begin to haggle so that you build some good feeling. Such conversations while bartering can benefit you in terms of price and provide a totally interesting and pleasurable chat.
Moreover, you should not be rude to the merchant because they will not lower the price if you are too confrontational or are offering a price much lower than what the item is worth. If the bartering chat isn’t pleasant, there is a higher chance that vendors simply won’t sell the product to you. So, have fun and treat the vendors with respect.
If you have informed yourself about various prices in advance, you will be in a better position when negotiating. In the end, the best deals are those where the buyer and the merchant leave with a good feeling.
Tip #4: Know What You Are Paying For
Before you spend your money, it is best to know what you’re exactly getting before you spend it.
It is often advised to find out the details of your accommodation in advance. For example, use online reviews, preferably those with photos, and pay attention to both the number of reviews and how often the service has already been booked. This way, you can avoid accommodation scams while traveling.
You can also get information from other people who have already booked the same thing as you. In this case, it’s helpful to swap opinions and experiences with each other before booking.
Furthermore, we advise you to pay for the booked service after the service is completed. For example, if you’ve booked a room, you should only be paying once you are ready to leave. Therefore, you can be sure that you are paying only for what you used in the end.
Tip #5: Be Confident
Being in a foreign country can be intimidating and feel lonely at first. That is why charisma and a healthy amount of self-confidence are important. These qualities will help you meet new people faster and to feel more comfortable. Traveling alone will definitely train and strengthen your self-confidence and the way you carry yourself.
In particular, it is important that you do not stand out because of shy and reserved behavior. This kind of attitude may make you a target for scams while traveling, since people will think they can easily take advantage of you. The more open and confident you are in a new place, the more fun you will have!
Tip #6: Listen to Your Gut
How many times have you been in a situation where your gut was right in the end?
Even on the go, it is important in some situations to simply listen to what your gut is telling you. If you’ve got a bad feeling in a certain situation or something doesn’t feel right, then hold off and take care of yourself in a way you see fit.
No matter what it is, be it a conversation with someone or a walk in the jungle, if your gut says no, listen to it! It is usually an instinct that wants to warn you of potential dangers.
Tip #7: Be Brave and Have Fun
One thing you should always remember is that no matter where you are, with whom you travel, or what you do, it is never wrong nor bad to say no to something.
Of course, you might get into bad or stupid situations, but you shouldn’t be afraid of that. It happens to everyone, and there is no shame in backing out of something. In the end, it is those unplanned, tricky situations where you learn the most. Just remember to laugh it off afterwards – strong self-confidence will be greatly helpful here. Don’t let scammers pressure you or try to trick you into doing or buying anything. Instead, trust your gut.
The most important thing is that you have fun on your trip and do what you want. So, don’t let yourself be pressured by scammers and enjoy the adventure of your life!
If you listen to your gut, pay attention when paying, and take advice from those you trust, you can avoid the most common scams. Don’t let avoidable regrets spoil your adventure. Despite some potentially difficult situations, you will still enjoy traveling to new countries and experiencing new cultures.
For more tips on how to prepare for traveling abroad, check out our article on trip preparation here!