While traveling is one of the most enjoyable and life enriching experiences, there are many “scams” out there that can turn your dream vacation into a nightmare. The good folks over at Guiddoo put together a great list of 11 common travel scams to help you avoid them.
1. The Flirty Fox
M.O: An attractive woman will approach a solo male traveler and begin to flirt, eventually leading him to a bar or club. However, the catch is that she already has an agreement with the bar, and they will charge you an extortionate amount by the end of the night. Either that, or the consequences could be much much worse.
Trick: Always keep an arms distance from attractive strangers, and if you do end up striking a conversation, always go to a familiar/touristy place and never leave your drink unattended.
2. The Helpful Pickpocket
M.O: Pickpockets posing as helpful locals will warn you about ‘pickpockets’ close by and tell you how they just saw someone get pickpocketed. They will ask you to check if you still have your valuables, but they are actually probing where you keep them so they can steal them later.
Another approach they could use is if they see you struggling to figure out a foreign ATM machine.
Trick: Keep your valuables safely at the hotel and always try to travel with minimum cash on you. Cards should be kept safely where only you can access them. Try keeping your wallet in your front pocket.
3. The Friendly Flowerman
M.O: A man will approach a tourist standing with a spouse/girlfriend, and offer her a rose. Once accepted, he will ask for an exorbitant amount of money for it and refuse to take the flower back. He will even go as far as to shame you for being cheap if you refuse.
Trick: Straight out refuse the man, and surprise your girlfriend a little later with something better!
4. The Lost Taxi Driver
M.O: Some taxi drivers will try to take advantage that you’re ‘touristy’ looking and assume you’re unfamiliar with the area. They will ask a few questions to check if you know and if you don’t they’ll purposely take longer routes, get stuck in traffic and drive intentionally slower. Some drivers will even use rigged meters to jack up the fare.
Trick: Try and map/plan out your day so you know the best routes and what landmarks you will be passing along the way. Alternatively, you can ask other taxi drivers if you’re on the right track.