Going to someplace, you've never been before is an ideal way to spend quality time with your loved ones. But don't let travel excitement cloud your judgement. Often to save money or to have a memorable time, travellers ignore the basic travel etiquettes. And being oblivious to things happening around you in a new country may cost you.
To help you stay ahead of the game, here are a few common travel rip-offs and scams:
1. Fake notes and denominations
When using a cab or any other means of transportation, you may come across many restless drivers. These drivers usually protest over change or switch a 50 for a 5 or 100 for a 10 and angrily claim that you haven't given them enough. And because you are in another country, you would feel dominated, and you will either make peace with it or have a banter with the driver.
To avoid such mishaps, mention the amount that you pay. For example, if the amount is the US $50, you can say, "here is your $50". A simple affirmation will compel the driver to believe that you are aware of the transactions happening. Thanks to our smartphones, most of the time, we are oblivious to the things happening around us. It is hard to focus on things all the time. However, being aware of the things happening around you will help you have a safe and fun time in an unknown country. Also, don't accept torn or worn-out notes, it would be hard to exchange them.
2. Ticket Scams
You are new to a place, and wandering around a bus terminal. You hear someone offering a bus ticket for a discounted price. Feeling happy to have witnessed a crazy deal in a new town, you approach the guy and buy the card to avoid the hassle of standing in a queue. But this satisfying move will surely leave you disgusted when you find out that it's fake or invalid when you board the bus.
You can avoid such scams by buying tickets from an official booth or window.
3. Attention-seeking Conmen
Distraction is one of the common tricks used to con travellers. Crooks and conmen usually operate in groups and pretend like tourists. They will either ask for an address or will try to have a conversation. While your focus is entirely on one guy, the other will fleece you of your wallet. Once they get what they want, the person talking to you may slyly walk away from the scene.
It is just one of the thieving skills they use, but crooks have many tricks in their hat to divert your attention. It can be through kids, women, or a simple fall over act. If you are cautious, you will notice these malice acts.
4. Fake Tours
Meeting new people and spending time with them can be fun. But you never know what their intentions are. An unknown local operator can cost you money and time. When travelling to a new country, it is always recommended to use a travel management company. When your itinerary is set, you will know there is no risk involved in spending, nor would you be too bothered about your safety.
So do your research, check online reviews and ask your friends for recommendations. And always book accommodations in advance. A simple hack that will help you save a lot of money and time.
5. Taxi Or Auto Scams
People living in India know for a fact that most of the autos on the streets have a broken meter. So, whatever extortionate fares they ask for, we are obliged to pay for and travel. These things happen to locals in the city. Imagine someone travelling from a different country!
There are many ways through which the unprofessional drivers can scam you:
1. They may take you in the least direct route.
2. They may claim the meter is broken and ask for a ridiculous amount of money.
3. They may have an understanding with the local hotels, so they may compel you to stay at a place where you would not wish to.
Always make sure you have a word with the guide or a local who you know, regarding the transportation charges. And ensure you travel with a licensed driver.
6. Souvenirs Scam
If there is one thing that a traveller carries back home apart from lasting memories, it is the local souvenirs. And to buy one, many travellers insult their common sense. It is an unfortunate sight to see counterfeit or fake souvenirs sold in the name of reputed artisans. Fake souvenirs are labelled as real things and mass-produced in a factory with the help of poorly paid employees and poor working conditions.
Try to spend some time with the shop keepers. Ask them questions like "Is that indigenous carving or painting authentic?" "Has it been locally crafted?" or "Are the materials sustainably sourced?" These questions will surely help you know how to shop for souvenirs sustainably and ethically.
You arrive in a new country, you decide to head out and have a good time by grabbing a drink at the local bar. To give you company, a friendly local walks up to you and tries to strike a conversation. He comes off like a genuine guy; he helps you with the local information you are looking for. The night wears off, and you have had too much to drink. And by the time you realise you are drunk, your friendly local is nowhere to be seen. You search your pockets, and you can't find your wallet. Getting stuck in a bar with an overpriced bar bill to pay can be the result of trusting an unknown person. The situation will be too overwhelming for you even to think of a solution.
Not all localities are conmen, but it doesn't harm if you think that way. Always be cautious of your valuables and drinks you are having. And never let a stranger make your drink.