14 Main Journey Scams to Keep away from

A black and white photo of the 3 card monte scam travel
Up to date: 12/28/2018 | December 28th, 2018

Journey scams are actual.

Once I began touring, I fell for them too.

On my first large non-tour journey, I bought scammed twice on the identical day.

My good friend Scott and I had simply arrived in Thailand. We have been in Bangkok looking for a ship cruise to take us up and down the Chao Phraya River. A taxi driver prompt this one firm; we went there, and came upon that an hour-long tour was solely $30 USD. Not even occupied with whether or not that was a deal or not, we agreed. To us — nonetheless occupied with costs again house — that supply appeared like a good value. It was solely because the boat tour ended early that we realized we’d have been ripped off (afterward, we came upon that we paid double the worth).

Then, after lunch, we wandered over to the Grand Palace. Once we bought there, we didn’t see any crowds. We seemed down the left aspect of the palace, then over to the appropriate. “The place is everybody?” I requested. An enterprising tuk-tuk driver came visiting to us and instructed us the palace was closed for lunch. Scott and I checked out one another. Possibly that was proper. In spite of everything, many museums typically try this, plus we didn’t see anybody round. It appeared possible. He provided to take us to some that have been open.

“Positive,” we replied — and located ourselves visiting not only some temples but additionally a swimsuit store, a gem store, and a memento store.

Afterwards, as he took us to the palace (which was unsurprisingly open). It was then we realized that it had by no means been closed — we had simply been on the flawed aspect of the constructing.

We had been scammed.

My life as a traveler was not off to a great begin.

So, at the moment, I wish to offer you an inventory of journey scams to keep away from.

Avoiding journey scams requires a variety of widespread sense and a wholesome dose of suspicion. If it appears too good to be true, it most likely is!

(Moreover, in case you are carrying a journey guidebook, they often record the most typical scams in that nation.) Listed below are a few of the extra common ones to keep away from:

1. The taxi overcharge

This is without doubt one of the most typical journey scams on the market. Both the driving force will inform you the meter is damaged and attempt to cost you an enormous fee otherwise you’ll see the meter go increased and quicker than Superman!

To keep away from this rip-off, first you have to know the way a lot a journey ought to price. I at all times ask the hostel or resort employees what a journey ought to be so I’ve a body of reference. Subsequent, if the cabbie tries to barter the speed with me, I supply him the right fee. If he refuses, I discover somebody who will put the meter on. If the meter appears to be going up too shortly, I’ve them pull over and I get out. Many tourism boards allow you to report dangerous cab drivers, so be sure you at all times make a psychological be aware of their ID quantity while you get within the cab.

And by no means get in an unlicensed cab — irrespective of how wonderful the deal is!

2. Your lodging is “closed”

One other cab driver rip-off: your driver will attempt to inform you your resort or hostel is overbooked and even closed. It’s not. I imply, you wouldn’t have booked it if it was, proper? Simply ignore them and demand on going there. In the event that they preserve attempting, proceed to insist. They are going to often shut up about it.

And whereas this looks like a rip-off nobody may probably fall for, folks do. I’ve been in lots of cabs the place they insist my hostel has been closed for months.

A be aware on taxis: On this smartphone period, we now have our energy again. We’re now not helpless, as a result of we are able to look on a map and see the precise right route. I wish to look on Google Maps and see what the perfect route is. If it appears like they aren’t taking it, I’ll often level to the map and demand they go that means. (I left a taxicab in Bangkok not too long ago as a result of he tried to drag a quick one on me by taking an extended route.) If I’m going to a rustic the place I received’t have telephone entry, I preload the map onto my telephone. Your telephone’s GPS will work even in case you don’t have a connection. Moreover, journey providers like Uber place accountability on drivers, which tremendously reduces the probability of you being cheated.

3. The shell sport

I see this one on a regular basis — how folks fall for it I’ll by no means know. It’s such an outdated and apparent rip-off. It’s in films, for heaven’s sake! You’ll see folks on the road enjoying a card sport (typically referred to as three-card Monte) or hiding a ball in a cup and somebody guessing the place it’s and profitable cash. Then you definitely determine to play — and also you win! Pondering that is nice, you guess more cash… and then you definitely lose — and lose time and again.

Don’t get suckered into this con. Bear in mind, the home at all times wins!

4. “Are available for tea and assist me write a letter!”

Whereas in Morocco, somebody tried this journey scame on me. I used to be strolling out of a comfort retailer when a man struck up a dialog. Discovering I used to be from NYC, he stated he had a cousin who lived there (the primary giveaway) and needed to know if I may come to his store to put in writing a postcard for him (the second giveaway). The aim right here was to get me within the store, possibly give me some tea, after which strain me into shopping for one thing. This makes use of the psychological precept of reciprocity: he gave me tea, he was good to me, so quickly I’ll really feel socially obliged to purchase one thing.

To keep away from this, don’t comply with folks to a second location or imagine they immediately have a cousin who occurs to dwell precisely the place you do!

5. Free bracelets/rosemary/something they’ll placed on you

On this rip-off, widespread in Europe, a pleasant particular person will method you for a fast chat, then place a bracelet round your wrist or hat in your head, or offer you just a little sprig of rosemary. Upon getting it in your particular person, they’ll demand cash. Whenever you refuse, they’ll start to trigger a scene within the hopes you’ll relatively give them some cash than be embarrassed.

Don’t permit anybody to place something in your physique, and be extraordinarily cautious of accepting something without cost. In the event that they put one thing on you, merely take it off, give it again to them, and be agency about it. Then stroll away and transfer on along with your day. They received’t chase you.

6. The spill in your garments

There you’re, minding your personal enterprise, and somebody spills one thing on you. Ruins your day, however accidents occur, proper? They’re profusely sorry and supply to wash it up, dabbing the stain, and apologizing. While you’re all flustered, they’re selecting your pocket. By the point you understand what has occurred, they’re lengthy gone.

This rip-off can also be widespread in Europe. Beware of individuals encroaching in your particular person if it’s not a crowded space already. If this occurs, push folks away and clear it up your self.

7. Bike rip-off

You lease a motorcycle, after which while you carry it again, the proprietor calls for further fee or costly repairs as a result of there’s some harm you didn’t find out about. I see this rip-off quite a bit in Southeast Asia and different creating areas of the world.

To keep away from this, take photographs of the bike first to doc any earlier harm. Go round it with the proprietor so that they know what you’re taking footage of. Use your personal lock, and preserve the bike out of sight and off a predominant road while you park it. Generally an proprietor will ship somebody to mess with the bike or steal it so it’s a must to pay! Additionally, at all times ensure you purchase journey insurance coverage so you may make a declare if there is a matter.

8. The flirtatious lady

You arrive in a brand new nation and head to a bar, the place a fantastic native comes as much as you for a chat. You may’t imagine your luck. You’ve gotten some drinks and wonderful dialog and go to a brand new bar or membership that she prompt. Nonetheless, after a wild evening and many drinks, the girl disappears and also you’re pressured to pay an overpriced invoice with some actually large guys bearing down on you to ensure you do. Or, worse, you get drugged and get up utterly robbed of all the things on you.

The easy answer to that is to be cautious of engaging ladies who promise to take you to the world’s greatest membership, get you drinks, or are overly flirtatious, particularly while you stand out like a sore thumb as a foreigner. Getting on a airplane didn’t improve your attractiveness by an element of 10.

Observe: Why didn’t I point out an analogous rip-off for ladies? As a result of let’s be actual, we males are dumb and often considering with our little mind. Ladies are too good to fall for this.

9. Your attraction is closed for lunch

As talked about, that is what occurred to me and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker! A pleasant native approaches and informs you that the attraction you wish to go to is closed for any variety of causes (non secular ceremony, vacation, and many others.). Then they’ll information you to a unique attraction or store, the place you’re pressured to buy one thing or pay quite a bit for entry.

To keep away from this, discover the principle entrance or ticket counter and see for your self. Additionally, take into account that most points of interest don’t shut for lunch — they shut for the day. Even higher, search for the open hours earlier than you go, so you already know what to anticipate — opening and shutting occasions are virtually at all times accessible on-line. Don’t be like me!

10. The “discovered” ring

An innocent-looking particular person picks up a hoop on the bottom and asks in case you dropped it. Whenever you say no, the particular person appears on the ring carefully, then exhibits you a mark “proving” that it’s pure gold. She or he provides to promote it to you for a greater value. They make some cash, and also you get some gold you possibly can resell. It’s win-win! You suppose it’s a great deal, purchase it discover out it’s faux while you attempt to promote it at house!

That is widespread in Europe. One in all my tour members virtually fell for it once we have been in Paris, however I intervened in time and despatched the particular person away. One of the best ways to keep away from this rip-off is to not purchase the ring. If it sounds too good to be true, it positively is.

11. The faux petition

You’re at a preferred sight and a girl or child (typically pretending to be deaf or a pupil) will attempt to get you to signal a petition. You don’t know what they’re saying, and to finish the awkwardness, you signal the petition, hoping they’ll go away. However the petitioner then calls for a money donation. At greatest, anybody who falls for this rip-off is out some cash; at worst, they’re pickpocketed whereas preventing with the petitioner.

One other one among my tour members fell for this rip-off (even after I warned him particularly about it), however I saved him in time. To keep away from this rip-off, simply ignore folks coming as much as you to signal a petition, particularly when they’re in teams and attempt to encompass you. Simply carry on strolling.

12. The drug deal gone dangerous

This rip-off is widespread in lots of creating international locations. You’re in a preferred vacationer space (often a celebration place) and somebody provides you medicine. You say sure, and earlier than you already know it, a (actual) cop is on the scene! They provide to arrest you or you possibly can pay the high quality proper there (i.e., a bribe). Caught red-handed, you’ll most likely pay the bribe relatively than go to jail.

Merely put: Don’t purchase medicine in different international locations!

13. The flawed change

This occurs quite a bit in international locations the place the payments look related to one another. Individuals have a tendency to have a look at colours first, so while you get a pile of change that’s the identical shade, you suppose you bought the appropriate change — however they actually gave you the flawed payments, hoping you received’t discover till after you rush out.

To keep away from getting taken, depend your change fastidiously each time.

14. The switcheroo

This occurs all around the world and principally with shirts, carpets, rugs, and antiques. You’re at a retailer and also you see a designer merchandise at a cut price value. Possibly they bought it wholesale? After some haggling, the proprietor agrees to promote it you. However when you aren’t paying consideration, he offers you a knockoff.

To keep away from this rip-off, first keep in mind that no designer something goes to be that low-cost. Bear in mind, if it appears too good to be true, it’s not true. Second, be sure you at all times watch what the vendor is definitely providing you with to make sure it’s the precise merchandise you needed.


To keep away from getting scammed while you journey, be cautious relating to folks providing you one thing in a touristy setting. Consider it this manner: in your day-to-day life again house, would you go for it? If the reply isn’t any, then likelihood is 99% that it’s a rip-off you have to keep away from.

On the street, just a little widespread sense goes a good distance.

What journey scams have you ever encountered or fell for that aren’t included right here? Remark beneath!

Anxious about getting one thing misplaced, stolen, or falling for a rip-off? Be sure you get journey insurance coverage protection in order that if one thing does occur, you will be made entire once more and recuperate your losses! I by no means depart house with it!


E book Your Journey: Logistical Ideas and Tips

E book Your Flight
Discover a low-cost flight by utilizing Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite serps as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned.

E book Your Lodging
You may ebook your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the most important stock. If you wish to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use Reserving.com as they constantly return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low-cost inns. I exploit them on a regular basis.

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you in opposition to sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes flawed. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions prior to now. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite firms that supply the perfect service and worth are:

On the lookout for the perfect firms to save cash with?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the perfect firms to make use of while you journey! I record all those I exploit to save cash after I journey – and that can prevent money and time too!

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