10 Common Travel Scams & How to Avoid It !!!

A perfect holiday can easily be ruined if you fall prey to a scam.In almost all tourist places there are people who are making plans to rip you off your money and valuables.
I am not trying to scare you from traveling , however if you become a little bit cautious you can easily avoid these travel scams.While travelling keep your eyes and ears open so that you don't fall prey to the numerous travel scams at a tourist destination. Most of the travel scams won't land you into too much trouble but you might end up losing valuable money and time.

As I said most of the travel scams are easily avoidable. Read the top 10 most common travel scam you might encounter while travelling.

1. Overbooked Hotel : You have booked a beautiful hotel and on arrival hotel owner says that there are no rooms left and the hotel is overbooked.The owner convinces you to take to another hotel owned by him and since you had a long travel you agree to him and end up check-in to the new hotel.
If this has happened to you then you fell prey to the travel scam. The hotel owner takes you to a cheaper hotel and earns a huge profit.
How to save yourself : Before booking a hotel online, mail the hotel and ask clearly that whether on booking you will be given exactly the same room.Ask about their refund policy, if you find that the room shown in picture is not the same.And yes carry the printout of the mail with you.

2. Free Rose/Bracelet : While walking on the street suddenly a lady or a man hands over a Free rose/bracelet wishing you. You happily accept the gift as its free only to find that the man or the lady asks for a ridiculous price for the rose or the bracelet. When you don't pay s/he starts to ask money from you in a louder voice and sometimes in the local language causing a scene just to make you feel uncomfortable ,so that you end up paying the money.
How to save yourself : Don't accept anything from a stranger/ allow them to put anything on your clothes.These people are very clever and will handover the rose/bracelet in such a way that you have no other option than to hold it.In this case just gently ask the person to take it back and if s/he refuses tell them you will call the tourist police.

3. Broken Taxi Meter : Scenario 1 :This is a very common travel scam across the world.The taxi driver tells you that his taxi meter has broken this morning only and he will charge you the same amount which you would have paid by meter. He even convinces you by asking bystanders that what will be charges by meter to the place and to your surprise you will find these bystanders will quote the nearly the same amount as the taxi driver. They are planted by the taxi driver with whom the profit will be shared.
Scenario 2 : You might also find that the taxi driver starts the meter and suddenly midway he says that the meter has stopped working and quotes a price to take you to the destination.
How to save yourself : Scenario 1 : Very simple never ever board a taxi which doesn't take you by meter. Always insist on going by meter.
Scenario 2 : If you have fallen prey to the travel scam , then as soon as the driver says that his meter has broken suddenly, tell him to stop the car immediately and pay whatever is showing in the meter and take another metered taxi.

4. The Over-friendly Roadside Restaurant : Its lunch time and you are walking in a touristy area and suddenly a person from the roadside restaurant says hi and asks your country.As soon as you answer him he says that he loves your country and he has been there several times and takes few names. He says he will give you an amazing discount.You fall prey to this travel scam. You realize that the bill amount is much higher than what you would have paid in a normal restaurant.
Variation of the Scam :  The person might show you a menu card when you are outside but when you enter he will hand over the exact looking menu card but with increased price.The person might also charge for the bottle of water lying on your table which is untouched and give you a basket of breads saying its complimentary but they will add the price in the bill.
How to save yourself : Simply don't enter a restaurant which tries to entice you with discounts or too good to be true prices on the menu card.
Always check the bill properly before paying.If required take a photograph of the prices of the menu card while ordering and if there is a mismatch show it to them.

5. Closed Attraction : You hire a taxi to go to an attraction. The driver tells you that the attraction you want to go is closed for the day or its a holiday or strike at the attraction. He insists on taking you to another attraction which you will find it more interesting and he might show you an interesting photograph and back it up with an interesting story.If you have agreed in such a scenario then had fallen prey to a travel scam.
How to save yourself : Insist that you want to go to the attraction no matter what and you are not interested for any other location.On reaching to your surprise you will find that the attraction is open.

6. Your Local Girlfriend : You are enjoying in a bar or nightclub and suddenly a young and sexy girl walks upto you to chat up or ask you for a dance.In a matter of time she becomes too friendly with you and share drinks and food.You think that you are lucky and you are going to get laid.Suddenly she excuses herself to go to the washroom and she never returns.
When you ask for the bill you receive an bill with exorbitant amount and the waiter tells you that since the lady was with you you have to pay the bill. If you refuse then suddenly you are surrounded by few bouncers and you are forced to pay. Yes you didn't get laid but have fallen to a well organised travel scam.
How to save yourself :  Unless you are Tom Cruise you have very little chances to get laid with good looking local girl at a bar.So if are approached by a good look girl , just say hi and excuse yourself from the situation.

7.  Bird Poop on you : You are walking on the street and suddenly to feel a slosh on your neck or shoulder , often synthetic bird poop. As you try to find out what it is a person comes with a tissue paper to help you removing the slosh from you. While removing the synthetic bird poop he also steals your purse and vanishes before you realize.
How to save yourself : Never allow a stranger help you. Go to a washroom and clean yourself.You will not only clean yourself better but you will stay away from this travel scam.

8. Take a Group Photo : You will be approached by a group of local people to take their photograph.They smile make poses and you take their photograph.Once you try to hand over the camera suddenly the person from the group drops the camera.The camera breaks.You are surrounded by the group of local people demanding hefty sum of money from you.They will try to threaten you to take you to the police.At last you forced to pay them and remember the camera , it was just a copy of a costly camera which was broken.
How to save yourself : If you are approached by local people to take a group photo and if you find anything suspicious then deny to take the photograph for them.Still if you have taken the photograph either put the strap on the neck of the local person or hold their hands and hand it over to them and ensure they hold the camera tight before you let your hand go off the camera.

9. Fake Officials : Suddenly out of nowhere in the least suspicious place an official might demand you to show your documents/passport to them.Once you handover they will make a story and demand from you a huge fine.The fine could be for anything. If you agree to pay the fine then you will fall prey to the travel scam.
How to save yourself: Ask the official to take you to the nearest office (police station or the office which the person is claiming to be from) and you will pay the fine there. If he says no to it then tell the person that you are suspicious hence you want to pay the fine at the office. Still if he persists then clearly demand your documents back or you will call the police. If he is really an official and he is fining you for an offence then he will take you to the office or else he will simply run away.

10. Street Show : Yes you can be duped by a street performer and fall prey to travel scam.This is one of the most common scams in the world where a street performer show magic tricks , dances , singsor plays music and when people stand in groups and are engrossed watching the show accomplices of the street performers pick pockets the tourists. 
Sometimes when you pay the street performer a pick pocketer watches where you are keeping your wallet and then follows you to pick it later.
How to save yourself: When you are watching a street performer perform ensure that you keep a close watch on your belongings and stay alert.Not all street performers are bad.
If you want to pay then put the wallet in a bag after paying and hold the bag close to yourself for some distance.If you are being followed then the pickpocketer will leave you alone as he knows  that you can't be scammed.

Travel scammers are coming up with new ideas every day to scam you and get your valuables.The above lists the most common travel scams which happen across the world & its impossible to list down all kind of scams.
So Stay Alert at all times and have a safe travel.

If have you have ever fallen to a travel scam share your stories below.

Shoestring Travel

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