Travel is a truly wonderful thing. It exposes you to new places, people, and experiences. It opens your mind and can change your worldview; plus it’s just a lot of fun. Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to the travel experience. Plenty of would-be travelers have found their plans utterly derailed after being taken in by a clever travel scam. You don’t have to let devious scammers hamper your itinerary. Instead, just follow these simple steps. They’ll help you stay alert, safe, and make sure you can enjoy your trip worry-free.
Scam Alert: The Confirmation Call
After much travel and a lot of effort, you’ve finally arrived at your hotel. The trip can officially begin! But just as you’re starting to settle in and relax, you get a phone call. The caller claims to be from the front desk, and asks for your credit card information to confirm your reservation (or wake-up call, etc.). Don’t be duped: this is a common scam visited upon unsuspecting (and in many cases jetlagged) tourists. Never give your credit card information over the phone. Instead, take a quick trip to the front desk to verify that they’re the ones actually calling you.
Scam Alert: The Untrustworthy Taxi
Public transportation can be a huge boon to the world traveler — it cuts down on travel time and allows you to comfortably explore unfamiliar areas. Just make sure you’re using legitimate, verified cab companies. Unlicensed cab drivers (and unfortunately some licensed ones) have a habit of taking advantage of tourists. They’ll jack up their prices, take longer routes, and generally turn a pleasant trip into a huge financial headache. Only use official public transportation, and try to educate yourself on the best routes to take, lest you end up with a fare twice the size of what you expected.
Scam Alert: Fake Rentals
It seems like a dream come true — you found the perfect little spot to spend your vacation, for a price that’s too good to be believed. Then you arrive, the harsh reality sets in: you were duped by a fake rental listing. This one can be particularly tricky to navigate, especially with the proliferation of people offering up their homes for rental online. The best way to avoid getting scammed is by sticking with tried-and-true professional services, and companies with a reputable history. Generally speaking, if a deal seems too perfect to believe, it probably is!
Scam Alert: Ticket Demands
You’ve finally arrived at the destination you’ve been dreaming of. Maybe it’s a national landmark, a museum, or a fancy club. The point is, you’re pumped and ready to explore — only to be approached by a stranger who claims you have to pay for a ticket. In some cases, the scammer will guarantee you can cut the lengthy line if you fork over cash for a ticket. Unfortunately, none of this is true. Keep your money safe and well-hidden, and only pay for tickets from reputable places — like the front desk of a museum. And double check to see if a monument or event you’re attending even requires a ticket. A little extra research can go a long way to stopping scammers.
Scam Alert: Pickpockets
Wherever you travel, always keep an eye on your valuables. There are countless ways thieves will take advantage of unwary travelers and swipe their money or devices. Avoid areas where pickpocketing is widely reported. If you do go to a place where that’s a pervasive problem, educate yourself on the most common tricks. Maybe it will be a simple matter of bumping into you and grabbing your wallet. Perhaps it will be a more complicated scheme where a child tries to sell you something to distract your attention. The important thing is to stay alert and keep yourself informed of the dangers. Just a few simple steps will help you have a fun and scam-free trip — no matter where your adventures may take you.
Have you heard of any other scams that travelers may have to face? Let us know about them in the comments.