As y’all know, I recently started a new column on the blog about frequently asked travel questions. When traveling there are dozens of scams that are just waiting for an unsuspecting tourist to take advantage of. If you’re cautious and aware of your surroundings though you won’t have anything to worry about. So here are a few of the most common tricks to watch out for. Here is a video I did to help less experienced travelers avoid common mistakes and scams while traveling abroad. And even the most seasoned traveler can always use a reminder. Safety first, people!
Here’s some more useful advice to help you avoid common scams while traveling. These are some of the most popular ones you should do your best to avoid.
Pickpockets are probably the most common scam artists you’ll encounter. They will try to catch your attention in order to pick your pockets. Someone will distract you, while they or an accomplice picks your pocket or goes through your bags.
They’ll often try and Stain your clothing and apologize profusely, while they or someone else is reaching into your pockets or bag. I’ve even seen fake dolls thrown into the air resembling babies so that you’ll let your guard down and drop your belongings. They do anything drastic so that your reflexes kick in and you stop paying attention to your things long enough for them to get their hands on them.
Pickpockets tend to target popular tourist destinations, transportation depots, and large venues and events – so your best approach is to be vigilant and keep your wits about you when you’re in these areas.
Illegal transportation is another common scam you’re likely to see when traveling. Research safe transportation options before you travel abroad. Learn what taxis are sanctioned and which are not. In an airport, use the approved taxi line. People who approach you are usually not a safe option. You may be charged inflated fares or taken the long way to pad your bill so be sure to pay attention where you’re going and negotiate rates before you leave if the transportation is not metered.
Bogus Street Vendors
While traveling you should also beware of street vendors. They’ll try and sell you everything from tickets to popular tourist attractions to counterfeit goods. Don’t be fooled–if there are any deals to be had, they will not be being handed out by street vendors. Get your tickets from the source to be safe. You may pay full price but at least you know they’re real.
Another common trick is to overcharge tourists for food and drinks. Be sure to get a menu and review prices before you order. You should also be wary of friendly locals who chat you up at a cafe or a bar. Pretty girls who are interested in you may simply be hoping to order a few things on your tab.
And finally, protect yourself when you’re out drinking. Keep a close eye on your beverages and try to leave valuables at home. If you’re suspicious of the staff or drinking alone in a strange place, opt for a drink in a sealed bottle or can and look for signs of tampering.
Katie is a luxury lifestyle expert. She runs luxury lifestyle sites, KatieLara.com and Smartypanties.com. But she's not only a luxury lifestyle blogger, she's also a freelance writer for The Huffington Post, Fodor's, Forbes, Pursuitist, Just Luxe and She Knows. She's also a professional photographer and her photos often appear alongside her writing.