Avoiding Tourists Traps

Traveling and sightseeing is a lot of fun but unfortunately there are many who take the real fun out of all this by trying to con/scam tourists out of their money. This trend is not associated to any particular race, country, continent or a town, but everywhere in the world there are con artists who are around to play their tricks with unsuspecting tourists.

The fact remains that most people who fall in the tourist traps are the ones who go around unplanned and without gathering general and useful information. Besides some scammers are so good at doing what they do that back in 1925 someone even tried to sell the Eiffel Tower to six people from out of town who believed the sweet talk of a con artist.

Common tourist traps

There are some common traps which con artists lay for tourists. Some of them are:

  • Offering unbelievably low price for housing or special attractions.
  • Extremely low prices for products.
  • Offering exquisite or antique items.
  • Offering contraband items.
  • Trying to be very helpful to steal tourist's baggage etc later.
  • Offering free tours to rip off later.

How to avoid tourist traps

The following are some proven tips to avoid Tourists traps.

Learn about the customs, language and about any special upcoming event so nobody cons you on those accounts.

Find information about the prices of accommodations and the prices of different entry tickets to any special event. Sometimes the entry is free and someone sells the ignorant tourist special tickets!

When visiting places which are tourist attractions like Hong Kong in Asia or Paris in Europe, be extra vigilant as con artists from around the world travel there to fool people.

Before leaving the airport get the city map and also find out the location of your Embassy and a hospital to be on the safe side.

If you need a tour guide ask your hotel to arrange one for you so that you know where he came from.

Avoid people who try to be friendly for no apparent reason as usually have a reason which is to rip you off your money or your belongings.

Always ask your hotel to arrange a taxi or a rental car for you. Getting in a cab in an unknown country might lead you into trouble; as tourist kidnapping is quiet common in many countries.

Also, Don't use service from in-house hotel travel desk (in South Asia). I have seen they scamming Tourists my charging tenth the price!

Moreover, The most important thing you can do when you are traveling is to do your best to try and blend in with everyone else on the street. Make sure to not draw attention to yourself. For instance, Don't wear clothes that are going to draw attention to you, don't wear a lot of fancy jewelry or go around carrying an expensive camera, make sure that if you do have a camera to carry it in your bag or under a jacket if you are wearing one. The less you look like a tourist the better off you are going to be.

Make yourself a hard target to attack. So, make sure that you know what's going on around you at all times. Don't let yourself get distracted easily and make sure that you don't bring out your map in a public place. It's a better idea if you study the map before you decide to go out and explore and make sure that you already know where you are going and you know the route you will be taking. That map is an immediate red flag for the criminal on the street.

Of course you will have to travel with a lot of things but it's important that you protect your items. It's best that you carry a bag that has an across the body shoulder strap or wear your backpack in the front and not in the back. Try to avoid a backpack if at all possible. They are extremely hard for you to have control over but extremely easy for the criminal to get into without you realizing it.

Make sure that all you carry with you while you are traveling is cash and not any of your bank cards or credit cards. One of the most common crimes that happens to a tourist is someone forcing them to go to an ATM and take out money. You also shouldn't carry your passport with you. Make a copy of it and carry that with you. Most places will accept the copy over the the original because they are well aware of people getting their passports stolen often.

When taking your money with you, don't carry it all together. It's a better idea to put some in your purse or wallet, put some in a pocket and some emergency cash in your shoe. It is highly unlikely that a criminal is going to check all of the places that you have hidden your money.

A common scam in a lot of countries is for the criminal to disguise themselves as a police officer. A lot of tourists fall for this one. You can easily avoid this one by asking for the so called police officer to walk you to the nearest police station and then you will show them all the necessary information they are looking for. A real officer usually will not have a problem with that, a criminal on the other hand will simply lose interest and move on to the next victim.

Be wary of strange things happening around you or simple distractions like someone dropping a ton of change in front of you or spills a drink on you or food for instance. All of these things could be a way for them to catch you off guard while someone else finds a way to relieve you of your valuables.

Furthermore, If you still end up finding yourself in the middle of a scam do your best to show no interest and try to walk away from it, if that is not possible then simply give them your valuables and cooperate with what they ask. It is more important to be safe and save your life than worry about losing your wallet or backpack. 

Don't accept food or drinks from strangers. They may contain drugs that will knock you out, creating opportunity for a thorough robbery or worse. Avoid Honey Trap and only trust few people. Happy Travelling!

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