Don’t fall for these common travel scams

Traveling somewhere new can be incredibly exciting, but it’s not without its difficulties. For every kind person you come across on your journey, there’s probably another trying to scam you out of your money. You should always be alert wherever you go, but when you’re in a foreign country where English isn’t the first language, never let your guard down. You don’t want to fall victim to any common travel scams.

Be wary of cab drivers

If anyone’s likely to scam you in a foreign country, it’s a cab driver. They have various tricks up their sleeves to try and con you out of your money, and it’s essential that you don’t fall for any of them.

If they tell you that somewhere is closed down or no longer there, don’t instantly believe them. Drivers do this to try and dissuade you from visiting your desired location so they can take you somewhere else instead. You might think they’re being helpful and driving you somewhere interesting, but the likelihood is that they’re taking you somewhere owned by one of their friends. Their buddies get extra business, while you don’t get to visit the attractions you came to the country to see.

Cab drivers might also use this as an excuse to take you the long way around. If you’re unfamiliar with the city, you won’t know what the fastest route is. These drivers see this as the perfect opportunity to take you the scenic way so you’ll have to pay them more. It’s a good idea to look for your destination on Google Maps beforehand, so you can correct them when they “accidentally” go the wrong way.

Keep people at a distance

Getting to know people in a foreign country can be to your benefit. They’ll help you learn more about your surroundings, teach you parts of the language, and might even become a lifelong friend. However, always be cautious of other people’s kindness, especially when they’re laying it on thick. They could merely be trying to build a strong enough relationship that you’ll feel guilty turning them down if they ask for a favor.

Don’t trust the police

You probably don’t travel halfway across the world just to go to jail. Most people tend to be more aware of the police in a foreign country because getting arrested in an unfamiliar place is incredibly scary. Unfortunately, a lot of people use that to their advantage. You’ll find many locals, especially in Central America, pretending to be police to swindle money out of you. They’ll accuse you of all sorts, and it can be hugely intimidating if you don’t know better. If these people ever demand a fine to make the trouble go away, demand to see their credentials. Anyone that can’t supply them isn’t a real officer of the law.

Avoid pickpockets

A lot of cities in Europe are subject to pickpockets, and they have a very subtle trick for getting away with the crime. Someone will accidentally spill something on you and proceed to clear up their mess. Although their apologetic nature might lead you to forgive them, they’re simply putting on an act while their friend steals your possessions. Always be aware of your surroundings in a situation like this.

Take photos as evidence

Anytime you hire something out, you should always take photographs of the state they’re in to provide as evidence somewhere down the line. A lot of smaller companies that rent out vehicles will try and accuse you of causing existing damages when you return the vehicle. It’s their way of trying to scam you out of money, but if you have the necessary photos, then you can stop them in their tracks.

Visiting a new country can be hugely daunting, especially with all the potential dangers out there. Don’t let the fear of scams hold you back though. By being vigilant and aware of the risks, you’ll avoid running into any trouble.

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