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Common Travel Scams to Avoid

When traveling in foreign countries, you may find yourself outside of your comfort zone. With so many pieces to get in order and the confusion of operating in a foreign environment, there is often more room for error. Unfortunately criminals and thieves are aware of this reality and frequently prey on travelers. There are tons of scams, fraud and outright stealing that the modern globetrotter has to be aware of and prepared for.

Pickpocketing

The first common vulnerability that has been exploited by crooks is based on the knowledge that tourists tend to carry large amounts of money. While locals will only keep small amounts of currency on them, travelers are more likely to have an entire trip’s worth of money on hand and in cash. Pickpockets will often target tourists for the promise of a high reward and because there is less of a risk that they will be pursued criminally afterwards. It is much harder to try and apprehend a thief in an unfamiliar environment.

There are a couple of solutions that can dramatically reduce this risk. Primarily while traveling, carry the minimum amount of cash you will need and leave the rest on a pin protected debit card. This ensures that even in a worst case scenario, you will be able to cancel your card before the loss accumulates. If you are visiting a place that doesn’t have convenient access to ATMs or does not allow foreign bank cards to be used, take advantage of the safe that is commonly provided in your hotel room. Finally, leave your money in a place that is not predictable to thieves. Instead of carrying your wallet in a easily accessible back pocket, consider a traveler’s purse that hangs around your neck and can be worn under your shirt. These can be bought inexpensively online and are a great way to protect your belongings.

Taxis

Another vulnerable moment that tourists have to endure is whenever they step foot in a taxi. It is common all over the world for taxi drivers to pretend their ‘meter is broken’ or to take tourists on absurdly long indirect routes to rack up more money. The best way to combat this fraudulent practice is to agree on a fixed rate before even getting in the cab. If, as is the practice in some areas, the driver is unable to negotiate a set price and has to go based on the meter, ask for an approximate quote or a maximum that the trip will cost. Run this figure by any locals who can help determine that it is a fair price. Additionally, always trust your gut. If you feel like you are being taken for a ride, do not hesitate to get out and find a new taxi. When traveling from the airport to your hotel, call beforehand and see if the hotel offers a shuttle service or recommends a trustworthy means of transportation. This is also essential as some taxi drivers will try to convince you that your hotel is either closed or overbooked in an attempt to direct you to another hotel that pays them a commission for bringing in business. Having well organized plans and the phone number of your hotel can save you in this situation.  

A Sign Of Welcome Or A Scam?

A frequent scam that is performed on unsuspecting tourists all over the world is the fake gift. The actual item varies based on your location but the scam usually works the same way. Someone will approach you with a gift, sometimes rosemary or a cheap bracelet that they will put in your hand or wrap around your wrist. At first this is presented as a complimentary token but once you have take it, they will demand payment and start to make a scene. Most tourists automatically pay them as to not cause a disturbance. This situation can be easily avoided by never accepting anything for free and not letting anyone put something unexpected on your person. Especially in touristy areas and it’s better to be cautious than to end up a victim.

 

There are tons of ways that intrepid explorers can be scammed. Keeping your valuables close, making thorough plans, and not taking anything for granted are great ways to avoid becoming a crook’s next victim. Traveling can be scary in this regard but at Canopy Airport Parking, we know that as long as you take the necessary precautions you can still have an amazing time! So pack up your gear and get on the road.

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