It Is Very Easy To Fall Into Tourist Traps And Get Fooled, Smarten Up Before You Travel!
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 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
- Homework – Whenever you plan on a vacation, do your homework on the particular destination thoroughly. Learn about their customs, laws, language, etc. Plan your itinerary properly.
- 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. This is a very useful instrument. The city map always marks the nearest embassy, hospital and police station. When you plan your itinerary, be sure you have a list of embassies of country, hospitals and police stations ready with you. This will come in handy if you are lost, looted or met with a mishap (God forbid!)
- If you need a tour guide ask your hotel to arrange one for you so that you know where he came from.
- Hitching a Ride – Hitching a ride is not a good idea especially in a unfamiliar place. This is because they may take you to a remote location and loot you of all 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.
- 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.
- Asking for Directions – At the destination, if you are lost somewhere, do not ask a passer-by for directions. You can ask the local grocer, butcher or the nearest policeman! By asking passers-by you may risk being taken for a ride.
- Checking Hotel Reviews – In these times of technology and communication, any place is accessible with the Internet. Whenever you plan on a vacation, ensure that the hotel you plan to stay in has been reviewed at some of the most popular travel review websites. This is one of the most important rules. This is because the reviews on the sites are by tourists like you who have been to the place before.
- Avoid Vendors – It is natural to get surrounded by vendors selling their wares when you alight at a tourist hotspot. Avoid such people- they may sell illegal items or simply cheat you saying the particular substance is ‘true value for money’. If they persist, report to the policeman in the vicinity. Well-established shops- especially the ones with registered license on display are the only best places to shop in unknown destinations.
- 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. 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 about 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.
- 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.
- Use a good guide book to get great information about your destination. A guidebook is a great way to get detailed knowledge of an area. Many guidebooks get information from natives in the area and give you information that is beyond the standard “tourist traps”. Guidebooks can give you information on the local festivals, which are a very good way to get more about the local culture. You will also want to know about these festivals because sometimes hotels in the area will increase their prices during these times. You may also be able to work some great secret airfare deals that are part of festival travel packages. Depending upon the destination, you can get some very good airfare deals within these packages.
- Tasers for travelers – Tasers are very important for self-defense. These innovative tools are very functional when it comes to many travelers. They are referred to as guns. But, they don’t look like real guns used by the police. They have unique appearances which make them more appealing. Most of us rarely protect ourselves when in times of need. Why? We usually depend on others. We want to protect ourselves but we often get confused on what is the best way. If you are an avid traveler, for sure you enjoy exploring places. You like to be with people. You explore the differences in culture, beliefs, traditions, etc. As a traveler, you expose yourself to the various wonders of life. You don’t only travel to ease boredom or to forget your problems in life. You are a traveler because it gives you the sense of purpose. It elaborates the real meaning of life. But, if you are a soloist traveler, think about your safety. Remember, you can’t always ask for help when you are trapped in a difficult situation. This is why you need to learn the basics of self-defense. If you are willing to learn martial arts, you can still protect yourself with the use of taser guns.Tasers are fit to many travelers. These weapons can offer them the right protection. But, they are not used in order to kill anybody. Protecting yourself doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to kill somebody. Killing is a crime. It is a serious criminal violation. Protecting yourself is a must. If you can’t do it for yourself, no one will do it for you. Often, travelers bring with them survival weapons. They always carry with them knives. Others have their own unique weapons. Taser guns are as useful as knives. Besides, these are not heavyweight devices. They can be placed inside bags, pockets or simply grasp. They are affordable. They are even safer to handle.Travelers make use of stylish, handy and functional self-defense tools. They want to go to their various destinations safe and sound. As they travel places, their safety is at risk. What if they were trapped in a community wherein it is hard to trust anybody? What if somebody they were taken by force? Not only women travelers need tasers, men need the same. There is for sure a perfect type that would fit men’s choice. Would you dare to travel somewhere without a safety weapon at hand? You shouldn’t.With the innovations in technology, a lot of self-defense products are out in the market. Pepper sprays and tasers are among them. These are common but definitely useful. These are important for the travelers. A traveler can effectively learn how to use a taser by simply reading the product guide. The parts are properly labeled. Functions are explained in detail. The things you should and shouldn’t do while using the product are even discussed. It’s nice to know that the modern world is already aware of the lack of safety and security. If you don’t want to be hurt, we should learn how to grasp and use a taser, even if we do not travel.
Overall, going places is a lot of fun and should not be dropped just because there are few unscrupulous elements roaming around there. The fact is that the same are also in your hometown which affects new visitors in your area. But there is no harm in being safe while having fun.
For more ways to prepare your vacation, visit the Travel Planning category.