It is time to start embracing travel once again. And that means packing up the suitcases and venturing out on thrilling adventures with your family. While you are currently concerned about checking travel bucket items off your list, I want to warn you that travel scams are at an all-time high. It is important that you are aware of these scams, so your family vacation doesn’t turn into a nightmare.
Taxi drivers can be quite helpful when it comes to discovering new information about the destination you are visiting. However, there are a few taxi drivers out there that are scam artists. Those taxi drivers will do whatever they can to coax more money out of you.
The common taxi scam includes being told their meter is broken as soon as the vehicle starts to move. When this happens, the taxi driver will automatically state an absurd price that needs to be paid once you reach your destination. Some drivers will also purposely get lost to ensure you must pay a higher fee for your ride. Scam taxi drivers have even been known to speed away with luggage in their trunk.
I always recommend finding out the cost of the fare before you enter the taxi. As for the taxi driver leaving with your luggage, as long as you are not traveling alone, at least one person should stay in the taxi until all the luggage has been removed.
Damage to a rented jet ski or motorbike is one of the oldest travel scams. In most foreign destinations, you are required to surrender your passport as a deposit for the item. Of course, once you return the jet ski or motorbike, you will be automatically told that you caused major damage. The result will be the vendor asking you to pay a large fee for the damages.
It is best to take pictures of the jet ski or motorbike prior to setting out on your family adventure. This will ensure you can prove any dents or scratches were there prior to you using it.
Larger cities are prone to having more scammers that smaller destinations. In these areas, there are always people standing on major streets trying to hand out what you may think are free flowers or friendship bracelets. The flowers can be simple to ignore, but you may find the friendship bracelet on your wrist before you know what’s going on. Once you have these items, the person who gave them to you will demand that you pay them. It can be quite difficult to hand back the items and move on.
If you see someone holding flowers or friendship bracelets, you should stay as far away from them as possible. It is also a good idea to keep your hands in your pockets if a person does approach you.
On a family vacation, you might not spend too much time in a bar. However, if you find yourself in a bar or restaurant with a stranger who is overly friendly, you should be cautious. Most of the time, these strangers will order a lot of drinks or food. And since they appear to be with you, it will all end up on your tab. Once you are ready to pay, this stranger will be nowhere to be found. And you will be stuck paying for everything. It is also common for these people to get you to trust them, so you may find that they took all your cash when you let your guard down.
This travel scam has you getting into a cab and then the driver tells you that your hotel is either overbooked or closed. As you begin to panic, your driver realizes there is this fabulous hotel nearby. That hotel will be way overpriced, partially because the taxi driver will get a nice commission.
It is always best to have confirmation from your hotel before you arrive at your destination. That way, you will never fall for this travel scam. However, taxi drivers are good and even the savviest of travelers have fallen for the closed or overbooked hotel scam.
Speaking of falling, pickpockets have upped their game in recent years by having an accomplice fall onto the ground. As you, and many others, offer assistance, the pickpocket will swoop in and gather everyone’s valuables. It is an easy way for scammers to get quite a bit of money in a short amount of time.
If a person does fall nearby, consider your surroundings before you offer to help. It is also best to make sure all your valuables are in a secure spot, so no one can grab them.
Another popular travel scam involves a person appearing next to you, as they pick a ring up off the ground. They will try to tell you that you dropped it and they want a reward for finding it for you. These people can be quite persuasive and will give you a hard time if you say it isn’t yours.
And if the person doesn’t find the ring next to you, they may simply confront you with this valuable ring they have for sale at a discounted price. In this scenario, they won’t want you to leave until you have purchased the ring from them.
Every big city has shoe shiners ready to get every person’s shoes nice and clean. You may think it is simple to walk past them and go about your day. But what happens when a shoe shiner drops their brush, and you pick it up? Well, they may start to clean your shoes right then. As they are finishing, you may be thinking they were nice to clean your shoes simply because you picked up their brush. However, the shoe shiner will demand payment.
I recommend continuing walking and ignoring the brush being dropped by your shoes. Or moving quickly after handing the brush back to its owner.
These are the most common travel scams you should be aware of during your next family vacation. There are others too, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
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