To travel is to put ourselves in a vulnerable position in order to observe places and customs which are not ours. To venture into exotic terrain is to also find ourselves in a place where we become the target of several potential scammers. Here are the most common travel scams.
Top 10 Travel Scams to watch out for
10. Suitcases off the plane or bus
When traveling with lots of luggage, we often find ourselves in a vulnerable position. When we have to put our suitcase in a luggage compartment – on the bus or plane – we find ourselves away from our property, which can be dangerous.
Some bus drivers can leave the cargo door open for their “friends”, who come to take your valuables. (Seen in Vietnam.)
When exiting the bus, the driver takes all the luggage and stacks near the vehicle; thieves rush on your bags and leave with it. (Seen in the Czech Republic.)
Security at the airport is not always the same from one city to another. Some small airports let people in between the baggage carousels and the arrivals lounge. If you have not got to the carousel when your stuff arrives from the plane, a thief could take your bag. (Seen in India.)
9. To have something put in your hand
Golden Rule when traveling: if someone insists on putting something in your hand, refuse, even if the person says it’s a gift. Either they will ask you for money, or it is a distraction for a pickpocket behind you! (Seen in Italy, France, Spain, Jamaica.)
8. “Practice English”
Sometimes some people simply approach you to chat. They want to improve their English, they say.
Although some may be honest, others will tell you a horribly sad story and then beg you to help them financially. (Seen in Mexico.)
Others will use this technique to coax you and make you fall into the trap at # 7 …
7. $100 Beer
Gentlemen, this scam is directly intended for you. You meet a young woman (or several!) In a bar or a cafe who really wants to know you. After a few minutes, you decide to buy her a drink – or worse, she orders one herself. The conversation takes a rather affectionate twist, and the minutes fly by. You get up to go to the bathroom. Upon your return, the young woman left. On the table you find the bill, and it is your responsibility to pay it.
This scam is perhaps not so horrifying, except that some bars are colluding with these people and the bill may swell rapidly, even to cost $ 100 a beer! (Seen in the Czech Republic, Cuba, Mexico).
6. “It’s closed”
Here’s another classic scam. You arrive at a tourist attraction, a bar, a restaurant, your hotel accommodation, and a person with a friendly look informs you that the thing you’ve come to visit is closed today. This same person then offers to go to another place, saying it is a similar location to the one you chose.
This is the beginning of a downward spiral of possible scams. At best it could be a fake tourist guide, a fake taxi driver, a person paid to bring people in a hotel, a store or a specific restaurant; at worst, that person may attack you with a weapon, steal your things, and, in extreme cases, rape you. (Seen in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, India)