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5 Travel Scams And How To Avoid Them
International travel among millennials is on the rise. As the number of tourists visiting foreign countries increase, so does the opportunity for scam artists to try and finesse you out of your hard-earned cash.
We’ve found five of the most common travel scams and to help you avoid becoming a victim.
Being offered a gift by a stranger
While this may seem like a harmless gesture, it can lead to you dishing out money you didn’t intend to spend. In some places, locals will innocently offer you a gift. The gift can be anything from free jewelry to travel guides. Once you accept the gift, they will then demand a donation. The bottom line, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Don’t accept gifts from strangers.
Taxis without working meters
We’ve all needed to take a taxi at least once while traveling. Always make sure that your driver has a working meter before you take off. If they insist that the meter is broken, then be sure to agree to a reasonable rate before you take off. If none of this works, just let them know that you will find another way.
Related: U.S. Officials Ease Cuba Travel Warning.
Travel guides that insist you try specific places
In most third-world countries, the locals make a living through tourism. You will likely be approached by someone offering you tours, services, or souvenirs. Some locals take things a step farther by insisting you try or visit specific businesses, usually off the beaten path, where they can get you a better deal. Once you follow them to that location, however, they may demand that you purchase something for them.
Being told that your hotel or streets to the hotel are closed
I experienced this in Morocco. After getting lost, my friends and I finally made our way to the neighborhood. Since we clearly stood out as tourists, several locals offered us help in finding our place. They insisted that we allow them to guide us because the alleyway was closed that day. Out of exhaustion, we gave in. Once we got to our place, they demanded money and the owner of our spot had to step in to make them leave empty-handed.
Being offered knock-off tickets to local attractions
Everyone would like to save a few dollars while traveling. Often, locals will offer tickets to popular attractions and sites at a “good price.” While this can sometimes be a valid offer, sometimes the tickets are fake or expired. Be sure to do some research before traveling to know exactly what to watch out for.
No matter where you go, play it smart. If something seems off, then just trust your instinct.