The Most Common Travel Rip-offs and How to Avoid Them

Written By Alla Levin
October 07, 2019
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Check Most Common Travel Rip-offs and Learn How to Avoid Them

Traveling to a strange city can be full of surprises, some of them pleasant, some of them not. Some of the unpleasant surprises involve travel scams that you may fall victim to, a lot of which can cause you to lose valuable money and time. 

However, it is possible to protect yourself from unscrupulous people that walkabout is looking for unwitting tourists to take advantage of. Here, we look at some of the common travel rip-offs you may encounter abroad and how you can avoid them.

Fake visa agents

There are thousands of websites on the internet that claim to be able to process visas to your chosen destination quickly and affordably. Unfortunately, most of these sites are fraudulent and have no means of getting you the visa you need.

You will pay for the visa processing service and end up getting nothing for your pains. 

Avoid doing transactions on websites that look shady, especially ones that guarantee legal papers for a ridiculous fee. Make all your travel-related applications on the official government websites. 

The non-existent tour operatorThe non-existent tour operator

One of the common scams travelers fall into is that of the non-existent tour operator. Very few things are as frustrating as booking your flight, accommodation, or sightseeing tour and making payments only to discover that your money was paid to a ghost agency.

There are thousands of websites like this on the internet, and all of them have one goal – to scam the unwary traveler. To avoid falling victim to this type of rip-off, ensure you search for and make bookings for everything pertaining to your travel on authentic booking sites. Not only are these sites secure, but they are also typically cheaper.

Transactions on foreign withdrawals

Using your debit or credit card abroad usually results in your bank charging. Exorbitantly high fees on top of what the local operator will charge as conversion fees will be applied. This may seem like a little thing until you make huge transactions via ATM abroad.

While it is true that it is much easier to carry cards about, it is cheaper to use travelers’ cheques when traveling abroad. Not only can you easily convert your travelers’ cheque into any currency, but it also attracts no transaction fee. On the whole, paying in local currency or converting a travelers’ cheque is a better option to pay with card, unless you find one that does not attract charges. 

Broken taxi meterBroken taxi meter

Taxi drivers in and around airports are known for pulling this rip-off. The moment they tag you as a tourist, they will pretend that the meter is broken and charge an outrageous amount as fare. 

Some drivers might try to drive in a circle instead of taking you straight to your destination, just so that they can extort more money from you, counting on your lack of knowledge of the area and regular prices.

To avoid falling for this annoying rip-off use registered taxi services provided by the airport or find out if the city has a hailing cab service like Uber that you can use. This will help you avoid getting scammed by cunning taxi drivers.

Ticket scams

Taking a stroll down a quiet street, somebody approaches you with tickets for a much sought after show or tourist attraction, claiming that they are selling at discount rates or that they bought but no longer want to attend.

You purchase the ticket only to arrive at the venue and find out that you bought a useless piece of paper. 

This also happens at bus and train terminals. You will not be able to find the seller, and your money is lost. 

Some of these unscrupulous individuals even go as far as wearing some form of official uniform or carrying fake ID cards. Don’t fall for this scam. Buy all your tickets from the official ticketing booth or designated selling points. 

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