A black and white photo of the 3 card monte scam travel

Updated: 12/28/2018 | December 28th, 2018

Travel scams are true.

When I began traveling, I fell for them also.

On my 1st huge non-tour trip, I got scammed twice on the exact same day.

My buddy Scott and I had just arrived in Thailand. We have been in Bangkok attempting to obtain a boat cruise to take us up and down the Chao Phraya River. A taxi driver recommended this one particular organization we went there, and discovered out that an hour-extended tour was only $30 USD. Not even considering about regardless of whether that was a deal or not, we agreed. To us — nevertheless considering about rates back dwelling — that give seemed like a fair value. It was only as the boat tour ended early that we realized we may possibly have been ripped off (later on, we discovered out that we paid double the value).

Then, following lunch, we wandered more than to the Grand Palace. When we got there, we didn’t see any crowds. We looked down the left side of the palace, then more than to the suitable. “Where is everybody?” I asked. An enterprising tuk-tuk driver came more than to us and told us the palace was closed for lunch. Scott and I looked at every single other. Perhaps that was suitable. Immediately after all, numerous museums in some cases do that, plus we didn’t see any one about. It seemed feasible. He presented to take us to a handful of that have been open.

“Sure,” we replied — and discovered ourselves going to not only a handful of temples but also a suit shop, a gem shop, and a souvenir shop.

Afterwards, as he took us to the palace (which was unsurprisingly open). It was then we realized that it had never ever been closed — we had just been on the incorrect side of the creating.

We had been scammed.

My life as a traveler was not off to a great start out.

So, right now, I want to give you a list of travel scams to stay away from.

Avoiding travel scams calls for a lot of popular sense and a wholesome dose of suspicion. If it appears also great to be accurate, it possibly is!

(Furthermore, if you are carrying a travel guidebook, they typically list the most popular scams in that nation.) Right here are some of the much more universal ones to stay away from:

1. The taxi overcharge

This is one particular of the most popular travel scams out there. Either the driver will inform you the meter is broken and attempt to charge you a enormous price or you will see the meter go greater and more quickly than Superman!

To stay away from this scam, 1st, you require to know how considerably a ride need to price. I generally ask the hostel or hotel employees what a ride need to be so I have a frame of reference. Subsequent, if the cabbie tries to negotiate the price with me, I give him the appropriate price. If he refuses, I obtain somebody who will place the meter on. If the meter appears to be going up also speedily, I have them pull more than and I get out. Numerous tourism boards let you report negative cab drivers, so be positive to generally make a mental note of their ID quantity when you get in the cab.

And never ever get in an unlicensed cab — no matter how remarkable the deal is!

two. Your accommodation is “closed”

Yet another cab driver scam: your driver will attempt to inform you your hotel or hostel is overbooked or even closed. It is not. I imply, you wouldn’t have booked it if it was, suitable? Just ignore them and insist on going there. If they hold attempting, continue to insist. They will typically shut up about it.

And though this appears like a scam no one particular could possibly fall for, folks do. I’ve been in numerous cabs exactly where they insist my hostel has been closed for months.

A note on taxis: In this smartphone era, we have our energy back. We’re no longer helpless for the reason that we can appear on a map and see the actual appropriate route. I like to appear on Google Maps and see what the very best route is. If it appears like they are not taking it, I’ll typically point to the map and insist they go that way. (I left a taxicab in Bangkok not too long ago for the reason that he attempted to pull a rapid one particular on me by taking a longer route.) If I’m going to a nation exactly where I will not have telephone access, I preload the map onto my telephone. Your phone’s GPS will function even if you do not have a connection. Furthermore, ride solutions like Uber spot accountability on drivers, which considerably reduces the likelihood of you getting cheated.

three. The shell game

I see this one particular all the time — how folks fall for it I’ll never ever know. It is such an old and apparent scam. It is in films, for heaven’s sake! You will see folks on the street playing a card game (in some cases identified as 3-card Monte) or hiding a ball in a cup and somebody guessing exactly where it is and winning income. Then you choose to play — and you win! Pondering this is terrific, you bet much more money… and then you shed — and shed once more and once more.

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Do not get suckered into this con. Recall, the home generally wins!

four. “Come in for tea and support me create a letter!”

Whilst in Morocco, somebody attempted this travel scam on me. I was walking out of a comfort retailer when a guy struck up a conversation. Discovering I was from NYC, he mentioned he had a cousin who lived there (the 1st giveaway) and wanted to know if I could come to his shop to create a postcard for him (the second giveaway). The purpose right here was to get me in the shop, perhaps give me some tea, and then stress me into obtaining a thing. This makes use of the psychological principle of reciprocity: he gave me tea, he was good to me, so quickly I’ll really feel socially obliged to purchase a thing.

To stay away from this, do not comply with folks to a second place or think they all of a sudden have a cousin who occurs to reside specifically exactly where you do!

five. Cost-free bracelets/rosemary/something they can place on you

In this scam, popular in Europe, a friendly individual will method you for a rapid chat, then spot a bracelet about your wrist or hat on your head, or give you a tiny sprig of rosemary. As soon as you have it on your individual, they will demand income. When you refuse, they will start to result in a scene in the hopes you would rather give them some income than be embarrassed.

Do not let any one to place something on your physique, and be really wary of accepting something for absolutely free. If they place a thing on you, merely take it off, give it back to them, and be firm about it. Then stroll away and move on with your day. They will not chase you.

six. The spill on your garments

There you are, minding your personal small business, and somebody spills a thing on you. Ruins your day, but accidents take place, suitable? They are profusely sorry and give to clean it up, dabbing the stain, and apologizing. Whilst you are all flustered, they are choosing your pocket. By the time you comprehend what has occurred, they are extended gone.

This scam is also popular in Europe. Beware of folks encroaching on your individual if it is not a crowded location currently. If this occurs, push folks away and clean it up oneself.

7. Motorbike scam

You rent a bike, and then when you bring it back, the owner demands an more payment or pricey repairs for the reason that there is some harm you didn’t know about. I see this scam a lot in Southeast Asia and other establishing regions of the globe.

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To stay away from this, take photographs of the bike 1st to document any earlier harm. Go about it with the owner so they know what you are taking images of. Use your personal lock, and hold the bike out of sight and off a most important street when you park it. In some cases an owner will send somebody to mess with the bike or steal it so you have to spend! Also, generally make positive you purchase travel insurance coverage so you can make a claim if there is an concern.

eight. The flirtatious lady

You arrive in a new nation and head to a bar, exactly where a wonderful nearby comes up to you for a chat. You can not think your luck. You have some drinks and remarkable conversation and go to a new bar or club that she recommended. Nevertheless, following a wild evening and lots of drinks, the lady disappears and you are forced to spend an overpriced bill with some genuinely huge guys bearing down on you to make positive you do. Or, worse, you get drugged and wake up absolutely robbed of almost everything on you.

The very simple option to this is to be wary of appealing ladies who guarantee to take you to the world’s very best club, get you drinks, or are overly flirtatious, particularly when you stand out like a sore thumb as a foreigner. Having on a plane didn’t raise your attractiveness by a aspect of 10.

Note: Why didn’t I mention a comparable scam for ladies? Due to the fact let’s be true, we males are dumb and typically considering with our tiny brain. Females are also sensible to fall for this.

9. Your attraction is closed for lunch

As pointed out, this is what occurred to me and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker! A friendly nearby approaches and informs you that the attraction you want to check out is closed for any quantity of motives (religious ceremony, vacation, and so on.). Then they’ll guide you to a unique attraction or shop, exactly where you are pressured to obtain a thing or spend a lot for entry.

To stay away from this, obtain the most important entrance or ticket counter and see for oneself. Also, hold in thoughts that most attractions do not close for lunch — they close for the day. Even superior, appear up the open hours prior to you go, so you know what to count on — opening and closing occasions are nearly generally accessible on the internet. Do not be like me!

10. The “found” ring

An innocent-searching individual picks up a ring on the ground and asks if you dropped it. When you say no, the individual appears at the ring closely, then shows you a mark “proving” that it is pure gold. He or she delivers to sell it to you for a superior value. They make some income, and you get some gold you can resell. It is win-win! You consider it is a great deal, purchase it obtain out it is fake when you attempt to sell it at dwelling!

This is popular in Europe. A single of my tour members nearly fell for it when we have been in Paris, but I intervened in time and sent the individual away. The very best way to stay away from this scam is to not purchase the ring. If it sounds also great to be accurate, it certainly is.

11. The fake petition

You are at a preferred sight and a lady or kid (frequently pretending to be deaf or a student) will attempt to get you to sign a petition. You do not know what they are saying, and to finish the awkwardness, you sign the petition, hoping they will go away. But the petitioner then demands a money donation. At very best, any one who falls for this scam is out some income at worst, they’re pickpocketed though fighting with the petitioner.

Yet another one particular of my tour members fell for this scam (even following I warned him particularly about it), but I saved him in time. To stay away from this scam, just ignore folks coming up to you to sign a petition, particularly when they are in groups and attempt to surround you. Just hold on walking.

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12. The drug deal gone negative

This scam is popular in numerous establishing nations. You are in a preferred tourist location (typically a celebration spot) and somebody delivers you drugs. You say yes, and prior to you know it, a (true) cop is on the scene! They give to arrest you or you can spend the fine suitable there (i.e., a bribe). Caught red-handed, you will possibly spend the bribe rather than go to jail.

Basically place: Do not purchase drugs in other nations!

13. The incorrect alter

This occurs a lot in nations exactly where the bills appear comparable to every single other. People today have a tendency to appear at colors 1st, so when you get a pile of alter that is the exact same colour, you consider you got the suitable alter — but they genuinely gave you the incorrect bills, hoping you will not notice till following you rush out.

To stay away from obtaining taken, count your alter cautiously each time.

14. The switcheroo

This occurs all more than the globe and largely with shirts, carpets, rugs, and antiques. You are at a retailer and you see a designer item at a bargain value. Perhaps they got it wholesale? Immediately after some haggling, the owner agrees to sell it to you. But though you are not paying consideration, he provides you a knockoff.

To stay away from this scam, bear in mind that no designer something is going to be that low-priced. Recall, if it appears also great to be accurate, it is not accurate. Second, be positive to generally watch what the seller is in fact providing you to be positive it is the precise item you wanted.


To stay away from obtaining scammed when you travel, be wary when it comes to folks providing you a thing in a touristy setting. Assume of it this way: in your day-to-day life back dwelling, would you go for it? If the answer is no, then possibilities are 99% that it is a scam you require to stay away from.

On the road, a tiny popular sense goes a extended way.

What travel scams have you encountered or fell for that are not integrated right here? Comment under!

Worried about obtaining a thing lost, stolen, or falling for a scam? Make positive you get travel insurance coverage coverage so that if a thing does take place, you can be created complete once more and recover your losses! I never ever leave dwelling with it!


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