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The worst 6 travel scams and how to avoid them

by ElenaReading time: 3 min.
The worst 6 travel scams and how to avoid them
Not only Au Pairs struggle with travel scams from time to time. Tourists all over the world should inform themselves about the most recent travel scams to stay safe during their journey. Whether you will be travelling alone or with friends, it is important that you know how to avoid unpleasant situations.
In this article, we have gathered  the most common travel scams and we will give you some tips on how to deal with uncomfortable circumstances.  

1. Broken taxi meter

One of the first things you might need to do when arriving to a new country is ordering a taxi: you will probably need to take one to get to your destination. But pay attention when you actually enter the taxi and check that the meter is actually working.  Many taxi drivers are known to charge tourists a bigger amount of money than they normally should by saying that their meter is broken. 
Sometimes, even if you realise that the meter is not working before the taxi has left, it might not be enough to negotiate rates, as the situation might not be very clear – especially if you don’t speak the target language very well yet. 
If you find yourself in a situation like this, the best option is to get off the taxi and look for another one, even if this might be a bit uncomfortable.

2. Free things on the street

This trick is mostly used in Europe, especially in places which are normally crowded by tourists: somebody would offer to give you a rose, a bracelet or a small object as a free gift. Once you accept the “gift”, they will proceed and ask for money for it. Most of the times, when you try and give it back, they won’t take it and insist you give them the money. Sometimes more than one person will approach you, as, while one will distract you with this trick, the other will take your phone or wallet.
In order to avoid all this, be alert and pay attention to whoever comes in your proximity. Don’t allow anything to be given or put on you, just kindly say no and get away from them. If they keep insisting, just ignore them or be more firm and ask them to leave. If the situation gets uncomfortable, you can always ask somebody else to help you.

3. The helpful local

This category involves many strategies which are all used with the same aim: get your money without you realising.
Among the most common ones we have: 
  • You get something spilled on you (a drink, food, etc.) and somebody comes to you almost immediately to help you clean yourself
  • You’re at the ATM trying to get some cash out. Somebody approaches you offering to help you avoid bank fees.
  • You are taking pictures with your friends. Somebody approaches you and offers to take a group picture, so that you could be in it as well.
All these situations are aimed at distracting you and your friends in order to get your cash, phone, camera, wallet or even card details. While walking around, be aware of where you keep your valuable objects and if anyone is very eager to help you, this should make you suspicious.
Be very careful when you’re at an ATM: make sure no one is behind you or near you. If you need any help taking a picture or doing something else, ask a fellow tourist. 

4. Check the change

When you are in a new country, it might be hard to know what the local currency looks like, especially in the beginning. Nonetheless, it is important to familiarise yourself with it, especially in situations when you are paying cash. Always check that the change you’re given is the correct amount, as sometimes people will take advantage of the fact that you are foreign, particularly if they can see that you are not very confident when counting money.

5. Fake tickets

Sometimes people will try and sell you tickets to museums, events or even means of transportation like bus, train or plane for less money than what they are supposed to be. Sometimes they might tell you that they can get you a better deal because they are locals and know people that specialise in this.
This is nearly always a form of scam, so remember to always buy tickets from official vendors, even if the price is much higher. There are many tools that you can use to find possible discounts, do not trust people you meet randomly on the street.

6. Fake Wifi hubs

Be careful when it comes to connecting your phone or laptop to free wifis. Many of these connections are unsecured networks which allow hackers to get into your device and steal your personal data. Always connect to a secured network, ask for the Wifi password of the coffee shop, restaurant or shop that you’re in or use a VPN to encrypt your online activity. 
Travelling can be an amazing and life-changing experience, so don’t be scared to embark in a new adventure! By using these tips and paying attention to what you’re doing, you will have the best time abroad! 
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Some Thoughts...
Mar, 20, 2021 - 03:03 pm
I look forward to getting a host family too,can't wait to learn about a new culture and meet new people.
May, 23, 2021 - 08:05 am
The tips are very helpful. Thank you for putting these up.
, | May, 25, 2021 - 09:05 am
Hello Winfridah,

Thank you for your comment! We're glad that we can help!
Jun, 04, 2021 - 02:06 pm
Hey, I find this so helpful, thank you for sharing.
Aug, 10, 2021 - 08:08 am
I was always feeling a little unpleasant about this aupair travel . Especially my safety worried me . But this information has enlightened me. I look forward to my first travel as an aupair and hopefully soon. Thank you for the tips .
, | Aug, 10, 2021 - 09:08 am
We are so happy that we could help! Enjoy your time as an Au Pair :-)
Nov, 29, 2021 - 11:11 am
I was wondering all this time how it will be in a new country, such people are all over the countries, but again with this information in a new country it will really help. Especially when you get in that new country and you can not communicate, just waiting for some one to pick you,mmmm ,it may be so frightening. OK ,not sure when to travel. He he he.
, | Nov, 29, 2021 - 11:11 am
Hi Josephine, we are happy that we could help with our article. Don't be afraid of traveling though. With good preparation your Au Pair stay is going to be awesome! :-)
Feb, 28, 2022 - 10:02 pm
Hola! Que bien tener toda esta informacion confiable para NO caer en manos de estafadores que no solo se burlan de la ingenuidad y buena fe de las personas al querer buscar y encontrar un trabajo serio, digno y decente como Au Pair, sino que tambien sirve para estar mas precavidos y andar con mucho cuidado, asesorarse bien con agencias directamene legalizadas que nos brinden de verdad toda la asesoria y el acompañamiento en TODO el proceso para hacer las cosas bien y lograr conseguir de verdad una buena Familia, que verdaderamente valore, respete y aprecie nuestro trabajo, sea reconocido y muy bien pago como debe ser, y asi evitar ser victimas de estafas y burlas a manos de delincuentes que se hacen pasar por familias. MUCHO OJO!!! A redoblar la seguridad con Las Agencias que son nuestro APOYO.
Apr, 26, 2022 - 11:04 am
Thanks alot for this helpful information I can't wait to meet my new family soon
Jun, 29, 2022 - 03:06 pm
Thanks for the information you have shared and hope to meet my host family soon as am still searching so that we can learn more about our diverse cultures and have more fun together sending you love from Kenya
Oct, 03, 2022 - 11:10 am
It was wonderful
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