Tips On How To Prevent Being Cheated While Travelling

Imagine this... You are on a holiday, everything is going as planned, then comes the avoidable scenario, the one where you get cheated of a few quid. It is the worst feeling in the world, right? Well, most of us have experienced it in some way or another. In today’s post, Le Scoop is going to tell you how you, yes, you the traveler can avoid being cheated when on a holiday.

1.Read between the lines 

Insurance Le Scoop

We do this while taking insurance, a credit card, or while investing in a scheme, but fail to do this before travelling. Sometimes, tours, restaurants, and even hotels have charges printed in fine print on menus and tariff cards. So, the next time you’re paying for any service, make sure you know what you are paying for. If you are on a tour, check with your operator to see if there are additional charges, for car or vehicle rentals, check with the rental company about charges, make sure that they give you a final quote and not a random fee. The same applies to restaurants, make sure that there aren’t any hidden charges like service charge or charges for compliments like extra sauce and snacks that normally come free with drinks.

2: Compare prices and check reviews

Compare prices and check reviews Le Scoop

This is a good technique to use while eating at a restaurant, or booking a hotel and a spa , or even while shopping for local items. Today, you have web portals and apps like Trivago, Zomato, Trip Advisor, and that lets you compare price and browse reviews. They also keep you up to date with good deals.

Pro Tip: While looking at reviews, read between the lines to know which ones are fake. Some reviews only put a business down while other give it false praise.

3: Research what things cost

The easiest way to do this is to connect with travel bloggers and well informed locals. There are many forums on social media or use platforms such as Quora to ask fellow travellers questions on  cost of things in a particular country or state. Please check up on taxes in a country, nations keep changing tax rates and if you calculate taxes wrong, you will end up spending more money.

While researching what things cost, jot down alternatives, in case the things you prefer (this is more likely for hotels and restaurants) do not fit into your budget. It is always a good idea to have a backup plan.

4: Don’t fall for unbelievable schemes

A new current trend is fraudsters sending out fake emails with offers that are too good to believe. As a traveller to a new country, you have to be careful about this scam. Out of a 100, 98 times, you’re mostly like to be conned in these cases. If you are in doubt, double check with other travellers or google the 'suspect 'offer, you'll be able to spot a bluff offer on social media easily.

Sometimes, you may also get conned by tour guides and transport providers, this is true in countries like India where there are quite a few touts who roam around tourist attractions and airports looking to earn a quick buck. Be careful of these guys and if you can, report them to the police or authorities.

5: Trust your skills

This is true in India, sometimes you need to use your own judgement, especially when it comes to routes. Many a time, taxi drivers will take the long route to get to your destination. If you have to, use maps, in most parts of India, maps work pretty well. If you can, use pre-paid private cabs such as Ola and Uber, the route shows up on the app and Ola has an SOS button for emergencies.

While travelling around, sometimes you might feel uncomfortable with a fellow traveller or a guide, in cases like these, you have got to trust your judgment and stay away from them and trouble.

6: Ask a lot of questions

I would like to call this the business part of the post. Why so? Because this is where you can find out if you are being cheated or not. Asking a lot of questions makes touts and conmen uncomfortable. When in such a situation, it is easy to call out their bluff. On the other hand, a trustworthy agent or a tour operator will be more than happy to answer all your questions.

7: Do deals upfront

When it comes to taxi fares, this is a good tactic as drivers most times tend to overcharge later, this is true especially for foreign tourists. So, it is always better to agree on a fee to a destination before hiring a cab. For your hotel bookings, it isn’t such a problem as today, most hotels can be booked online and you pay a fixed fee. The same applies to prepaid cabs like Uber and Ola that present you with a fee upfront.

8. Ask your bank about hidden charges

When using a credit card overseas, you are charged a fee. Some have special international credit cards that have discounted transaction fees or a few free one. Check with your bank whether they have such facilities, it will save you money.

You should also be mindful of credit card fraud, sometimes in some countries, there is a racket of cloning cards, so it is advised to avoid using cards in these countries. Check with your travel agent or ask locals which ATMs are trustworthy.

9: Be Aware of Fake Tour Guides

In some countries, you’ll come across men pretending to be tour guides. These guys have no knowledge about the history of the attraction but will pretend to know everything. Heck, some of them even rob and loot their customers. Buy a travel guide, it helps you know the best places to see in a town and also has a brief about its history. Invest in a Marco Polo, Lonely Planet or a Rough Guides travel guide, they are the best ones.

10: Watch out for con hotels and air BnB's

This point came to mind after a friend wrote this post on her experience at an Air BnB. I know that some hotels too do this too. It’s not only scary, but it can cost you your life as well as money. We would surely stay away from such places.

Have you ever felt cheated or ripped off on your travel? Share your story in the comments section below, I would like to read them.

Note: Being “Ripped off” is a subjective experience. While being cheated of $50 will be okay for someone, for another it could be a lot of money. 

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