You will meet friendly locals while on the road, however not everyone is as genuine as they seem. Stay alert and safe with these tips to avoid the most common travel scams.

Taxi over Charge This is one of the most common travel scams out there. Either the driver will tell you the meter is broken and try to charge you a huge rate or you’ll see the meter go higher your expectations. To avoid this, you should know how much the ride it cost by asking hotel staff, and do some research from internet to know the exactly amount for the specific place. Negotiate rates ahead of time, or ensure the meter is in fact working before you get in the car.

Dishonest Tour Agency  Always travel with a well established tour company so you know that you’ll get what you pay for and your safety will be of primary concern. Do your research, check reviews and ask your accommodation for recommendations. Always book through reputable websites and operators. Traveling with a dodgy operator could see you stranded, injured, sick, or at the very least, fleeced of some of your holiday funds. I highly recommend to book your tour to be safe on airbnb, viator and expedia. Don’t trust a travel website just because it has a familiar logo or comes up near the top of search results. Many scam sites mimic major travel companies’ branding.

Motorbike Scam You rent a bike, and then when you bring it back, the owner demands an additional payment or expensive repairs  because there is some damage you didn’t know about. I see this scam a lot in other developing regions of the world. To avoid this, take photos of the bike first to document any previous damage. Go around it with the owner so they know what you are taking pictures of.

Be aware of Helpful people who approach you first In many of the common scams the con begins with someone approaching you first. They might be offering you tour activities or inviting you somewhere, but in this situation you should ask yourself why me? so that the simply answer is something they need from you. The best to avoid this never use a guide you meet off the street; instead, arrange your tours through a more organized source such as a tourist office or online.

Fake Police Officers The fake police officer scam is a popular one in many large cities. Most often, a person will approach a tourist and offer illicit items, like drugs. While conversing one or two other people will approach, appearing to be police officers and flashing “badges.” They will then insist the unknowing traveler hand over their passport and wallet. However, they are not police officers. to avoid this never hand over your wallet or passport. Request they show you their identification and then inform them you will call the police to confirm they are who they say they are. Or tell them your passport is locked up in the hotel safe, and they’ll need to accompany you to your hotel. If they don’t allow this, simply escape them.

The wrong change This happens a lot in countries where the bills look similar to each other. People tend to look at colors first, so when you get a pile of change that is the same color, you think you got the right change — but they really gave you the wrong bills, hoping you won’t notice until after you rush out. To avoid getting taken, count your change carefully every time.

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