Don’t give scammers the opportunity to spoil your holiday!
Camping is fun and relaxing, and campsites often take on a very friendly atmosphere. But, just like at home, you have to be very careful what you do while on holiday. You have no doubt heard the horror stories about scammers abroad, maybe you have seen TV programmes about them. And, like everyone else, you’ll have thought “that will never happen to me”. It’s quite unlikely that you will be bothered by a scammer while you’re abroad, and with these 5 practical tips on how to avoid being scammed, you can rule out the possibility as much as possible.
1. Broken taxi meter
If you decide to visit a major city while you’re on holiday, you’ll probably need to take a taxi. In most countries, you can take a taxi without encountering any problems, but some taxi drivers see tourists as an easy target for a scam. Some will use the excuse of having a broken taxi meter, and when you reach your destination, you’ll be stung with a ridiculously high charge for the journey. A complete waste of money, and lots of frustration! Make sure to always use a taxi that has a (working) taxi meter, or agree a fixed charge for the journey before you get in.
2. Say cheese
As you wander around towns and cities, you’ll probably notice street artists, a man dressed as a Roman for example, or someone walking around with an owl. Before you realise it, these people have their arms around you and you have an owl on your shoulder. Then it’s just a case of having your photo taken, and you have a nice new addition to the album. That’s until they demand money for the experience. You can avoid this by observing from a distance, or giving such people a wide berth. It may be that you do want a photo, as said before, it is a nice addition to the album. Just be careful.
3. Car hire
Hiring a car while on holiday shouldn’t be a problem, but sometimes you find that the low price that you booked balloons with extras. Always check, for example, what the rules are on filling the tank up before you return the car. Perhaps there’s a limit to how many miles you can drive. If you fail to check beforehand, you may find yourself having to pay a high price at the end. In many cases, car hire comes with only a very basic level of insurance cover and a very high excess to pay. Should something happen, you may find yourself paying thousands. Our tip is always to hire a car from a well-known car hire company. If you don’t, always read the small print in the terms and conditions. Before you drive the car away, check it for damage with someone from the car hire company, and take photos of any existing damage so that when you return the car, the company cannot try to charge you for damage that someone else caused.
While abroad, you’ll often see magicians and other street artists on the streets and squares of cities. They’re usually very entertaining and in most cases, they are honest, hard-working people, just trying to earn a living. But sadly, some of them are scammers working with accomplices. While they are showing you a trick, their accomplice is in your pockets. Over-friendly locals who want to help you find somewhere you’re looking for, beggars and even children can also be pickpockets. There’s no reason to suspect everyone, most people are genuinely friendly, but take care of your bag and pockets when you’re out and about.
5. The unromantic friend
You’re eating out at a nice pavement café with your partner. Up strolls a man with a bunch of flowers and he gives a rose to your partner. Do you wave away the romantic gesture or pay far too much for a rose that you didn’t ask for?
As we have already said, it’s unlikely that you’ll fall victim to a scammer while you’re abroad, and hopefully these tips will help to avoid it. Have you ever (nearly) fallen victim to a scammer while abroad, do you have any tips? Then let us know by commenting below.
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