When you travel without a guide or organised tour group, move between different cities, visit touristic places – you have to make many decisions daily and most of them are based on your money. There are countries where are fixed prices but not everywhere is that easy.
If you want your vacation to be positive, bare with me.
Here are tips how not to get scammed and keep a positive attitude based on my travel experience:
- Slow down. It may sound too simple for you but it is super important. People who want to scam you, will create rush and situation where “you have to” make a decision now or you have no time at all to think. I’ve been in this situation so many times that it became a red flag when someone is suddenly rushing me to do something.
- Take a moment for yourself and make an action plan before you leave the area only for the passengers at the airport or ferry port. In some parts of the world, the common area is like a whirl of taxi drivers, people who offer you money exchange and many others who wants to make a good business for themselves (not you).
- Be aware of the common scams, you can learn it from many blogs and travel forums before you take a trip to a certain place. Here are some of them that I encountered in many different parts of the world:
they say they know you from the hotel (no, they don’t), they would “help you” when you don’t need it, initiate a conversation, or follow you for an hour to show you their shop (it is not a scam but they can be very pushy, just remember there’s nothing for free). You may encounter a person with a professional looking badge of some sort or wearing pro clothing and introducing himself/ herself as a volunteer or skip this part and tell you to buy a ticket from him. Often a ticket like this is 10 times more expensive than in the real official counter that is 5 meters further. If you have an appointment with a certain driver, be sure that it is him or her! That’s a tough one 😉 Slow down, don’t rush, ask many questions and add that you have paid for it online and you will not pay him any cash (if you really paid online). If you cannot find your driver, be sure that everyone will tell you that it’s him 😉 In some countries you are expected to pay for showing you way to the place you are looking for and sometimes the price could be very high, be careful were you are going too. In a situation like this or before going in to the taxi / tuk tuk or any other transportation ask for the price first, do not enter before you know it. Sometimes at the airports or ferry ports someone may take your luggage, walk you a few meters and ask you to pay for it, and it is not like in the nice hotels! I know it could be helpful but usually it is just awkward and I’ve heard from many other travellers that they don’t like it as well (so again, I don’t think it is a scam, but unnecessarily stress and over-investment ;-)) Also the money exchange is a big part of the subject, but I think you know it by now, and will be careful with that.
- When someone is pushing you to do something, buy something – you can always say “no, thank you. Have a nice day” and repeat it as many times as the person is pushing you. It is easier to accept it and get some distance. Don’t be serious about it, otherwise you may go crazy 😉
- Remember that what people do it’s their business. How you respond is your business. Sometimes you don’t even have to react! Know your boundary and brace it, stand the ground, don’t try to prove anything because it is usually pointless. You don’t own anyone explanation.
- In nature predators look for the easiest prey, weak, very young or old, disabled. They don’t want to fight with a titan, so become one or fake it until you make it. Stand tall even if you are not, walk, act, speak with confidence even if you are stressed inside, breath slowly to trick your brain that everything is ok and it will be. After all, you never loose, you only gain more experience and lessons.
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