avoid tourist scams

Summer in any major city is a hot bed for petty crime. Naïve tourists are easy targets for local con artists, but luckily, the internet is here to help you read up on well-known scams before venturing abroad. You should definitely do your research and invest in travel insurance before going anywhere unfamiliar, but we have a few tried-and-tested tips to avoid being the victim:

  • Don’t keep anything in your pockets – you will get pickpocketed
  • Lock your bags when possible. Some brands now sell backpacks with inbuilt codes and locks, but this isn’t always necessary. Make sure your handbag has a zip or a buckle – something to prevent people just sticking their hands in! Always keep it close, never put your bag on the ground, and don’t hang it over one arm – it makes it easy to snatch. Also, to be extra safe always lock your luggage, even in your hotel room
  • Be aware and on alert. Learn about local scams. For example, some people often use crying or lost children to engage your sympathies and distract you while they rummage through your luggage. Make sure you always have one eye on your belongings
  • Store things in the hotel safe. It isn’t exactly rare for things to go missing from hotel rooms, but they are usually the safest place. Keep your luggage locked in your room, and put things in the safe where possible
  • Scan a copy of your passport and identification documents before you leave. Keep a printed copy with you, but email yourself a copy before you leave, just in case
  • Try and blend in. Tourists generally stick out like beacons. We are easy to identify with our daypacks, maps and comfortable footwear, and thus become natural prey. I have a rule to never look at a map in public. Be sure to study the map before you leave your hotel, and if you get lost, don’t panic. Look like you know where you are until you find somewhere without crowds to have a look
  • Watch what you’re drinking and who you’re drinking with. It’s great to have a night out, meet new people and enjoy yourself. Just keep your wits about you and don’t travel anywhere at night on your own
  • Know the price of a taxi and distance to your hotel before arriving in a new city. Every airport will have fake taxi drivers looking to rip you off. Know the average price and settle on a fair before you get into the cab
  • Keep emergency cash and a credit card. Don’t have all your money in the one place. I would always carry emergency cash in my bra or shoe when I went out for the day. I also had a spare credit card secure in my hotel room. I would recommend carrying small amounts of cash
  • Be flexible. Prepare for the worst and know what to do. Don’t beat yourself up over a stolen wallet – if that’s the worst thing that happens, you’ve gotten off easy. Be ready to cancel credit cards and know how to contact your consulate
  • Try to learn a few phrases in the native language, be friendly and smile! Making friends and finding help will be a lot easier
  • Research, research, research! You can never be too certain.

Image via Mashable