How To Avoid Scams While Traveling

It’s a beautiful day at your destination and you are itching to get ready and go exploring! Nothing could ruin this day! While getting lost in the city, you feel someone accidentally bump into you, you both apologize, and carry on with your stroll. It isn’t until a little while later that you notice that the cash you stuck in the front pocket of your backpack is gone. You know you just had it earlier! That’s when it hits you. The person that bumped into you must have taken it. You had read about these types of things happening, but you never would have thought it would happen to you. You feel embarrassed and defeated. While this is common, do not beat yourself up. These types of scams can happen to anyone. I should know because I have been scammed before myself. While I have picked up a thing or two, I still have a lot to learn on how to avoid scams while traveling, but I thought I would share my limited knowledge.

It’s easier said than done, but my first piece of advice is to be aware of your surroundings. Scammers and pickpockets will scope out those that are distracted because they see an easy target. They will get what they came for and make a clean getaway, making you none the wiser. It’s a tough task to not get lost with all the different and exciting things around you, but you have to switch back and forth between the awing tourist to the observant traveler. Pairing this with the next two tips should make you an impenetrable force!

One thing I always do while traveling is carry a cross-body bag so it is easier to hold it near me during periods of congestion on transportation or at places. You want to make sure you keep track of your valuables and keep them on you at all times. What I mean is if someone tries to spin a story and ask for documents and/or money, don’t hand them over what they are asking for. There are scams where people will dress up as official-looking people and ask for these types of things, so be on guard. Some pickpockets will cut purse straps of people in a crowded space and escape undetected. If I notice lots of people around me, I grab my purse and hold onto it for dear life. There are many different products out there to help protect you and your belongings so you won’t end up a victim on your next trip. 

Now with these tips in your arsenal, there is one more that seems simple, but will go well with the others and that is to be firm. Give a hard no and keep walking if they try to talk to you. Even if you don’t, act like you know where you are going and what you are doing. Personally, I also like the “pretend you don’t hear them” or “act like you don’t speak the same language” actions as well. Whichever one you use, do it confidently and they should move on to someone less fortunate. 

You could write a book on all the different types of scams there are in the world and never finish it as there are more and more new ones that happen every day. As I stated before, I have fallen to scams a time or two while traveling. It can happen to anyone. So, if you do find yourself at the shitty end of one, while it feels like the end of the world, it will be okay in the end. Use these tips and do your research on the specific area you are traveling to and get a better sense of what to expect. Hopefully, you can stay clear of these predators.

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