Solo travel is one of the biggest trends in the travel industry right now and it’s not surprising because delving deep into foreign cultures and flying off to far-flung places is an amazing feeling. But traveling alone can also make you vulnerable in many places and being aware of travel scams is a good way to protect yourself, says the Huffington Post.
“With a record number of people immersing themselves into different cultures and countries, it’s not surprising that a number of travel scams have become common practice throughout the world,” writes Danielle Nelson.
Thankfully, Nelson notes, these scams seem to be fairly similar around the world.
One of the most common scams is the “bump and grab” which is most common in large crowds.
“This is a favorite time for the bump and grab, as thieves know you are occupied and surrounded, so they can bump you and grab your stuff, then dart away. The surrounding crowd then makes it hard to notice you’ve been bumped, and even harder to catch the thief who nabbed your stuff. It is so simple, yet so effective,” notes Nelson.
To avoid it, she recommends keeping valuables zipped up and safe.
She also recommends watching out for the ATMs you use.
“While ATM fraud happens more often in the United States than it does in other countries, it is always good to be aware. Always try to use ATMs at banks, as thieves shy away from surveillance cameras. And watch out for common ATM scams like card skimming and money grabbers (sort of like the Bump and Grab),” Nelson points out.
Ticket scams are another way travelers can be taken advantage of.
“Beware of cheap tickets and refundable schemes. If it doesn’t seem like the right price (aka a significant discount from what you would pay the window of the event or attraction), I highly recommend not purchasing,” says Nelson.
To avoid it, she recommends always buying tickets from accredited ticket offices.
The Bump and Grab
In many cities, if you see a large group of people congregating around a landmark or market, try to pay special attention to your pockets, backpack, or purse. This is a favorite time for the bump and grab, as thieves know you are occupied and surrounded, so they can bump you and grab your stuff, then dart away. The surrounding crowd then makes it hard to notice you’ve been bumped, and even harder to catch the thief who nabbed your stuff. It is so simple, yet so effective.
How to avoid it: Keep all valuables zipped up in safe pockets and, if you feel like a distraction ploy is happening, don’t be scared to turn around and check for the guilty party. Hold your wallet or purse tight when you can, and keep your eyes peeled.
The Conversion Rate/Charge You More Scam
“Would you like to pay in (local currency) or U.S. dollars today?”
This is a phrase you will hear often when traveling abroad. From your hotel to local vendors. You only have so much cash, so you want to make sure it goes as far as possible, right? Well sometimes these savvy dealers know that you only have so much US cash and/or foreign currency, and either want you to pay with your credit card or with the US dollar you do have… and then use an absurd conversion rate to jack up the price from the local currency price.
How to avoid it: This is an issue from Hertz to Hilton to local vendors, so know the conversion rate, and try your damnedest to get enough local currency before you go and only pay with that. If they say you can pay with your credit card or US Dollars, make sure you know the conversion rate beforehan