Top Travel Scams And How To Avoid Them

No one wants to think about their vacation being ruined but the cold, hard truth is that there are plenty of things that can go wrong with a trip. Some of these unfortunate occurrences are out of the hands of the travelers but many can be avoided by taking a few simple steps prior to packing your bags. We attempt to share as many tips for avoiding travel frustrations as we can. Another unfortunate fact is that there are many who will attempt to take advantage of foreigners who travel in their country. This article will address many of the most common scams encountered while traveling abroad and how to avoid them.

The Loooooong Taxi Ride

This scam is pretty well-known by most travelers. You hop in a cab in a city you’re not familiar with and the driver takes the scenic route to get to your destination, often charging two or three times more than you really should have paid. Today’s technology makes this scam much harder to pull off than it used to be. Simply do a quick study of Google Maps and you should know if you’re being “taken for a ride.”

The Full Hotel/Restaurant/Tour

Another frequent scam spun by cab drivers, this one involves telling passengers that the hotel and/or tour they’ve requested to be taken to is either full or closed for some reason. Instead, the drivers will offer to take you to an alternate, “better” venue. Usually, the drivers will get a cut from the hotel or other establishment for bringing them business. The best way to avoid this scam is to simply insist that you check the location for yourself.


If you’ve ever been to a foreign country and been confused by the local currency, you certainly aren’t alone. In fact, many merchants have developed an art for quickly counting out “change” when one of their goods is purchased and moving along in a busy marketplace. You won’t be able to keep up with which denominations are which colors or how many zeros are actually on the stack of bills they’re handing to you. It’s only when you get back to the hotel that you realize you were given FAR less change than you should have. Bottom line?  Know your money.

Merchandise Switching

This, unfortunately, is another common scam. Vendors will sell an expensive item and as you’re counting out the cash they’ll stick a far less expensive item in the bag before handing you your package. Many shoppers don’t even realize they’ve been had until they get back to the hotel that night. The key here is to stay vigilant as your purchases are bagged or boxed up and make sure you’re taking home what you actually paid for.