How To Avoid Travel Scams

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The largest nightmare in travel is scam artists. Avoiding them, and similar situations are the key to a great vacation. The problem is there are people that dedicate their lives day and night to create sticky situations for travelers. The best way to avoid foreign trickery is to educate yourself before you go.


Taxi Cabs. This may be the widest spread way to rip someone off across the globe. It all depends on where you’re going. Many countries do not have the automated luxury of Uber and Lyft. At some point during your journey, you will find yourself in a taxi.

The best piece of advice we can give is to learn the currency. Find out what the exchange rate is and practice it ahead of time. If paying with cash, always make sure you keep an eye on your money. Never blindly hand it to the driver, expecting him/her to correctly distribute the change.

Make a point of counting it in front of them and saying the total aloud as you hand it over. Do not look away until the transaction is complete. Often times, drivers will take your money, swap it for the incorrect amount, and claim that you still owe.

In addition to this sleight of hand trick, there are many drivers that will try and jump the rate when you’re not looking. If you feel the rate is going to high too quickly, politely ask the driver to drop you off right where you are, and ask for a new taxi before your tab is out of control.

On the other hand, if you come across an honest driver, it might be a good idea to ask for his phone number and hire him/her for the rest of the trip. This way you don’t have to stress each time you need a ride, and the driver has a reliable passenger. It’s a win-win.

Street Gambling

You may come across this scam while out in a busy part of town or among popular shopping streets. A popular game you may see is commonly called three card Monty. Beware, there are many variations of this game. The basis of the game is to guess where an object has landed (under one of three cards) after the game maker has scrambled them. Guess correctly and you’ve won your bet money. Guess incorrectly and you’ve lost your dollars to the scam artists.

Typically you will see a group of people huddled in an area and if you start observing the game, it may look like some people are making money. This is exactly what the game maker wants you to think and often times the people in the huddle are part of the scam. If you fall prey, chances are you may win the first round but after that, you can kiss your money goodbye. These games are illegal and if spotted by the police are punishable by law. It’s best to avoid these altogether.

Popup Shops

Who doesn’t like to score a good bargain? This is exactly the type of thinking that scam artists are aware of when they create pop- up shops. You may come across them in train stations, along busy streets, and there may even be parts of town in your vacation destination where they are known to be.

Pop up shops look like a bunch of men gathered around with knockoff items on blankets. If you look even closer you may notice that the items are strapped to the blankets. This is because those items are most likely illegal and the need to be able to pack up quickly if spotted by police. Trust us, these bargains are not worth your money and the items are not authentic.


If you have a good head on your shoulders, you will likely not get caught up in a scam of the night. People and businesses generally do their worst scamming at night. Pubs and dance halls hire people to roam the streets and befriend tourists, offering free tickets, drinks, or promotional offers to help get you in the door. However, maybe a ploy to get you under the influence and vulnerable.

Europe is known for people like this and if preyed upon you could find yourself winding up with a tab worth a couple of thousand dollars for just a couple of drinks. If you have the money, you’re disappointed but sent on your way. If you don’t have the money, you may be escorted to an atm to withdraw everything you have. Keep in mind, even police may have involvement in these awful activities. Don’t fret. Just keep your senses alert and don’t walk into anything that seems out of the ordinary. Remember that nothing is truly “free”.


We aren’t sure how people fall into jewelry scams, but it does happen. This goes back to an old saying, that if it seems to good to be true, then it most likely is. The draw to buying jewelry on vacation is scoring a good deal on a rare gem. The truth is that scam artists know this and are waiting for you and plotting on how to get you to buy from them. A tip-off that you might be among scammers is if you see the same deal on jewelry in multiple shops in relative areas. They most likely have the same supplier and this is a good indication that what you are buying is fake.


Air BnB is becoming a trusted and popular website. This is opening the gates to people having more trust in alternate accommodations. This can go one of two ways. It’s amazing to get the opportunity to live like a local and experience a destination the way it’s meant to be. On the other hand, the is an advantage to scam artists. Always validate the address of where you will be staying. The worst vacation nightmare is to arrive at your getaway home, only to realize it was a fake listing.

Tourisist Attractions

Before you go on vacation, you likely spend hours researching the top activities and sights that are a must see during your stay. Putting together your itinerary is likely the most exciting part of vacation planning. What the average person is unaware of upon arriving at a must-see sight, is that scammers are lined up to promise you the world and take your money.

There are several common scenarios you will see. Photography is something you will take part in. There will be tons of people there competing to take your photo and charge you a tremendous amount for it. This is an obvious and easy one to avoid.

In addition to that, there will be people promising shorter lines for your exhibit, and possibly “exclusive” sights if you buy your entrance tickets through a specific person. These promises turn out to be lies and you’re almost always better off purchasing tourist attraction tickets directly through the venue.


This article is not meant to scare you away from traveling. While there may be dangerous situations to find yourself in, most of them are avoidable if you know what to look for. Stay safe & educated!

We hope you have a great trip! Have you ever had a travel nightmare?

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