Before travelling, people research about the places they’re visiting . Details about expenses, hotels, restaurants, must-try dishes, must-see sights, and the like are noted down to get a better experience. Other than this, people also read about the culture, traditions, do’s and don’ts, and language of the country.
These things are must-knows because, after all, who would want to go around with no plan at all? However, with the excitement of travelling and the amount of things to prepare, some forget researching what should they avoid. To avoid encountering any inconvenience, it’s important to research on the common tourist scams and crimes on the place you’re visiting and how you can prevent being victimised by these. Here are some of the scams you should keep your eye on:
A Broken Taxi Meter
There are some cab drivers who’d pull this scam as soon as they learn their passengers aren’t locals. Sometimes, they’d inform you when you’re already driving off or even when you have arrived at your destination. More often than not, they’ll charge you with a ridiculously steep price.
Avoid this by ensuring the meter is working before you hop on. If you’re in a hurry or desperate for a ride, negotiate rates ahead of time. Be aware of the actual pricing though. Basing on the meter will be much cheaper.
Overbooked Or Closed Hotel
This scam is still associated with some cab drivers who will tell you the hotel you’re going to is either closed or overbooked. The driver will then take you to a more expensive hotel where he’ll get a commission.
It’s not that hard to prevent this from happening to you. When you’ve already booked, make sure to call your hotel before hand or arrange an airport pickup, if available. It would also be wise to tell the driver that you already have a reservation and confirmed with the hotel (even if you really haven’t).
Free Items or Services
When in another country, be wary of anyone who will approach and offer you a free item or service (i.e. foot massages). Once you’ve taken the supposedly free item or service, they will demand money and cause a raucous if you refuse. Prevent this from happening to you by refusing anyone from putting anything on you. Unless there is a compelling reason for you to accept a free item or service, then outright decline and keep walking.
A Cause of Distraction
A common trick done by thieves is to distract you then steal your valuables. While accepting help is not bad, being alert of the people around you and your belongings wouldn’t hurt.
When thinking of having your money exchanged for the local currency, don’t just go to the most convenient or nearest one. In fact, don’t go for any stall that offers higher rates than what is normally given. There is a very high chance that this is a scam. A money changer may rig a calculator to give you the wrong denomination, make a money switch, or use fake money. Prevent this from happening to you by going to a trusted establishment or a bank. Ask your hotel’s reception desk for tips to make sure.
Fake Police Officers
This is a common travel scam where a person will approach you and offer you illegal items such as drugs. While in a premeditated conversation, a person appearing to be an officer will approach both of you. This police officer will then demand you surrender both your passport and wallet but don’t hand it over, no matter what. Request for identification and say you will have to confirm he is who he says he is.
Ideally, the world is our safe haven. Realistically? It’s far from that. This is why being informed about these kinds of scams is important. It’s also one of the reasons why availing a travel insurance in the Philippines is advisable. Securing yourself from anything that may ruin your trip, after all, is the best decision you will ever make. Because one way or another, you’ll probably encounter these type of scams. And when you do, you’ll definitely thank yourself for being prepared with a great travel health insurance from the Philippines’ leading non-life insurance company, Malayan Insurance.
Don’t let this discourage you from exploring and experiencing other cultures! Let this instead be a reminder that you have to be wary and insured with the best insurance company in the Philippines.