Avoiding Tourist Scams
Almost every traveller has their fair share of tourist scam stories, and if not well they're either incredibly clever or they haven't left their room! When you travel to a foreign country with a foreign currency, and particularly if the local people speak a foreign language, you will find yourself in the very vulnerable position of being obviously foreign yourself! Whether it's your accommodation or food, a clever rickshaw driver, or shopping for souvenirs, people will try their luck and often you will find yourself the victim of the 'tourist tax'. Being ripped off can be a very difficult thing to avoid, but here are a few pointers to keep in mind:Learn the language
If you are visiting a non-English speaking country then keep in mind that you are the foreigner. Don't expect a shopkeeper to have a clue what you're talking about when you're rambling on in English about the price of his goods. Trying to barter in English for a price that you think is a bargain is only going to make both of you more frustrated, and in the end the shopkeeper will be more reluctant to lower his price. Learning some basic words, from simple greetings and Please and Thank-you, to further vocabulary about prices, accommodation or food will not only make getting around much easier for you but will also show the locals that you respect them. In most cases you will find that prices are lowered and people are more willing to help you out.Be alert
Be aware of the common tourist scams in the particular countries you are visiting so that you know what to expect when you get there. For example, if your taxi driver suggests he take you to his friend who is a travel agent and can give you loads of advice, only go along with it if you are willing to pay higher prices and commission for everyone involved. Likewise, a rickshaw driver's story that your hostel burned down or the train station isn't actually opened today is probably not exactly true. Following his advice will have you spending your day being wheeled around from shop to shop and, if you really fall into his trap, with an empty wallet at the end of the day. Buying travel or attraction tickets at a 'discounted price' on the side of the road is dodgy, and believe me you will not be able to find the seller for a refund when it turns out your tickets aren't valid.Be considerate
Think about how much you would pay if you were back at home and compare it to what you are being asked for. If you are travelling to developing countries then without a doubt you will be paying significantly less than you would if you were back home. Bear this in mind when you are arguing over a dollar. You may be paying higher than the local price, but it is still relatively cheap in comparison. Rather than bartering for the lowest price you think you can get, go for a price you think is fair.
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