How to Avoid Tourist Traps and Vacation Scams While Travelling

Travelling is meant to be an adventure filled with cultural discoveries and unforgettable moments, not a series of costly mishaps.

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how to avoid tourist traps

No one wants to discover they've fallen for a tourist trap, spending a fortune on a disappointing experience. Travelling is meant to be an adventure filled with cultural discoveries and unforgettable moments, not a series of costly mishaps.

Tourist traps vary from one destination to another and from one continent to the next, making them particularly tricky to spot. Make the most of your getaways with these seven foolproof tips to help you avoid these pitfalls.

These tips will allow you to travel with peace of mind, save money, and have more authentic experiences.

1. Choose your restaurants carefully

You're in Paris, at the foot of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre, and you're drawn to a terrace with a breathtaking view of the city. However, resist the temptation! Restaurants located directly next to monuments or tourist spots are often tourist traps.You risk paying a fortune for often defrosted, mediocre-quality dishes.

For an authentic and affordable culinary experience, venture into the neighbouring streets, away from the crowds. Look for a bistro frequented by locals: if at least two or three people are eating there, it's generally a good sign. You'll then enjoy local dishes at a much more reasonable price.

2. Don't fall for the broken taxi meter scam

In several Latin American, Asian, and African countries, some taxi drivers will tell you their meter is broken and offer you a fare for a fixed price. Refuse this offer and insist that the meter be turned on before you drive off.

If the driver refuses, get out immediately and find another taxi. This simple action can save you from paying much more than the regular fare.

3. Beware of free shopping tours

Be vigilant if you're offered a free shopping tour, whether to a black pearl shop in Hawaii or a tuk-tuk ride in Bangkok. These excursions are often ploys to get you to shops where the driver receives a hefty commission on your purchases.

To avoid these hassles, do your research online and book a taxi recommended by your hotel or an Uber. This way, you can visit the shops at your own pace and leave whenever you like.

4. Always count your change when making a purchase

In some countries, bills can look similar and it's easy to make a mistake or be taken advantage of inadvertently. For example, a 50-baht note in Thailand looks very similar to a 500-baht note. Be careful and always count your change, especially if you're unfamiliar with the local currency. By being vigilant, you will avoid losing money unnecessarily.

5. Don't exchange money with locals

If someone offers to exchange money with you on the street, politely decline. It's common to be offered an attractive exchange rate, but the risk of receiving counterfeit money is high.

To avoid this situation, withdraw money directly from ATMs. Not only is it safer, but you will also get the official exchange rate. If you absolutely must exchange money, choose a money exchange shop with good online reviews and a legitimate appearance.

6. Seek out alternative experiences

For more authentic and economical experiences, make it a habit to look for alternatives. For example, if you're planning a trip to Iceland and dream of swimming in turquoise water, consider looking for alternatives to the famous Blue Lagoon, which is often expensive and crowded.

By typing "Alternative + activity name" into Google, you'll discover equally spectacular lagoons, usually free or at a lower cost. This approach will allow you to experience unforgettable moments without breaking the bank.

7. Avoid peak hours

To fully appreciate popular attractions without the crowds, visit them early in the morning or late in the afternoon. By following this tip, you can not only avoid long lines but also enjoy a more peaceful experience and have better photo opportunities.

Whether you’re visiting renowned museums or popular hiking trails, planning your visits outside peak hours can transform your trip.

Be a savvy traveller!

Remember that the key to a successful adventure is preparation and curiosity. By carefully choosing your destinations and activities, you will create authentic and lasting memories. Don't forget to always take out travel insurance with soNomad before you leave.

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