Travel scams to avoid

2012-05-10 15:10

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Approaching your impending holiday with a sense of childlike wonder is to be expected. You’ve worked hard and saved for this bit of life’s luxury. But remember, part of being a savvy traveller is being aware and alert enough to not get caught up in any nasties, while still remaining opening to the experience at hand.

Check out the following treacherous trickery that has reportedly taken place across the globe…you won’t be sorry that you did…

1. Have x-ray eyes

It’s always a rush trying to get through airport security as the boarding gates are often filled with passengers trying to make their flight. Don’t let any security personal or fellow passenger make you feel hurried or flustered. Secure your personal belongs well enough before letting it go through the x-ray belt. Items such as cellphones, ipods, ipads and laptops can so easily be snatched up at the end of the line. Keep your eyes on them at all times. It’s also wise to do a quick check before leaving the plane that you have your belongings safely packed up. We've heard of somebody who left their ipad in the magazine pouch in the seat in front of them. The passenger after him must of thought the airline really was going high-tech. Needless to say it was not handed in as lost and found.

2. The helpful taxi driver

Helpful strangers are one thing. But consider the fact that some taxi drivers are often paid commission by hotels and restaurants to bring feet through the door. If they tell you that the hotel or attraction you want to go to is closed or fully booked it won’t hurt to call and double-check for yourself.

3. Hotel room habits

While we all may take extra care when interacting online, we sometimes forget to consider the obvious or most convenient places for crooks to fudge with our identities. A hotel room has been dubbed one of the easiest places to steal somebody's identity as guests are more likely to leave vital personal information lying around. You've lock your cash and jewelry away, so why be careless with documents or information that could allow criminals a gateway into to your finances or reveal the whereabouts of your near and dear? Develop a habit of safety and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

4. Fake Credentials

While somebody might misuse a stolen identity, keep in mind that with technology so easily available, reproducing fake identification badges for tour companies is also a synch. To safe-guard yourself, always double-check whether through word of mouth, guidebooks or the internet, that the company you’ve chosen is a reliable and reputable one. Expect a complete itinerary upfront, as some may unwittingly add unwanted extras to your trip all in an attempt to increase their commission. On the severe end of the scam scale some may just take your money and simply disappear. Unless you have 100% confidence in who you’re dealing with do not make any upfront EFT payments or deposits.

5. The best things in life aren’t always free

The word free often has a way of blinding many people to the fact that they may not necessarily be getting a better deal. Make sure it all adds up before you sign-up for that extra third or fourth hotel night free. Also quite common are holiday clubs that ask for joining fees under the pretense of making you privy to exclusive deals and value-adds. You only discover once you've joined and paid that a similar or better deal is available, if you had had the common sense to do a little bit of pricing comparisons and research on your own.
6. That holiday hottie

Clubbing and nightlife is to be expected when visiting exotic or foreign destinations. While we don’t want you walking around like a twitching, paranoid freak at the very approach of a stranger, it is easy to get caught up in the newness of your experience – especially when there is alcohol involved. Try to remain alert and avoid running a tab. You may just find yourself footing the bill as your good-looking companion has somehow vanished without leaving any means of contacting them for their portion of the cash.

7. Dodge dodgy booking URls

When booking online, make sure you do it through a reputable website, such as - not that we want to blow our own horn or anything. Clicking through to deals via URLs you've never heard of before or that haven't been recommended by people you trust is not a good idea, especially if there's a chance that you'll be handing over vital information such as your id number and credit card details.

8. Don't forget those hidden costs

Not to be pessimistic or anything, but if something sounds a little too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you find out about all the hidden taxes and payments for potential upgrades before you secure your booking. Doing the research might be tedious but it will be well-worth it in the end - it also means you're able to make an informed choice and selected the very best deal in relation to what you want.

9. Does your room really have a view?

Terms such as 'Airport' Hotel or 'Beach-facing' Resort can be misleading especially when they're not nearly as close as is implied. And don't forget that skanky scam favourite which requires a deposit to secure a stay at a hotel that doesn't even exist. Google Earth is pretty handy for sorting out the fake addresses from the fabulous ones. Use it.

10. Frequent flier fees

Airlines have been known to tack on extra fees for taxes and or extra baggage, depending on the carrier and destination. Booking as far in advance as possible might help you avoid some unnecessary costs. If there is a charge you're unsure about, question it. Always scrutinize the fine print when booking online.

Have any scam-avoiding tips of your own, why not post a comment below?

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Read more on:    travel tips  |  travel international

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