Tourist Scams to Look Out for in Europe

As all keen travellers know, it just makes sense to keep both eyes open, but it’s not always easy to see tourist scams before they’ve already happened! Here’s a few of the trickier ones to watch out for and how to handle them…

Friendship Bracelet

You might be approached by someone in the street offering you a friendship bracelet. Once they’ve gotten your attention, they’ll try and tie it around your wrist and ask for payment. Sometimes this is also used a distraction for pickpockets, so the best thing to do is just politely smile and walk away without a word.

 

Where: Paris, Rome & Barcelona

The Rose

Men tend to be the target for this one: someone might approach you and your partner in the street and offer them a rose. You’ll then be asked to pay a crazily high price, or be ridiculed for being a bad boyfriend if you don’t buy one. Might be best to swallow your pride and just walk off, guys!

Where: Paris, Rome & Barcelona

Street Games

If you’ve ever stopped and stared at street performers, keep an eye out for this one! Someone will perform a magic trick, with a group of pickpocket pals disguised as tourists watching the show. Whilst you’re distracted by the trick, yep, you guessed it – they’ll try and pilfer what they can! We’re afraid that the only way to prevent this is by donning an exquisite fanny pack…

Where: Paris & London

The Photographer

Don’t you just hate when you need to take a group photo and there’s no-one around to take it? Well, if an oh-so-helpful local offers to take your picture, watch out! What might seem like a nice gesture could actually be a ploy to ask for payment for their photography “services”. If you are caught out, it might be best to just hand over a small amount of money if you’d rather not lose your camera!

Where: Europe-wide

The Expensive Taxi Driver

As with most places, local taxi drivers that aren’t licensed with a reputable taxi company might latch onto your lack of knowledge about the area, and overcharge you using a dodgy meter. The only way to avoid this really, is to find out before you travel which companies operate legally and are reputable in the area.

Where: Worldwide

Cashier on the Phone

This one can also be applied to restaurants, but more often, it’s shop cashiers that might pretend to play on their phone whilst serving you. In actual fact, they’re taking a picture of your credit or debit card so they can easily duplicate it later on. It’s probably best to just be on your guard when it comes to your cards and make sure they’re not taken out of your sight.

Where: Barcelona

The Fake Ticket

You won’t have this issue if you book with us, but if you don’t happen to be off on a Euroventure, taking heed and save yourself money! Sometimes you just can’t be bothered queuing for an age to buy a train ticket, and luckily “ticket vendors” will walk come and relieve the queues by allowing you to buy your ticket there and then. Watch out! These ticket sellers aren’t always official staff members, and will charge you extortionate prices for the same ticket, which might not even be valid.

Where: Paris & London

Street Exchange

This is an oldie but a goodie – NEVER use street vendors to exchange your cash. Sure, there’s no danger in using them (except for your wallet), but wouldn’t you rather use the money you’d save on a blowout meal in Rome? Yep, so would we! Make sure you head to a recommended cash exchange and check the rates before you go to ensure you’re getting a competitive deal.

Where: Worldwide

Words by Karis Gumbs

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