travelprecheck.org blog: How to Avoid These Common Tourist Traps: Advice From TravelPrecheck.org

The excitement of being in a foreign country, or even another state, can sometimes cloud your judgment and lead you to fall into traps. Major tourist areas have become accustomed to having large numbers of tourists and have adapted. They not only have changed their sales methods in order to lure unsuspecting tourists, but they have also raised their prices. A well-known tourist destination will have large areas where tourists migrate and get taken advantage of. The experts at TravelPrecheck.org want you to enjoy your trip and not get duped and to that end has provided some tips on how to avoid common tourist traps.

  • Hawkers

When you see someone outside of a restaurant begging customers to come in by having a server outside with a menu, know that this is a common tourist trap in all parts of the world, from Miami Beach to Paris. If there are strips of restaurants with hawkers outside that usually signifies that it is a heavy tourist area full of other tourist traps. TravelPrecheck.org also advises travelers to look at the menus, anything that has been overly translated and is extensive is not a restaurant locals would go to and neither should you.

  • Lines

Long lines of other tourists can signal a tourist trap while long lines of locals symbolize a good restaurant. No lines can be a good sign as well because it means this isn’t a common tourist attraction. When you see a line for a local restaurant, don’t jump right in line but instead do some research or find a better time to come back.

  • Street Vendors

Travelers will run into street vendors in every city they go to, especially in places like New York, in the United States. Be careful when purchasing items from street vendors because some of the items they are selling are knock offs or have an upcharge. Check the quality of the product and ask the vendor questions. Always use your best judgement when approaching a street vendor. If they seem shady, they probably are.

  • Money Exchange and Tipping

TravelPrecheck.org advises travelers to exchange some bills before arriving because the dollar has more weight in other countries and you don’t want to pay more than what you have to. This only applies to foreign travel and not domestic. Be careful when tipping, because unlike the U.S, a tip isn’t always necessary in other countries. Ask your travel agent, or do some research on tipping and exchange rates before leaving.

The best way to avoid tourist traps is to talk to the locals. They can guide you to places off the beaten path and inform you of scams to watch out for. TravelPrecheck.org advises travelers to hang out at a local coffee shop and make conversation. Locals are always happy to offer advice and will know where to go and how to save money. Also, don’t be scared to explore a little by walking around or buying an all-day metro pass to explore a locale via mass transit. Do not walk too far away from your central location, however, as you could end up in a dangerous part of town for tourists to be in. Though, as you explore quaint neighborhoods, don’t be afraid to ask friendly locals about the area you are exploring.