After a pretty awful summer so far it’s no surprise that most people have been trawling the internet and hitting the travel agents to book a break to a destination where the sun actually remembers to shine. And in these frugal times such people have no doubt worked hard to make sure they get the best deal and the most for their money. However, any savings you make on your summer holiday could be quickly counteracted should you fall victim to one of the many scams, tricks and frauds awaiting tourists abroad. Here are four of the most popular to watch out for.
1. Fake taxi drivers
After a long fight, once you arrive at your destination you’re bound to be eager to get to your hotel and start your holiday. The temptation is to take the first taxi that you see and pay the asking price without question, but doing so could end up losing you money. Fake taxi drivers operate in every location and tired, unsuspecting tourists are their favourite prey. As such they hang around airports waiting for holidaymakers who are clearly in need of a ride. Most won’t have meters so will be able to quote any price they want on arrival at the hotel. Those that do have meters will have them rigged or will deliberately take the ‘scenic’ route.
Do your research before you leave home. Find out how much you should pay from the airport to your hotel and agree a price before you get in.
2. Bogus holiday clubs
In almost any holiday destination you’re sure to come across holiday club reps. These reps know that holiday makers, surrounded by the soft white sandy beaches, constant sunshine and holiday spirit, will be tempted to return. They also know everyone loves a bargain. So they’ll tell you about a fantastic deal they can offer you. A deal that will mean you can come back to this glorious place every year and, best of all, pay peanuts. What’s more, you can come and hear all about this fantastic deal at a really casual, laid back event where you’ll be given free food and, most importantly, alcohol. And so it becomes that thousands of people every year end up, slightly drunkenly, joining poor-value holiday clubs – completely unaware of the compulsory extras such as flights and transfers – with no way out.
3. The gold ring
The gold ring scam is particularly common in Paris. While walking through the city you’ll hear a ‘clink’ on the floor and a poor-looking passerby will stop you, holding a gold ring, asking if you’ve just dropped it. You’ll say no, naturally. So the passerby will offer to sell it to you for the very reasonable sum of £20. The seemingly poor passer-by would have more use for the money than the ring. The ring, of course, will not be gold and those who have fell for the trick will end up out of pocket.
4. The helpful local
Who doesn’t want to know the best places to go when in a city they’ve not visited before? The ‘helpful local’ preys on this. He’ll offer to show you the best tourist attractions and bars. After enjoying a few drinks you’ll ask for the bill only to find it’s extortionately high and – given the look on the bouncers’ faces – you’ve very little option but to pay it.