When visiting a country you want to take in the culture, the food and the entertainment to create positive memories. Sometimes your positive experience can be tainted by tourist traps. Tourist traps are establishments or businesses solely for tourists where they overcharge you for things such as food, entertainment, souvenirs etc. They divert you away from cheaper, and more positive alternatives. Tourist traps are aware that you are a tourist and they are also aware that there is a high chance that you will not return. So they are simply after your money and care very little about giving you a positive customer experience. Tourist Traps are to be avoided, especially if you are travelling on a limited budget, but want to have the full experience of the country you are visiting. We know that some of you will be thinking of your travel plans for spring and summer so we wanted to help with your planning process. Tourist traps are everywhere, so to help you guys out we wrote 10 easy tips and tricks to avoid tourist traps. Here you go. Enjoy :-)
1. Avoid High Season
If you want to visit a tourist destination, avoid high season. Usually this helps to avoid the dense crowds and also enables you to avoid long queues.
2. Use Public Transport
Figure out the metro or train systems. They are a lot cheaper for getting around. In highly populated tourist areas, taxis may overcharge for a short taxi ride, so if you want to avoid that, take a train, or bus to your destination. This will enable you to get a better insight into how the city works and will enhance your experience of the city. Also, if you are travelling with your high spirit bag, the antitheft zips against your back will take away an anxiety about keeping your stuff safe while you explore the city safely. As an added bonus, you will not need to worry about being caught off guard by pickpockets.
3. Travel with Hand Luggage
Travel with hand luggage if you can. One thing to be aware of is that some taxis will charge extra for putting bigger luggage into the boot of their car. This is important to be aware of, especially if you will be getting a taxi ride from the airport to your hotel. When negotiating the taxi fare make sure there is an agreement on the fee before you get into the taxi. This takes away any possibility of unexpected fee charges. Also, before you arrive at your destination, find out the average price for a taxi ride from the airport to your hotel or the city centre. This is so you have that base figure in mind when negotiating the price with the taxi driver.
4. Avoid Restaurants near Tourist Attractions
Avoid going to restaurants near tourist attractions, as these places will cost a lot of money. Also avoid the restaurants and bars that explicitly state that they cater to tourists. It is more than likely that they will overcharge and the service and quality will not be great. You can usually find quality restaurants on the side streets that are densely populated with tourists.
5. Understand the Menu
Be aware of the menu costs. If you are not sure of how the costing works, it is best to avoid the restaurant all together. Some restaurants will overcharge on their service charge or charge by the weight of food or portion size rather than by a standard portion. Save yourself the extra stress.
6. Plan, Plan, Plan
Plan before you leave for your destination. Get an understanding of how things are organised there. For example, are you required to tip? Are there any tollgates fees that you have to pay for in order to gain access to the city with your car? Etc. Remember that in some places you get free transport with your hotel, or a discount on travel tours. In addition, with your hotel you may also get a discount on restaurants, bars and entertainment. So take advantage of these when you can.
7. Book Tickets in Advance
If there are any sites, museums or attractions you want to see that may require a ticket. It is best to book the tickets in advance, as it will be a lot cheaper and you will also avoid the long queues.
8. Ask the Locals for Recommendations
Get recommendations from taxi drivers, security guards, doormen and the locals. The locals have a very good experience of their city so they will recommend their favourite places that will not be tourist traps. Just remember to be nice and friendly and they will steer you in the right direction.
9. Ignore Hawkers and Touts.
They will waste your time and lead you to places where it will cause you to waste your time, overspend and get a below standard experience. Always check beforehand to make sure you are getting the best deal.
10. Understand the Local Currency
It is important to understand the local currency. Get familiar with the different coins, notes and their value. This is especially important if you are visiting a country where the conversion values are so vastly different. For example a meal in Bangkok, Thailand costs on average 800 Thai baht, but in dollars it is equivalent to about $25 dollars. The reason it is important to understand the currency is because sometimes some stores, restaurants, or bars will accidentally or even purposely give you the wrong change, which can you cause you to run out of your money faster than you expected. This very useful especially if you will be spending with cash during your trip. This seems so obvious, but it is often neglected and causes people to unknowingly lose money very quickly on their trip.