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News, Interviews and recommendations from High Spirit Bags.

 

Filtering by Tag: advice

10 Travel Scams to Avoid

Josh okungbaiye

Although travelling can be an exciting time, there are always some who take advantage of our vulnerability when on holiday. Here are a few scams to look out for.

vienna travel

 

1.     Taxi overcharge

 

This is considered one of the most common travel scams out there. Either the driver will tell you there is no meter or that it’s broken and attempt to charge you a huge rate. in order to avoid this scam, you must know how much the ride should be. This can be found out by asking the accommodation you are staying at. Furthermore, never get inside an unlicensed cab as they tend to attempt to negotiate the rate at high prices.

 

2. Games

 

If you see people on the streets playing games including cards or hiding a ball under a cap, do NOT attempt to play as you will never win. Those people are professional scammers who will always attempt to take your money at any opportunity.

 

3. Free Bracelets

 

Most common in Europe, this scam involves a friendly person approaching you for a chat then wrapping a bracelet around your wrist. They will claim that it’s free and sometimes even let you off to do your thing before reproaching you to attempt to charge you for it. Keep insisting you are not interested, don’t let them even place the bracelet on you, its a trap.

 

4. Closed Accommodation

 

Although it may seem silly to fall for such a scam, when travelling to a new country you are often more guidable than not. This scam involves cab drivers insisting the accommodation you have booked is no longer open and instead they will take you to another place for the right price. Don’t believe a word they say and keep insisting on your destination.

 

5. The Fake Petition

 

Usually, while visiting a tourist attraction, you will come across a woman and a child pretending to be a student, asking you to sign a petition. They will not tell you what its for, and if they do they will make up some donation excuse and request money. In order to avoid this scam, the best thing to do is avoid them or insist you have no money to give, they will give up and move on to someone else.

 

6. Flirtatious Male or Female

 

Many times, especially if you are a male, you will be approached by an overly flirtatious woman or man looking for you to spend you money on her or take you out. There have instances where men and women have fallen or this scam; the woman or man disappears and you are left with a couple bucks in your pocket.

 

7. Spill On Your Clothes

 

Although accidents are common, when a ransomer spills something on you, more often than not you need to be on your guard. This scam involves pickpocketing when you are least paying attention to your surroundings.

 

8. Found Ring

 

Someone will approach you on the street asking if you dropped a ring. They will then later point out that it’s real gold and attempt to sell it to you for a “good” price. Although easy to fall for,

don’t. It’s too good to be true!

 

9. Wrong Change

 

When travelling to countries with different currencies, some people may take advantage of tourists who are unaware of the correct amount go change they are due as they trust those handing them the money. To avoid being scammed, count your change carefully every time you make a purchase.

 

10. Unofficial Tour Guides

 

There will often be random people nearby your accommodation or touristic attractions who will claim to be official tour guides. Although easily mistaken for, you need to have specific training and licenses to be able to give official tours. Unfortunately, there are some people willing to create false identities in order to convince you of their authenticity and take your money. Make sure to ask your accommodation staff where you can find official tour guides for your destination.

 

How to Avoid Pickpockets in Spain

Josh okungbaiye

Although Madrid and Barcelona are both wonderful, touristic cities to visit, they are both listed within the 10 worst cities for pickpocketing. Here are a few tips to follow in order to avoid pickpockets ruining your holiday full of fun and sun in Spain.

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1) One popular scam in Spain is pickpockets masquerading as undercover policemen. They are known to approach you on the street and ask for your wallet. One thing you must keep in mind is policemen are unlikely to approach you unless your behaviour seems suspicious; and even so they certainly are wouldn’t ask to go through your wallet without showing you a police badge of his own.


2) Avoid ‘tourists’. If a random person comes up to you asking for directions, you are most likely going to try and help them out. As nice as this seems, you must be aware that the ‘tourist’ might have an accomplice using the distraction to pickpocket you.


3) Don’t get caught in a people sandwich. If you find yourself sandwiched between two people on the street, an escalator, or public transport, be aware that while the person in front may be blocking your way, the person behind you picks your pocket or backpack. In order to avoid theft, always wear your backpack in front of you and avoid keeping valuables in your pockets.


4) Don’t fall for the fake petition trick. Pickpockets will often approach people on the streets with a fake petition to sign. Whether you choose to sign it or not, they will ask you to donate to a ‘charity’ as a way of extorting money. Moreover, while the person holding the petition sign distracts you, pickpocket is focused on stealing your belongings. Therefore, it’s best to avoid strangers approaching you on the streets and asking for donations; don’t be fooled into thinking the money goes to a good cause.


5) Lastly, as fun as they may seem, avoid impromptu roadside games. While strolling down the street, you may come across a few people playing a card game on the footpath. No matter how enticing it is, refuse their invitation to join the game. One, they will cheat to make sure you will lose your money. Two, while you are busy playing the game, pickpockets may be enticed to steal your belongings.

The Ultimate Guide To Prevent Pickpocketing

Josh okungbaiye

Travel is a beautiful thing and exploring other countries is a wonderful way to open our eyes and learn about the World in a fun and exciting way. In addition to enjoying the sights and immersing yourself in culture it is really important to make sure your stuff stays safe from pickpockets. Pickpocketing is a major petty crime that affects people across the world, particularly tourists. Pickpockets ruin people’s holidays so to help out we put together an Ultimate Guide on how to protect yourself from pickpockets. All the tips are below. Happy Travelling. Enjoy!

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(1) Stay vigilant in crowds and stay away from commotions

Whenever there is any type of commotion or a sudden surge of crowds, BE ALERT as it is the perfect situation for pickpockets to create a distraction for their target. It can happen very quickly, so make sure you keep an eye on your belongings.

(2) Spread your valuables instead of keeping them in once place

Put your money, valuables and important documents in different compartments and pockets. This is so it decreases the chance of all your valuables being taken away at once.

(3) Watch your bags and luggage on trains

Keep a close eye and hold onto your bags and luggage on the train/bus. Also check they are not accessible through open windows or train/bus doors because thieves will reach through and grab items as quickly as they can.

(4) Avoid rummaging through your wallet or counting money in public

This is important, so you don’t make yourself more visible to be targeted by pickpockets. If you feel you need to count your money and sort out stuff in your wallet or bag, make sure to do it in the safety of your hotel room.

(5) Keep purses/backpacks strapped tightly to your body

Tighten the straps of your bag to your shoulders or arms, this will ensure extra safety with your possessions as it will be easier to detect any tampering and it will be harder for thieves to snatch your bag away.

(6) Secure your bag to an immovable object 

When you are at a restaurant or cafe, loop your bag’s strap around the leg of your chair, the leg of your table or your leg. This ensures that thieves can’t come by and quickly snatch your bag. 

(7) Keep your phone off the table

Smartphones and tablets are very popular for pickpockets to steal. Many people leave their devices on the table while they’re socialising and eating, which makes it easy for a thief to snatch it and run away.

(8) Limit what you carry

When sightseeing you do not have to carry a lot of stuff. It is advised to not carry a lot of cash or valuables on you at any given time during your vacation. It will be much safer leaving it in your hotel room.

(9) If you have a heavy coat you are at more risk

BE AWARE because it will be a lot easier for a thief to insert his or her hand in your pocket without you feeling anything. In order to increase protection of your stuff, make sure you put your things inside hidden pockets and compartments. This is very useful for tourists that will be travelling to colder destinations.

(10) Put both hands in your pockets when in highly crowded areas

Keep your hands covering critical pockets such as your front pockets when in crowds to prevent external access to your contents such as wallets, cash or ID.

(11) Don't carry your wallet or smartphone in your back pocket

By putting your wallet or smartphone in your back pocket, it leaves you open to be an easy target for pickpockets. Keep these high valued items concealed and out of sight completely.

(12) Be wary of any strangers approaching you

Ignore beggars and random individuals that approach you. It is more than likely they know you are a tourist and their approach will create a smokescreen leaving you vulnerable to being a victim. Please be aware that pickpockets can sometimes work in twos or threes against a target. So if you are approached, please ignore them and keep going.

(13) Leave your passport at the hotel

Your passport is the single most important document you will carry on your vacation, so if you don’t need to carry it everywhere with you, just leave it in your hotel room.

Just for extra pre-caution, you can create photocopies of your passport and keep them in various bags and pockets.

(14) Keep your hands in your pockets when walking through large crowds.

Putting your hands in your pockets when you are walking through large crowds creates a blockage to prevent any pickpockets from slipping their hands into your pockets to take your small valuable items.

(15) Do not speak with anyone while using the ATM/Cash machine

While withdrawing cash do not accept anyone's help in making a withdrawal. Whilst typing in your PIN number cover the keypad with your free hand so the PIN cannot be viewed. Also, watch out for an extra card reader at the front of the machine or where you swipe your card. These card readers are called skimmers and can capture the information from your credit card if you swipe or insert it. In order to ensure safety, go to a bank and withdraw cash from the check-in section or get assistance from the bank employee.

 

(16) Carry your theft-proof bag

Pickpockets like to target people that clearly look and dress like tourists. One of the telltale signs that make a tourist a target is when they wear their backpack on their front. That lets pickpockets know that you are a tourist and you are unfamiliar with your current environment. In order to avoid this, you should get a theft-proof bag that has hidden anti-theft zips that enables you to wear your backpack on your back without worrying about being a victim of pickpocketing. The bags are also made of strong sturdy material that prevents slashing. Here is the link http://www.highspiritbags.com/shop

(17) Final Tip

Most people assume pickpockets are dodgy looking men, but a large number of pickpockets are actually young girls and boys — usually around 10-18 years old. Most tourists don’t suspect that a young child would steal from them, so they’re less defensive around them. Sometimes, pickpockets are well dressed and you’d never expect them to be thieves. So as you are enjoying your holiday, just try to stay vigilant and aware and you will be totally fine.