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News, Interviews and recommendations from High Spirit Bags.

 

Filtering by Tag: advice for travel

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.

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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.

 

Top 5 Must-Reads On Holiday

Josh okungbaiye

Holiday’s are the perfect time to get your literature knowledge growing, weather it’s airport waiting, beach chilling or mountain escaping, here are the top 5 must reads which I think very necessary.

 

1.     Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

 

The 80s were a time of radical changes, especially when it came to love between two men. This carefree yet passionate story defies the idea of a forbidden love in a time where this was not yet considered the norm. Taking advantage of every moment spent together, readers are encouraged to do the same with their travel days

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2.     Just Kids by Patti Smith

 

A beautiful memoir written by singer/songwriter Patti Smith, beautifully documenting the passionate, complicated relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Set in a 60s New York, a time of rebellion, this intimate story injects you with a sense of creative fascination with the surrounding world, especially with those living in a city as magical as New York.

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3.     A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

 

This truly inspirational story successfully places you into the complicated lives women lead in Afghanistan. While educating you on their country and behaviours, this book has a way of enhancing your outlook your surroundings and the beauty of life itself.

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4. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

 

The urge to travel is very present through this novel and thus inspires the reader to delve further into their travels themselves. The combination of unplanned events, unexpected lovers and in detail descriptions, allows for this novel to be a definite influential must read.

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5. On The Road by Jack Kerouac

 

As if travelling through the eyes of the narrator himself, Jack Kerouac transports you into the unexpected, exciting world of hitch hiking, encountering jazz, poetry and drugs along the way. His series of documented trips will no doubt increase your thirst for exploring the world.

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And there you have it, read carefully, responsibly and remember not to delve yourself too deep into the story or you might find yourself missing that holiday flight!

 

Written by Nicole Fernandez Medina

10 Easy Tips and Tricks to Avoid Tourist Traps

Josh okungbaiye

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 :-)

10 easy tips and tricks to avoid tourist traps

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.