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News, Interviews and recommendations from High Spirit Bags.

 

Filtering by Tag: top 10 travel tips

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.

 

Top 10 Tips for Travelling as a Vegan/Vegetarian

Josh okungbaiye

(1) Learn Useful Phrases

This tip is very important when you are travelling to countries where English is not the national language. You will have to learn some phrases such as ‘I do not eat meat, fish or cheese.’ 

Saying that you are vegan or vegetarian in the local language is not enough. In some cultures veganism and vegetarianism is still a new concept, so you will have to be extremely clear on your dietary requirements. Keep in mind that in some cultures, refusing to eat someone’s food can be seen as offensive. When requesting a vegan or vegetarian meal in the local language please be apologetic and polite and they will be happy to help you.

explore the city

(2) Find Local Vegans

Before travelling to your destination, do your research on the Vegan and Vegetarian community in the country or city you are visiting. See if there are any events happening where you can meet other vegans that can further help you enjoy the local cuisine in the vegan/vegetarian way.

(3) Pack Your Emergency Food Stash

While you are out exploring, vegan and vegetarian snack options will not always be readily available. In response to this, we would suggest for you to carry around granola, dried fruits, or energy bars. So when you randomly get hungry you can quickly grab one of your snacks. In addition, always ensure you pack up a larger stash of vegan/vegetarian snacks in your luggage as back up.

Bonus Tip -

Pack a snack or two for the flight. Don’t rely on plane food, as they most likely will not have vegetarian or vegan options in their menu.

(4) Research Vegan Restaurants at Your Destination

Look up the vegetarian restaurants and cafés in your destination. There are apps/websites such as Happy Cow or Vegan Passport. These apps/websites give you a full comprehensive list of vegan restaurants in your destination.  In addition, the online platforms also have honest reviews, so this will give you a clearer idea of which restaurants to visit during your trip.

travel the world

(5) Check Vegan/Vegetarian Options with Hotel

When booking accommodation remember to check to see if they provide any vegan/vegetarian options in their menu.

(6) Book Accommodation with a Kitchen

If you want to have more control over your vegan/vegetarian options. You can book apartments or hotels with kitchens. You can book this type of accommodation through AirBnB.

This will give you the opportunity to shop for your favourite ingredients and it will enable you to have more control over what you are eating. You can also pack some food for when you are going out.

Bonus Tip:- If you are going to be cooking often during your trip, you may want to book accommodation near a supermarket.

vegan food

(7) Book a Vegan Friendly Hotel

Alternatively you can find vegan friendly accommodation if you want the full vegan/experience. In the hotel it is very likely that the guests will also be vegan so you will have a greater chance of meeting new people that will share advice, recommendations and tips during your trip.

(8) Be Clear and Ask for what you want

When you visit a restaurant. Please be aware that you do not have to order what is on the menu. The chef can create a vegan/vegetarian dish for you according to your request.  Please ensure that you are nice, respectful and polite and they will be happy to help you out.

vegan snack

(9) Eat Little Amounts Throughout the Day

Get used to eating small amounts throughout the day. Fruits, nuts, vegetables always take food with you. This will keep the hunger away and keep you satisfied.

(10) Get Involved In the Culture

Before booking your trip ensure that you research the all the national local vegan/vegetrarian dishes and make sure you try them all. See it as one big adventure and remember to fully enjoy the moment.

travel fun travel girl

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.