We’ve all been there before: When you’re on vacation, it’s particularly easy to fall victim to one tourist pitfall or another, in particular when you’re under the influence of friendly local persuasion, often wrapped in the cloth of hospitality. But there are certain tricks and financial pitfalls that are easily avoided, as long as you can recognize them – today, we’ll show you 8 tourist pitfalls, and tell you how to get around them!
The temple pitfall.
The spiritual aura of ancient Indian fortresses and temples is incredibly impressive, in particular if you’ve come from the cultural sphere of the West. But unfortunately, this makes it easier to be taken in when a supposedly local guide hangs a flower wreath around your neck and asks you to follow them on a guided tour of the site’s culture and history. But be warned: sometimes at the end of these tours you’ll be asked for a donation, often with the suggestion that the deeper you reach into your pockets, the more honor you’ll bestow on friends and family!
Hop-off, not on.
Although it isn’t necessarily a malicious trick, it’s still an unnecessary expense: a great number of tour and Hop-on-Hop-off busses run along almost exactly the same routes as normal public transportation, but at ten times the price. And there’s no better way to mix in with the local crowd – your best bet is to ask your hotel concierge or a local resident which lines run along the best routes. You’ll get a great first impression of the city, and you can’t beat the price!
Always visit a good currency exchange
If you’ll need to exchange your money to a foreign currency, it’s better to find out well in advance how much cash you’ll need to cover your spending, and which currency exchanges have the cheapest fees. At some currency exchanges, you’ll end up getting up to 13% less for your money. In this regard, it’s best to steer clear of currency exchanges at popular tourist spots, as well as dubious-looking money changers on the street corner (like those you’ll find in southern Asia)!
Back to the future!
They’re certainly amusing, the people in pompous historical costumes who stand in front of popular landmarks in most large cities. But you’ll soon discover that there’s a fine line between amusement and pestering, as an irritating man in a Mozart wig chases after you in front of the Vienna State Opera trying to sell you overpriced tickets, or when a Roman legionnaire pesters you for a half-hearted selfie in front of the Colosseum.
I know a guy.
The entirety of Asia bustles with crazy street traffic, taxis, rickshaws, tuk-tuks and other means of transport with strange names, which ultimately make up an essential part of the chaotic traffic. But sometimes, you’ll find yourself deviating from the planned route, as your driver recommends the restaurant of a friend or an uncle’s hotel. The problem here is that you’re often expected to pay a commission for this “service,” on top of the already over-inflated prices, so whatever you do, don’t deviate from the destination you’ve requested!
And speaking of taxis…
If you’re new to a city, it can be difficult to tell if your taxi driver is driving a less direct route just to inflate the price. For this reason, it’s better to err on the side of caution and agree on a fixed and fair price with the driver before you’re on your way. The staff at your hotel can usually give you a good idea of what a fair price might be. If the taxi driver tries to turn on the meter, alarm bells should start going off!
Hey, you, are you in town for a visit?
In some metropolises in Asia, but also in western cities such as London and Budapest, you should react with the utmost skepticism if a hyper-friendly stranger strikes up a conversation on the street. At the very latest, it’s time to remove yourself from the situation if you’re invited for a drink. It sometimes happens that at the end of the evening, you’re presented with an enormous bar tab for drinks you didn’t order, and you’re forced to pay the entire bill.
Last but not least, a tip for your travel preparation! To try to save money, many travellers book their flight and hotel through the same provider. Even so, it’s worthwhile taking a look around at alternatives. It’s often the case that it’s much cheaper to book just your hotel through the provider and book your flight separately – travel companies often profit from especially cheap purchase prices for hotel bookings!