Image: ‘Tightened 100 dollar roll.’
Found on flickrcc.net
It’s just a fact of traveling that foreigners are often expected to pay more than the locals, but getting ripped off is enough to ruin any vacation. Here are my best tips to avoid being overcharged:
In many countries, bargaining is expected. I have learned to ask for discounts on just about everything. You can just about always get the price of a hotel lowered, and most people on Airbnb will also give you a discount if you just ask. Learn the phrase, “What is the lowest price you can take?” in the language of the country that you are visiting, and you can save a bundle.
2. Avoid Commission Shops
Drivers in many countries, especially Asia, will get paid a commission for taking you to certain shops. Often the quality of the items in the shops isn’t as good, and the prices are marked up to pay the driver. If you see something you really like at one of these shops, know that you can always go back without your driver and get about 30% off the price because they aren’t having to pay the driver the hefty commission fee.
3. Carry Small Bills
Many times taxi drivers will insist that they have no change to give you, and you will wind up paying more than you need to for your taxi ride. Also, vendors will often give you incorrect change, hoping you won’t notice. Dealing with a different currency in other countries can often be confusing. It’s more manageable if you carry small bills to begin with. I also like to carry a calculator that I can use if I need to in places where the currency is hard to keep track of.
4. Be Careful Of Fake Parking Lot Attendants
This is especially known to happen in the US. Fake parking lot attendants will take your money and give you a receipt for parking. Then you come back with a ticket on your car because you didn’t pay the self-service box. Always look for signs to see if a parking lot is self-service or for a sign that says there is no attendant on duty. If you see signs which say something like this, chances are, you are getting ripped off.
5. Make Sure That Your Taxi Uses The Meter
This is one of the easiest ways to get ripped off. A taxi driver will say his meter is broken or just not use it at all, and then charge you a highly inflated price once you get to your destination. Make sure you can see the meter, too. I once had a driver tell me he would use the meter, only to find out there was no meter at all, once I arrived at my destination. Don’t just take their word. Make sure you see it, and if there is no meter, agree on an amount before you set off.
Have you ever been ripped off while traveling? Share your story in the comments below!