Beware of backpacking scams

As travellers do tend to spend a lot and carry more cash on them, some may tend to take advantage of that in unethical practices or even illegal ways. Here are some ways to avoid shelling out more money than you should.

Beware of “special” pricesJust because you’re a tourist doesn’t mean you should have to pay more for the same service that every other local gets. For instance, some taxi drivers do take advantage of tourists by charging more. You can avoid this from happening by learning how to get around using the local transportation system, while avoiding taxis as much as possible.

Rouge traders
Not far from traders who overcharge are those who shortchange their customers. Beware of vendors who create distractions or count too slowly so that you become impatient and hurriedly leave the store without counting your change. Also, when using ticket machines at rail stations, pay the exact amount, as some are not designed to give back change.

Keep an eye on your cards
When using a credit or debit card, keep an eye on your card and the person handling it. Remember that one swipe should be all it takes; two might mean you paid twice for one bill. Also, look around for inexpensive places to buy food and other necessities. A place that is promoted to be for tourists has much higher prices than the next food establishment that offers a similar menu.

Watch out for pickpockets
When a stranger warns you to watch out for pickpockets and such, avoid reaching for your wallet to check if it’s still there. There have been incidents where those who warn tourists about thieves are the thieves themselves: they count on the potential victim’s instinctive reaction to locate the target – their wallets.

Don’t flash your cash
To avoid losing much and ruining your vacation, it’s best to avoid attracting a scammer’s attention. Keep within reach only an amount of money that you’ll be using for food and transportation, so that you can avoid flaunting your wads of cash to potential muggers. Avoid wearing jewellery, and be in the company of friends or fellow travellers as much as possible. Also, be sure to make eye contact when a stranger is in close proximity or gets in your way, as a way of saying that you will remember them in case they try something awful.

Research your destination
Being well informed about your destination before leaving home proves useful. Know where to get the best deals, the parts of town to stay away from, and the usual price range for the things you’ll need to purchase during your trip.

Backpacker travel insurance
You can purchase great value backpacker travel insurance direct at 24/7 travel insurance. A 2-month trip to Australia, will cost you just £18.93* – a small price to pay to really enjoy your backpacking adventure all the more!

*Premium £18.93 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an individual aged under 35 taking out a Standard Backpacker 24/7 travel insurance policy for 2 months in Australia. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (October 2009) and are subject to change.