And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

You might be well-travelled, but you can still be scammed!
How I got scammed in Berlin!

Wow!

I’m back!

It’s still the summer, and The British Berliner was doing what she does best.

Travelling!

And writing about it!

Summer Loving & my travel plans for the rest of the year!

If you recall, I went on a media trip to Explore Hansa – a partner project consisting of nine (9) small and enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia!

My job was to eat all day!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Nah!

Explore your taste buds & create an inspiring gastronomical experience on the HANSA Culinary Trip!

Seriously, I went on a culinary trip that passed through Viljandi (Estonia) – Valmiera (Latvia) – Cēsis (Latvia) – Koknese (Latvia) and Visby (Sweden), to explore one’s taste buds of seasonal local produce and create an inspiring gastronomical experience.

It was a lot of fun.

And I’ll be writing about it all by the end of the month!

Aha!

So back to the important stuff of the moment.

My last post was about the disturbing moment when I got scammed for the first time.

In my own lovely city of Berlin!

How I got scammed in Berlin!

I told you that I used to live the iconic Berlin artistic lifestyle.

Think David Bowie!

Think Iggy Pop!

Because I lived in arty, grungy, student, alternative Kreuzberg in West Berlin.

Love conquers all. We had controlled rent, but we didn’t have a bathroom in Berlin!

My boyfriend and I lived in a huge rent-controlled apartment near the river.

It didn’t have a bathroom.

It didn’t have any heating.

Hauling up steel-buckets of coal every week in Berlin, wasn’t as romantic as this!
Hauling up steel-buckets of coal in Berlin, was more like this!

And I had to haul up steel-buckets of coal every week!

It was worth it though ‘cos we were living in a 19th century building, and my share of the rent in those days, was a mere €17.00 per week!

It took me just six (6) weeks to get a well-paid teaching job, and six (6) months later, I was the Head of not one Corporate Language School, but two (2)!

One day, I went to the bank to pick up some money for a summer-BBQ party that I was organising for all our schools in Berlin at the time, and on that day, I got scammed!

What an idiot and an utter fool I was!

BUT WAS THAT THE LAST TIME I GOT SCAMMED?

When you travel as much as I do, scams happen from time to time!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Not really!

When you travel as much as I do, scams and weird situations are bound to happen from time to time.

But certainly, I was never so foolish ever again.

And when I did get scammed, it was no fault of my own.

And in many cases, I caught the scammers.

Just in time!

But before we go any further, let me reiterate:

I am an affiliate partner of booking.com. In fact, if you use any of my hotel / apartment links, you’ll see the verified partner symbol of the British Berliner logo, along with each affiliated link. 

This means that every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at absolutely no extra cost to yourself!

Thanks a million!

Right.

Here are some more scams!

7 OTHER TRAVEL SCAMS TO AVOID!

Aaah! And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Ha! Ha!

The following scams are tricks that anybody could have fallen for:

1.  THE BANGKOK TUK-TUK SCAM:

My tuk-tuk driver took me to a go-go bar in Bangkok!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

I’ve been to Bangkok many times, but the first time I visited was an eye-opener!

I ordered a tuk-tuk to take me to a dinner and dance show in Bangkok.

Thankfully, I had been there earlier to buy my ticket, and knew what the place looked like.

The tuk-tuk driver didn’t take me to my nice classy dinner.

Oh dear me no.

He took me to a go-go bar!

My suspicions were aroused when the venue looked pretty dark.

There was an iron-clad door with a man selling “tickets” at a table.

And nearby were a few drunk Thai guys who were getting quite upset!

There was an iron-clad door with a man selling tickets at a table in Bangkok!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

The man at the door wanted me to buy a ticket.

I was confused ‘cos I had already bought a ticket, and paid a hefty price for it too.

I insisted that they allow me to take a peek through the iron doors.

I did.

I saw that the only woman who had any clothes on was me!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!
The only woman who had any clothes on was me. Eek!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

And saw that the only woman who had any clothes on was me.

I legged it out of there!

The tuk-tuk driver wanted his “fee.”

I refused to pay him.

I ran to the main road, hopped into a taxi, who then took me to the real tourist-friendly dinner and dance!

Read more tuk-tuk stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE BANGKOK TUK-TUK:

  • Make sure YOU know, or have a rough idea, where you’re going
  • Confirm the fare, before you hop in
  • Have the exact change
  • Don’t pay the tuk-tuk driver until you have confirmed that the destination is in fact, the place you want to go to.
  • Take a taxi. With the meter on!

2.  THE HOTEL BOOKING SCAM:

Use my link to book a hotel!

You take a taxi.

You do a little chit-chat with the driver.

He then tells you that your hotel is closed, over-booked, or burnt to the ground!

However, he can help you.

He’ll take you to another hotel.

It’ll be significantly more expensive, of far lower quality, and in the wrong part of town.

You check your original hotel the next day, and your hotel is perfectly fine.

As is your hotel reservation.

Meanwhile, your driver gets a hefty commission from the hotel, and a generous tip from you!

Now, you wouldn’t usually fall for such a crap story but you’re in a new country, you’re probably quite tired and confused. Could it be true?

Nope!

The Indian taxi driver tells you that your hotel is closed, over-booked, or burnt to the ground!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

I was nervous about my first solo visit to India.

Back in 2005.

So I did my research for a nice hotel and asked STA Travel to book it for me.

They did.

And I paid them the handsome price of €17.00 or $15.00 per night.

Complete with hotel voucher!

I double-checked with the Delhi hotel via telephone, fax, and Email.

All seemed to be well.

They even sent a car to collect me from the airport.

The hotel in Delhi sent a car to collect me from the airport, then claimed they had never heard of me!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

But when I got to the hotel, they told me that they had never heard of me!

Even though I had spoken to them on the telephone just a few hours prior.

They knew nothing about it!

However, if I went to the luxury hotel down the road…

Perhaps they might have a spare room…!

It was 2a.m.

I was scared to leave the hotel.

So I refused.

Two hours later, they “found” my room!

Two hours later, my hotel room in India suddenly appeared!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Read more hotel stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE HOTEL SCAM:

  • Use my booking.com link!
  • Pre-book a hotel for the first night
  • Call your hotel in advance, and make sure they’re open
  • If the hotel has an airport shuttle service, use it
  • Tell the driver that you already have a reservation (even if you don’t)
  • Make sure YOU know, or have a rough idea, where you’re going
  • Trust your own instinct, as opposed to a random stranger
  • Insist that they take you to the hotel that you have booked
  • Double-check that the rooms have all you were promised, before accepting it, ‘cos “hot water” doesn’t always mean hot water from a tap but hot water from a bucket!
  • Use Uber. Here’s my link!

3.  THE TAXI SCAM:

No matter how experienced you are, a taxi scam will happen to you, at least once!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

No matter how experienced you are, a taxi scam will happen to you, at least once!

And the drivers are good at cheating innocent tourists.

Very good.

You take a taxi.

You do a little chit-chat with the driver.

He asks you where you’re from, and if this is your first visit?

You’re excited to be at this new destination, and in your innocence, tell the driver more than you should.

He tells you that the meter is broken, and then charges you an exorbitant rate.

Or the taxi driver takes you the long way around.

Or worse, just goes around in a circle while they aim for the part of town notorious for traffic lights or traffic jams.

Yep! It’s a thing!

Myself in Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!

MY EXPERIENCE:

Too many to mention.

However, one taxi scam comes to mind.

In Prague!

I knew a Czech / American restaurant that served a four-course New Year’s Eve meal, and a bit of a dance.

I invited some girls to join me.

Then I went to the Opera!

The performance was fantastic, but I was running late and needed to get to my hostel as quickly as possible so that I could have a quick shower, and change into my glad-rags.

4 days in Prague – 40 things to do!

I took a taxi.

I knew my way around Prague but wasn’t really concentrating as I was anxious to get to my hostel.

And anyway, the Czech Republic is cheap.

But he didn’t take me there!

I was annoyed.

I was piss-off.

And I was scared.

We were beginning to leave the confines of  Prague.

And I was alone.

I asked the driver to take me to the nearest train station.

The cost – €64.00!

I was fuming as I was expecting to pay between €5.00 – €7.00!

I then took a train.

The cost – 12kc or €0.46 – 46 cents!

Yeah, I didn’t do that again!

I was scammed by a taxi in Prague. Yeah, I didn’t do that again!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Read more taxi stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE TAXI SCAM: 

  • Don’t try to be clever. Ask your hotel to send you a car
  • Get yourself a pre-paid taxi. And KEEP the receipt until you get to your destination
  • Let the driver see you taking a photograph of the taxi drivers’ documentation and car registration
  • Make sure YOU know, or have a rough idea, where you’re going
  • Confirm the fare, before you hop in
  • Have the exact change
  • Don’t pay the driver until you have confirmed that the destination is in fact, the place you want to go to.
  • Take a taxi. With the meter on!
  • Make sure the meter works!
  • If the taxi driver refuses, get out and take another taxi
  • Negotiate rates ahead of time and make sure that the taxi driver understands that the $50.00 you confirmed is per car. Not per person!
  • Do NOT allow the taxi driver to pick up random passengers, if you have booked the taxi for yourself and/or your party
  • Never get into an unlicensed taxi — no matter how amazing the deal is
  • Trust your own instinct, as opposed to a random stranger
  • If you feel threatened at any time, don’t argue, pay the driver, get out of the taxi in a safe place, then report him/her to the police
  • Use Uber. Here’s my link!

4.  THE RESTAURANT / BAR BILL SCAM

I’ve experienced the restaurant bar bill scam in both Slovakia AND the Czech Republic.
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

I don’t like Slovakia.

I don’t like Romania either!

But that’s neither here or there.

I’ve experienced the restaurant / bar bill scam numerous times in both Slovakia AND the Czech Republic.

Prices are so cheap that it’s easy for the staff to change the order around, add “extra” bits that the customer didn’t request, or just simply, serve the most expensive item on the menu, even though the customer ordered something completely different!

We went to Bratislava.

We had lunch in the Old Town.

At a restaurant called Venturska Kubovna.

A huge “Klubovňa” hamburger in the Old Town in Bratislava, Slovakia

The food was great.

The outdoor location was lovely.

The prices were fantastic.

But the service was utterly rubbish.

We were over-charged twice!

Twice!

Even though we’re tourists, stop cheating us!
Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

In this case, not only did the restaurant get our order wrong, they even had the cheek to charge the complete bill of their local Slovakian mates, from the next table!

My suspicions were raised when the bill started with the butter that I ordered, but never received…!

I mean.

Come on!

Really?

Really!&$%!

Scammers are everywhere through Europe!
How I got scammed in Berlin!

Read more stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE RESTAURANT / BAR BILL SCAM:

  • If prices are extremely cheap, you really need to double-check your bill
  • Use a currency exchange App such as XE to check if 830,000 Indonesian Rupiah for a glass of wine means €5.00 or €50.00!
  • If the “bill” is hand-written, insist on checking if what you ordered is what you paid for
  • Watch out for expensive menus given to “tourists” and a different menu given to “locals”
  • Don’t be pressured into ordering stuff when you’re not ready
  • If you don’t know what’s on the menu ask for it to be translated
  • Eat what the locals eat
  • If you see a long queue outside a local establishment, that’s the place to go to!
  • If the restaurant is empty, don’t go in
  • Don’t be too fussy
  • If you’re in a developing country, be reasonable with diet restrictions and allergies
  • Use TripAdvisor!

5.  THE FLIRTY ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMAN / STRIP BAR SCAM:

A lovely attractive young woman starts to chat you up.
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

It’s funny how many readers think I’m a man. Perhaps it’s because of posts such as this or this.

Either way, I’m going to write about it, but don’t expect intimate details. That’s creepy!

So here goes:

You land in a new country.

You immediately head for a local bar.

A lovely attractive girl starts to chat you up.

You feel good ‘cos she’s giving you the eye and laughing at all your jokes.

You have a couple of drinks.

She suggests moving on to a great club that she knows.

You agree.

You head out to a club. Gorgeous girls immediately start to surround you!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

You head out to this club.

All these gorgeous girls immediately start to surround you.

Some even sit on your lap.

You order more drinks.

You’re having a great time.

You look around, and the “original” girl has disappeared, but the bill hasn’t.

You immediately start to sweat.

The”bill” is €3,000!

You wonder if you can make a run for it.

A couple of burly nasty looking chaps soon make you change your mind!

They give you the shake down.

They force you to pay up.

If you’re lucky, you might get away with paying €300!

If not, you’re smacked around.

Or worse.

Drugged and ultimately robbed of your dignity, all your credit cards, cash, and belongings.

Drugged & robbed of your dignity, credit cards, cash & belongings in Hong Kong!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

None whatsoever!

I’m a girl!

Read more flirty attractive young woman / strip bar stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE FLIRTY ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMAN / STRIP BAR SCAM:

  • Guys, use your common sense!
  • Don’t be too greedy!
  • Be wary of attractive women who are unusually forward or hitting on you aggressively
  • If you aren’t god’s gift to women, and model-type girls suddenly start swarming around you, think why!
  • If you’re the only person being approached, be on guard
  • If it seems too good to be true, there’s a reason!
  • Never give your personal credit card to the bar
  • If you feel uncomfortable, get out of there as quickly as you can
  • If you feel threatened at any time, don’t argue, negotiate if you can, but pay up, get to the driver, get to a safe place, then report him them to the police
  • Buy travel insurance. I use World Nomads. Here’s my link

6.  MOTOR BIKE / SCOOTER / JET SKI / CAR RENTAL SCAM:

You rent a motorbike, scooter, jetski or car. You return it & then the fun begins!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

You’re in a developing country.

You need to get around without the hassle of local transportation or a chicken bus

You rent a motorbike / scooter / jetski /car.

It was at a really generous price and you had heaps of fun.

You bring it back, and then it begins.

The owner demands additional payment or charges you for expensive repairs as a means of compensation.

And why?

Because the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car, is damaged!

Or worse.

Stolen!

You didn’t do it of course, and in some cases, it’s the owner or his mates, who have knowingly caused the damage or stolen the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car.

And that’s the scam!

There’s no getting out of it either!

The owner demands payment or charges you for repairs ‘cos the rental is damaged!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

Luckily for me, the only time that I rented a motorbike / scooter / jetski / car, was with the driver / sailing crew included, so there was no question of who was responsible for damages.

It certainly wasn’t me!

However, this is a potential scam to lose huge amounts of money.

Read more motorbike / scooter / jetski / car rental stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE MOTORBIKE / SCOOTER / JETSKI SCAM:

  • You took the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car therefore, you’re the responsible party
  • Read the small print
  • Take photographs of the vehicle
  • Document any previous damage
  • Confirm all photographs / documentation with the owner
  • Use your own lock as the owner might have another set of keys…
  • Park the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car, in a safe and secure place
  • Make sure you have a valid international licence for the rental
  • Wear a helmet / seatbelt
  • Take your time, and don’t speed, as conditions are rougher than you might be used to
  • If damage does occur, take your object to a repair shop recommended by someone other than the owner!
  • Buy travel insurance. I use World Nomads. Here’s my link!

7.  THE GET RICH QUICK SCAM:

I don’t know how to tell you this, but there really is no easy way to get rich!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

I don’t know how to tell you this, but there really is no easy way to get rich.

Well there is.

But you’re not that type of person are you?

Are you?!

The essence of this scam is to persuade you that you can make a quick buck.

You’re on holiday, and a local person casually tells you that they own a lucrative business buying expensive items such as jewellery and antiques from the country where you just happen to be, and selling them back home in the US, UK, Germany, Japan, etc.

They offer to “introduce” you to their contact so that you too, can enjoy this great “opportunity.”

The products are fake.

Or what about that old chestnut of a “lucrative business venture” if only you’d “invest” €20,000 / €50,000 / €100,000 as soon as possible so that you can reap a 60% “guaranteed” profit “potential.”

Within a month.

And don’t even get me started on the “My Father is the ex-President..” of some random country that you have previously never heard of, but somehow you are able to picture, because “If you send me a small amount of €30,000 in order to “release” the “oil money / hidden stash in some Swiss Bank / tax haven,” AND your bank account / passport / security number details, you’ll be able to get a slice of the illegal €10 billion that was hidden away during some dictator / politically unstable / obscure regime.

A slice of €10 billion.

Not €10,000.

Not even €1,000.

Which by any account, is a huge amount to give to a stranger, not to talk of millions of €/$/£!

But somehow you believe it.

MY EXPERIENCE:

None at all!

I too get Emails claiming heaven and earth.

I put them into the spam filter, ignore them, and sleep well at night.

I can make you rich scam.
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Read more get rich quick stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE GET RICH QUICK SCAM:

  • Don’t be greedy
  • If it seems too good to be true, there’s a reason!
  • Use your common sense
  • Unless you’re an expert in jewellery and antiques, don’t try to sell them
  • If you’re on holiday, don’t buy expensive items that you know nothing about!
  • If you’re the only person being approached or contacted, be wary
  • Never give your bank account / passport / security number details to a random stranger
  • If you feel uncomfortable or believe a crime has been committed, or about to be committed, contact the police
  • Buy travel insurance. I use World Nomads. Here’s my link!
We’ve all been scammed at some point, but no matter how well we prepare, it happens.
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

We’ve all been taken in or scammed by tricksters at some point, but no matter how well we prepare, it happens.

And if it does, it’s horribly frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world.

My advice.

Make sure you buy travel insurance for peace of mind.

Good Luck!

AND WHILE WE’RE AT IT – 7 OTHER COMMON TRAVEL SCAMS TO AVOID!

Oh no. I’ve been scammed!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions, experience situations and words of advice, are my very own!

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

Even the toughest among us, can still be scammed!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are affiliate links connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Have you been cheated, tricked, conned, lost some money, or had something stolen? Have you ever been scammed? What did you do? Spill all, and let others learn from your mistakes in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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4 thoughts on “And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

  1. The taxi scam is simply unavoidable
    most recently in Athens for us unfortunatelyy. You can only pray that it’s not as bad as it could be. These are definitely worth watching for😁.. haha the idiot wanted a fee! I think not!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No.. I meant the idiot in your story wanted a fee. 🙂 . We were driven 1 km for like 3 euro by the taxi, and 13 euro to drive us like 400 meters. He pegged us good! Pretended he didn’t know the street and in the end, he was like oh.. difference in English and Greek. He was a twat..but it was 4AM!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah!
        Yeah!
        Bangkok was crazy. What a loser! It’s a good thing that by that time, I was a much different person than the time I initially got scammed in Berlin, all those years ago…!
        Re-Greece. Sadly, I’m not in the least surprised, ‘cos night time is the moment when they really push tourists to the limit, as it’s very late / early, and we just want to get to our hotel / apartment / hostel / destination. 😦

        Like

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