Avoiding Travel Scams

A recent New York Observer column shows that even a savvy traveler can fall prey to a clever travel scam. While in Beijing, writer Charlie Schroeder meets a friendly woman who wants to practice her English. Eventually, she suggests going to a tea shop. To Charlie’s shock, the bill, which the woman is willing to split, is hundreds of dollars.

Taxi cabThe so-called “Beijing tea shop scam” is one of several tourist scams that are common in China’s capital. Similar cons involve art galleries and karaoke bars. Other rip-offs to watch out for in Beijing include a “fake” Great Wall trip and unlicensed tour guides.  (Check out a full list at: http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/china-travel/tourist-traps-in-china/top-10-tourist-scams-beijing/)

Of course, travel scams aren’t limited to China. Lonely Planet and The Economic Times have published lists of tricks that are seen around the world. These range from taxi drivers taking tourists to stores offering “deals” on items such as jewels, to fake (or real) police demanding that you pay a fine.

Traveling with an established company such as Academic Arrangements Abroad can help make sure you visit the sights you want to see for a fair price. After you arrive at your destination, a good rule of thumb is to pay attention to your belongings and the people around you. Also, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Bankrate.com and the U.S. Travel Insurance Association have additional tips on avoiding travel scams around the globe.


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