A Traveller’s Guide to Avoid Getting Ripped Off
Everyone loves cashing in on that leave balance. No matter what time of the year it is, we always seem to be plotting our next big trip and ticking destinations off the bucket list. Regardless of where you’re going, it’s easy to get taken for a ride when you’re somewhere unfamiliar. To make sure you’re wise to common scams, we’ve put together some tips to help you travel smart and save on some unnecessary expenses.
1. Clear your cookies.
Many industry experts swear by this, saying that airlines and online travel agents will drop a cookie when you first search or browse their website then increase the price when you return to their page. However, there is actually no solid evidence that this is true. With that being said, it never hurts to clear your cookies or go incognito when browsing and booking flights, you might just get a better deal out of it.
2. Don’t be scared to barter.
Paying too much is a common grievance for tourists – especially at the markets and some restaurants. If you’re planning on visiting a flea market or second-hand shop, be prepared to look for deals and try to have an idea of how much you’re willing to spend by doing some research beforehand. As a general rule of thumb, negotiate the price down at least 30% less than the asking price. Be firm but friendly to the vendors, this can go a long way in snagging a better price.
3. Carry a water bottle with you.
You might not realise this, but paying for water can really add up. Carrying a refillable water bottle can save you some dollarydoos, ensure you stay hydrated and reduces the waste of single-use plastic bottles. Note: Not all countries have the same water treatment processes so make sure you check that the local water is safe to drink first.
4. Shop around for souvenirs.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a fridge magnet for nana or a keyring for your backpack, avoid buying them near major tourist attractions. The prices of souvenirs in tourist hotspots have been significantly hiked up to take advantage of clueless travellers. If you shop around, you’re likely to find similar gifts elsewhere for a lot less – and your nana won’t know the difference.
5. Avoid international roaming charges.
International roaming can be one of the biggest (and most unexpected costs) while travelling. Start by researching international phone plans from your mobile provider and see if it makes sense for you. Travel plans are usually costly, but another option is to consider is getting a SIM card or throwaway phone in the country you’re planning to visit. Many international SIM options can be used across multiple countries – just make sure to research this thoroughly before you purchase.
Tip: Make sure to turn off international roaming on all of your devices to avoid unwanted charges when you land. Or speak to your provider about a potential discount on roaming charges.
6. Research transport options before you leave.
Often researching the available local transport options before you leave will save you a fair amount of time and money. Look into the cost of transport passes that can be used on multiple modes of transport and unlimited pass options. If you are planning on hiring a car, research into the countries specific regulations and requirements around rental such as having an international license or relevant insurance.
Alternatively, you could rent a bike or scooter to get a taste of the local streets and areas at your own pace.
7.Don’t be fooled by taxi scams.
Have an idea of how much taxi rides should cost and which companies are the most reputable. Try to stick to official city taxis or rideshare apps as they may give you a fairer price. There are many other modes of transport you can take so it is definitely worthwhile investing some time into researching alternative options.
8. ATMs are not your friend.
Unless its an emergency, plan ahead how and when you will need to take cash out as many ATMs have a plethora of ATM fees and charges which will leave you with the shorter end of the stick. A number of fintech companies offer currency exchange and ATM fee-free travel cards, just make sure you know your options.
Credit card fraud is unfortunately still a huge issue around the world, so only use your card in businesses and ATMs that you can trust. Inform your bank that you are going overseas as they may not authorise transactions they see being made in other countries as a security measure.
9. Research currencies and plan ahead.
Conduct some research on the current exchange rates of the countries you will be visiting so you have an idea of the conversion. It is also useful to download a currency conversion app which can quickly calculate prices of items. There are lots of ways to pay for the trip away. Overspending on a credit card is easy to do, but the high-interest rates that some attract could mean you're paying it off long after your tan fades and your bags are unpacked. Budget well and if you're looking for a little extra spending money, you might consider a Wisr personal loan to help you out.
Got a trip on your mind? Check your credit scores to find out your borrowing power.