Friday, November 13, 2009

Travel Scams to Watch Out For

Over the years I've noticed a few things that seem to be common among gondoliers; one of them is a love for travel.

Some do the backpack-and-hostel thing, while others take a more formal approach.

Show me a room full of gondoliers, and I guarantee you that at least half of them have well-worn passports.

As we travel we see the world, gain invaluable experiences, and run the risk of losing some of their own valuables.

This article in Travel and Leisure is a great collection of tips and warnings, many of which I've seen or heard of happening in places other than the ones listed. I witnessed a variation of the "newspaper attack" once in Jamaica.

Read up, and enjoy your travels my friends.


Tamas Feher from Hungary said...

This kind of article would get labeled racist in Europe in less then 3 seconds, because it is against the sacred ideology of "political correctness and tolerance" ie. never dare to mention the ethnicity of perpetrators.

No. 5/19 trick, the brass ring is a typical gipsy story. Many of their tribes are coppersmiths by original trade, so they manufacture the false rings themselves, making it more difficult to shut down their crime rings. The trick is actually codified in hungarian penal law by its gipsy name, "gagyizas".

I think Mr. Berlusconi tried to evict gipsy illegals from Rome but the EU started to protest...

No. 9. (patron taken hostage) happens regularly here in Budapest and closing down the offending bars does not seem to help much. The US Embassy is issuing travellers' warnings about it on a monthly basis.

Do not enter a nightclub or flashy drink bar unless you have something pointy or full of lead to help your way out! Of course carrying such things is illegal here... but maybe a 420cm oar will do?

No. 12: Sometimes bus drivers recognize recurring pickpockets by face and will announce on the loudspeaker if they board.

Laws in Europe are not like the USA or Australia where three strike is the rule. Petty thieves have to try really hard to get any prison term in the EU...

No. 17 is hard to believe? Who would commit a crime in the most CCTV-covered place in the world?

> Travel light and leave the non-essentials at home <

Airlines, especially the low-cost airlines do this for you nowadays! Luggage surcharge for the cargo hold is so outrageous, most european people on short trips decide to do with the single 10 kilo pack one can take onboard for free.

> Blend in. Don’t dress like an affluent tourist <

Blending in is a bit difficult in the tropics unless the military taught you how to paint the face to camouflage?

I think it should be the government's job instead, to make sure tourists do not have to blend in just to be safe?

Finally, I don't think belt bag is a good idea, as it gets cut off with razor easily. Something worn under the shirt like a scapulare is probably better. Always leave at least half of your cash in the hotel safe.

Maybe modern Europe could benefit from the kind of solid laws the Serenissima Republic was famous for during the medieval and renaissance ages!

Even today, it looks like Venice's worst crime problem is a fake handbag street sale complaint (although vaporetto pass prices can be considered a form of institutionalized robbery...)

Bepi said...

When I was 19 traveling through Rome I saw a guy get the gypsy newspaper treatment. I had never seen it before and the good natured american guy, loaded with everything a tourist thinks they need, had everything taken in 5 seconds. When he realized it, the children were gone, slipping into cracks in the ruins and running different directions. The way to deal is when they get near and try to put the paper at your waist you stamp the ground towards them, growl, and look at them like they will be beaten mercilessly, then they might leave you alone.