Scroll Down To Continue

25 Ways to Make Sure You Don't Get Ripped Off in a Foreign Country

Don’t Take Taxis

Taking public transit is way cheaper in the long run, but if you do have to take a taxi here are a few things to keep in mind.

Kritchanut/iStock/Getty Images

Check the official pricing online

If a taxi driver thinks you don’t know the rate per minute, they will spike it up tremendously.

Kritchanut/iStock/Getty Images

Know what is around your hotel

Taxi drivers know what tourists look like, and they will take advantage of the fact that you’re not a native by driving around aimlessly so you’re in the cab longer and your fair will go up. One trick you can use to avoid this is to take the time to figure out what's near your hotel. So you can “help them” find it. Ideally, if you have access to the internet, you can map out your way to the hotel and call them out when they make a “wrong turn.”

Kritchanut/iStock/Getty Images

Make sure you see them turn the meter on and off

The longer they have the meter running, the higher the price. Make sure you see them turn the meter on and off because if you’re paying with a card, they can process the transaction hours after you’ve left the cab.

Kritchanut/iStock/Getty Images

Look up when there is “surge pricing”

The last thing you want to happen is to get to the end of your cab ride and have a completely unexpected total because of surge pricing. During peak hours of travel, most cab rates will go up by a few dollars, at least. Know when those times are, so you can avoid them.

Kritchanut/iStock/Getty Images

Know Where to Eat

Know where the “tourist spots” are and avoid them at all costs. For example, if you are in Mexico and you see cheese dip on the menu, leave because it’s not a real Mexican restaurant. “Touristy spots” will hike up the prices of their food, because tourists don’t know any better and they know that.

Steve Debenport/iStock/Getty Images

Know What You Want to Buy

Don’t get convinced into getting something you don’t want or won’t be able to take home without a hassle. If you are planning on bringing gifts home, go in with a list of ideas for items you can easily take back in a suitcase. This way it will be harder for you to make a spontaneous decision to get little Jimmy a custom guitar that won’t fit in your suitcase.

artisteer/iStock/Getty Images

Know Your Currency Conversions

It may seem like you are getting a great deal on this t-shirt for your niece, but if you are using American money, it may be worth more than what you realize due to the conversion rate. Convert your money before you go and ask the people there what the conversion rate is.

Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock/Getty Images

It may seem like you are getting a great deal on this t-shirt for your niece, but if you are using American money, it may be worth more than what you realize due to the conversion rate. Convert your money before you go and ask the people there what the conversion rate is.

Start Low

Don’t get too crazy but know how to haggle. Haggling is essential in foreign countries. Think about how much it would cost to make the item you're interested in, then add on a few dollars and start there. Come to a happy medium but still be polite; these people are just trying to make a living.

m-imagephotography/iStock/Getty Images

Buying “Name Brand”

Unless it is the country where the product is made, it's probably not name brand, so don’t spend too much. But hey, if it's cute and they aren’t asking too much go for it.

lechatnoir/iStock/Getty Images

Be Suspicious of Everyone Until Proven Otherwise

Scammers are smart, and they frequently have several people backing their scams to make them seem more authentic.

DGLimages/iStock/Getty Images

Fake police/security

A fake police officer or security guard could come up to you right before you go into a tourist-heavy area and say that you have to pay a fee to enter the area. If this happens to you, ask to see their identification and go to start writing it down. If they back down, they are probably a scam artist.

DGLimages/iStock/Getty Images

Fake tour guides

This scheme is a little more elaborate and harder to catch because these fake tour companies can have even gone as far as setting up websites for their “tours” that require you to pay online. Then when you show up, there is no tour guide to be found. One way to avoid this is to try to find reviews on the company. Tourists don’t want other tourists to get ripped off either.

DGLimages/iStock/Getty Images

Fake rental employees

There is a famous scheme called “The Jet Ski” scheme. People in “uniform” will claim that there is new damage to the ski you've just returned, and they'll demand you pay a fee. First, pay attention to the actual rental employees and what they are wearing to see if you can spot a difference. Second, say that you are paying with card and you will have to go back to the rental booth to pay for the damage. 

DGLimages/iStock/Getty Images

Find Coupons

There are coupons for everything from performances to museums. Don’t pay full price if you don’t have to.

metamorworks/iStock/Getty Images

There are coupons for everything from performances to museums. Don’t pay full price if you don’t have to.

Know What Attractions to Avoid

Look up reviews, look up reviews, look up reviews. Find out more about the excursions you might want to take part in. Tourists are brutally honest and will let others know if something is overpriced or overrated.

encrier/iStock/Getty Images

Look up reviews, look up reviews, look up reviews. Find out more about the excursions you might want to take part in. Tourists are brutally honest and will let others know if something is overpriced or overrated.

Don’t Buy the “Nice” Jewelry

Even in American jewelry stores, there are fake diamonds that look really real. If someone is trying to sell you a “real diamond necklace” and the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

kali9/iStock/Getty Images

Don’t Buy into the Pressure

You don’t have to buy anything while you’re on a trip, so don’t let shop owners convince you that you need yet another knickknack to sit on your shelf at home and collect dust.

javitrapero/iStock/Getty Images

The “That Place is Closed Today” Trick

Look up the hours of operation for the tourist spots you wish to visit. The “that place is closed today” trick is used by scammers who want you to trick you into going to a different location that is probably run by someone they know.

Highwaystarz-Photography/iStock/Getty Images

Look up the hours of operation for the tourist spots you wish to visit. The “that place is closed today” trick is used by scammers who want you to trick you into going to a different location that is probably run by someone they know.

Unasked for Experiences

Tourists are often the victims of unasked for experiences in foreign countries. Here are a few scenarios and how to avoid them.

PeopleImages/iStock/Getty Images

Keep your hands hidden

In several larger cities that are known for having a lot of birds, tourists will frequently have birdfeed forced into their hands to give to the birds. Then they will be asked to pay for the bird feed they did not ask for in the first place. An easy way to avoid this trick is to try keeping your hands in your pockets while in tourist-heavy areas.

PeopleImages/iStock/Getty Images

The “Free shoeshine”

The free shoeshine trick (as well as several other variations) are well-known foreign countries. The gist of the trick is that someone will be walking down the street with a shoe shining kit and drop something in front of you. Then when you pick it up, they will offer to shine your shoes for “free.” Afterward, they will hassle you to pay them for your “free” shoe shine.

PeopleImages/iStock/Getty Images

Ask "How Much?" Before You Say Yes to Anything

Extra cheese on your pasta is only free at Olive Garden. Things that are free in the U.S. are definitely not free everywhere. It will be things you would never think of like creamer, ice, refills, straws, etc.

kappaphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Compare the English and Non-English Menus

On the English menu in teeny-tiny print, there will oftentimes be something that says “Service not included.” Whereas on the non-English menu the service price is typically included. The non-English menu is usually posted at the front of the restaurant as you walk in.

piola666/iStock/Getty Images

On the English menu in teeny-tiny print, there will oftentimes be something that says “Service not included.” Whereas on the non-English menu the service price is typically included. The non-English menu is usually posted at the front of the restaurant as you walk in.

Always Get a Receipt

You can and will be charged for everything, so always make sure to get your receipt. Oftentimes, if you were charged without being asked, a few of the charges can be removed, but if not, at least you know for next time.

industryview/iStock/Getty Images

The “Pay by Weight Scam”

For this one, you may see a price on the menu for your meal, so you order it. What you might not notice is a little “*” or some indicator almost invisible to the naked eye, which will be noted somewhere in the menu that the actual weight of the meat you will be paying for is probably four times what you think.

Studio Peck LLC/iStock/Getty Images

Check the ATM

Stolen card information isn’t limited to the U.S. Before you use an ATM wiggle the place where you insert your card, if it doesn’t move, you should be good to go.

Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images

Walk Farther Than You Want To

Get out of the tourist areas; it's easy to jack up prices for tourists that don’t know any better. Walk until you see fewer people. Another good sign is if you see a store where several people that look local are shopping.

monkeybusinessimage/iStock/Getty Images

Always Count Your Change

It may seem simple, but it is an easy thing to look over which is why it is such an easy way to be tricked.

KeongDaGreat/iStock/Getty Images

It may seem simple, but it is an easy thing to look over which is why it is such an easy way to be tricked.

Learn Your Basic Numbers

Simple things like learning your basic numbers can make shopping in other countries much more manageable and far more predictable.

guruXOOX/iStock/Getty Images

Simple things like learning your basic numbers can make shopping in other countries much more manageable and far more predictable.

Check the Seal

Always, always, always! Check the seal on your water bottle before you start drinking from it. People do what they can to make a quick buck. They don’t care that you could spend the rest of your vacation in the bathroom.

mediaphotos/iStock/Getty Images

Always, always, always! Check the seal on your water bottle before you start drinking from it. People do what they can to make a quick buck. They don’t care that you could spend the rest of your vacation in the bathroom.

Avoiding Pickpockets

Pouch for valuables (under your shirt)

Several small and easily concealable pouches that can be found for sale all over the internet. Wearing one of these will all of your valuables inside may make paying at a shop a little more awkward, but that’s better than having your passport stolen.

jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images

Don’t give out anything (even if it seems harmless)

Don’t show any signs of weakness. The second you give one person something, everyone else will want something from you.

jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images 

Stay alert

Several people can work together to pickpocket someone. If you see someone that looks as if they purposefully dropped something, keep on walking because they are probably a red herring to draw you in.

jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images

If it Looks Shady, Walk Away

Information Offices

One easy way to avoid fake information offices is to look for maps of the safety exits on the walls. If there is nothing marked on the map where an information station is set up, it may be fake.

Peeter Vilsimaa/iStock/Getty Images

Fake Tickets

Depending upon how fancy a destination is, there may be phony ticket booths. If you are able to, look at the tickets before you buy one and inspect the quality.

Peeter Vilsimaa/iStock/Getty Images

Watch Your Bartender Make Your Drink

The Long poor

The long poor is when a bartender is pouring your drink from way above the glass. This trick may look fancy, but this also makes it look like they are pouring for longer and giving you more alcohol when in reality this trick (if done correctly) typically results in less alcohol getting in the glass.

monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Rim dip

When you ask your bartender to make a drink strong pay attention to what they do with the glass. The rim dip is when a bartender dips the rim of the glass in straight alcohol, which makes the drink smell stronger than it is.

monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Straw dip

The same type of trick can be done with your straw. Bartenders often dip the tip of your straw in alcohol to make your first sip taste much stronger than the rest of the drink.

monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Top shelf exchange

You may be at a bar and ask for a simple cocktail that should be around $7 each, but then when you get the bill you see each drink was $14! If you don’t specify, or the bartender knows you aren’t watching they may give you a top-shelf version of your mixed drink.

monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images