As travelers, it is easy to think that we are smart enough to avoid getting ripped off. But, the truth is, it happens to the best of us.
Travel can be all about meeting people, sharing stories and experiences. But there are certain types of people you may not want to meet on your travels. Here are 10 types of people you may want to avoid.
EGYPT PYRAMID TOUTS
Young men at the Pyramids outside Cairo are infamous for harassment and well practised in deceptive arts. No, the site isn’t closed, you don’t have to rent a carriage and that bust of King Tut isn’t authentic. Stop up your ears, and keep walking.
Staff with their hands out, expecting a tip for doing things easily done yourself (wheeling a suitcase, finding the elevators, locating your light switches) are the bane of hotel arrivals and departures in America. Hurry in the opposite direction.
KUALA LUMPUR TAXI DRIVERS
Only divine intervention will find you a taxi metre in Malaysia’s capital that isn’t mysteriously “broken”. Drivers overcharge and take circuitous routes to bump up fares. Establish an upfront fee and keep a beady eye on your route.
Pickpockets and bag-snatchers, denizens of heavily touristed zones such as metro stations, Las Ramblas and café-filled squares, are seldom violent but an omnipresent annoyance. Only carry what you need, and be vigilant in crowds.
French vineyards are so minute and so numerous that nobody could be conversant with a 20-page wine list, let alone what matches escargots. Still, sommeliers will bamboozle you with spurious jargon and superiority. Order a Coke instead, and enjoy the reaction.
BANGKOK TUK-TUK DRIVERS
Tuk-tuks are sadly fading away in Bangkok, and most that remain are commandeered by drivers who target tourists, lamenting that your sightseeing destination is closed and taking you instead to overpriced shops. Be wary, or hail a taxi.
JAPANESE KARAOKE SINGERS
Yes, it’s a cultural experience, but be aware that karaoke means “empty orchestra” and you’re expected to supply the entire trumpet section – and haul inebriated salarymen onto the subway afterwards. Limber up your vocal cords.
IRANIAN ENGLISH STUDENTS
Iranians are the loveliest people, but the English-language practitioners hanging out in evening squares will have you trapped in endlessly repeated loops of painfully basic how-are-you conversations. Pretend to be Hungarian.
While some are genuine, most are members of organised gangs or human-trafficking rings. Children are occasionally kidnapped and forced into begging, and some beggars use rented babies to garner sympathy. Donate to registered charities instead.
COLUMBIAN SOCCER FANS
South American soccer matches can be a frenzied, spectacular experience, but wild bottle-throwing, lighting of flares, attacks on players and referees and full-scale riots aren’t unknown. Make sure you’re wearing the right colours.