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Tips and tricks for avoiding tourist traps

Mon 27 January 2020

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A ‘tourist trap’ refers to a place that is created or re-purposed to attract tourists, where goods and services are made much more expensive due to the high traffic. This is a way of making as much money as possible from visitors. Tourist traps can be disappointing - they are often heavily advertised, crowded and overhyped, and you’ll be paying higher prices for the novelty.

Tourist traps aren't always a bad thing, but if you aren’t careful, you could get scammed out of your money by people trying to sell you tacky souvenirs or overpriced goods and excursions.

Follow our tips to get the most out of your travels and avoid getting caught in these tourist traps.

Do some research

Before you book your flights and jet off on your next holiday, spend time researching the area. Websites such as TripAdvisor are great for getting an idea of where to go and where to avoid when it comes to hotels, restaurants, activities and landmarks.

The tourist traps are likely to be the places you’ve heard the most about, so it may be more beneficial to look at surrounding areas or alternative destinations that have less hype and are less expensive.

Ask the locals

When you arrive in a new location, the best place to find recommendations is from the locals. Make it clear you’re looking for the lesser-known spots or want to try the local cuisine. You can also find out what day and time is best to visit the popular attractions to avoid the crowds.

Avoid high season

Sometimes it’s not so much the place you visit as the time of year you go. If you want to experience the true charm of a place, visit out of season. You are more likely to enjoy the scenery without all the crowds, selfie sticks and queues the peak season attracts.

Use public transport

Taxis are rarely the cheapest option, either in the UK or abroad, and can often add a significant extra cost to your day out or holiday. In some countries, taxis can be known to take the ‘scenic route’ to rack up a bigger fee. This takes advantage of visitors who don’t speak the language, know the area, or have a good understanding of the local currency. To avoid this, get a public transport timetable and use buses, trams and trains to get about. This will cost a fraction of the price and can be a fun way to get around, showing you more of the area.

Avoid hotels near attractions

If you stay in a hotel right near a main tourist attraction, you’re likely to pay more for every drink, meal and even toilet stop than if you stayed a few blocks out and used public transport to travel to the city centre. Compare prices on different websites to find the perfect accommodation for you.

Take packed lunches, water and snacks

Whether in the UK or abroad, food and drink can be one of the biggest expenses on a day out, especially if there are limited options available. Take your own snacks, drinks and sandwiches if possible, to avoid having to buy from overpriced vendors. For example, if you are planning a day at the beach, take a picnic and avoid overpriced ice creams and drinks.

Don't get caught out on prices

Understanding the value of money in whichever country you are visiting can help you avoid overpaying for food, travel, and activities. Some shops and restaurants count on visitors not understanding the local currency and will bump up their prices if they know you are a tourist. Have a good idea of the exchange rate in your head at all times.

If there are no visible prices, then ask before you buy and don’t be pressured into buying items you don’t want or need. Trust your instincts - if it feels like you’re being taken advantage of, walk away.

About Morses Club

At Morses Club, we understand that planning for those sudden costs isn’t always possible, even when you are careful with your money. We specialise in providing cash loans to cover any financial emergencies that crop up; you can find out more about what we do in our about us section.

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