Tourist Scams and Overtourism Changes You Need To Know About

Woman in white dress and hat walking down street

A gondola ride through Venice. A romantic kiss under the Eiffel Tower. A sabbatical to India. These are all exciting trips that can take months to plan. But, you probably don’t think that your travel mecca will include millions of other tourists and all kinds of scams and dangers. Well, that is unless you’re 007. And, in some countries, you would need to be as stealth-like to get through the massive crowds. According to the World of Tourism and Travel Council, there were about 1.4 billion trips internationally last year alone. So, what can you do to plan for your trip? And, importantly, how can you protect yourself while abroad?

Factor Overcrowding Into Your Travel Plans

Depending on your destination, anticipate that there might be overcrowding. Famous travel destinations around the world can be packed with tourists all hoping to see the same views and sites as you, and your family and friends. With travel cheaper than ever, it’s easier to reach exotic travel destinations and check globe-trotting off your bucket list. Just ensure you include overtourism on your list. Massively large numbers of visitors can dramatically impact the lives of locals. Take Venice for example.

With cruise ships now offering day trips to their port, Venice is seeing an uptake in cruise ship travellers. People there for a day trip ‘mordi e fuggi’ tourism, or cruise port excursion, might be more limited on time. They may not take long all-day tours and may not have time to shop with local businesses which can affect the livelihood of residents. And, then there are the time limits.

Time Limits and Levees on Landmarks

For major landmarks on sightseeing tours, time limits might be in place for how long a traveller can visit each attraction. While this can help to allow more visitors a chance to view areas like The Clock Tower, St. Mark’s Basilica, or Doge’s Palace, they have introduced limits on sightseers. Levees start at about three euros and it’s estimated that by next year certain areas can charge between 3 to up to 10 euros for visitors. As tourism becomes regulated in some areas, you might also find turnstiles to help distribute the flow of traffic at high-tourist destinations.

In Peru, a new ticketing system began this past January to control overtourism for those that want to see the famous ruins. Tourists are allowed four-hour windows and they can’t reenter some landmarks. At the Taj Mahal in India, their limit is three hours and they’ve raised ticket prices. Visitors that overstay can be subject to fines. Amsterdam is no longer advertising to help combat the overcrowding on their narrow streets. They saw 18 million visitors last year and expect that number to rise to about 42 million in the next 10 years.

But, that doesn’t mean you should cancel your travel plans. Here are a few tips.

Avoid Online Dangers

Tourists like to use wifi hotspots, hotel and airport wifi, and free wifi at local coffee shops and internet bars. But, these can expose all your computer’s information and your personal information making you vulnerable to “man-in-the-middle” cyber attacks. A third-party intercepts your connection with a server and online crooks can view your location, bank data and other records.

Save the Updates for When You Return

Another concern for travellers is posting too much information on social media. When you travel, a suggestion is to post updates after you return. Thieves near your home might look for people to post publicly on social media that they will be away. This can make your home vulnerable to break-ins. Hence, the need for home or tenant insurance and a reliable neighbour to check on your place.

Watch Out for Common Pickpocket Scams

Being a tourist can be exciting. There are so many sights to take in and new cultures to explore. But, there are also a lot of scams you need to watch out for during your travels.

These include:

Petitions

One person petitions you and another picks your pocket while you’re distracted. Or, they pressure you for a donation to see where your money is and then attempt to pickpocket you. Avoid this with a firm “No thanks!” and walk away.

“Take Our Picture, Please!”

One person asks you to take a picture in a crowded area and another picks your pocket or digs into your purse. To avoid this either say no or ensure you have your purse or wallet securely stored in front of you.

Consider investing in:

  • Secure day trip money belts
  • Hidden or secret pockets
  • Money belt with an RFID Blocker

“Can I See Your ID?”

This is a fake police scam where people dressed as officers target you if you’ve been drinking. They ask for your ID and swipe your cash when you take out your wallet. If you’re approached, you can ask why they want your ID and ask them for a badge. Scammers don’t want to stick around and will likely leave.

A Push From Behind

A person bumps into you in a crowded area and steals your wallet or scans your smartphone to lift the data. To prevent this in tight spaces with overcrowding, always keep your hands on your wallet area so you know it’s there. Invest in a hidden wallet and use an RFID blocker.

The Group Theft

A group approaches with a weapon and demands your cash. To avoid this, have a fake wallet with very little money to hand over but keep your real valuables in a hidden wallet. Avoid walking alone and secluded areas.

Fake Bird Poop Drop

Someone tells you a bird pooped on you and they offer to help while stealing your wallet or another person does. To avoid this, don’t get distracted and keep your hand over your wallet area or purse.

Bathroom Scam

A person loiters outside a bathroom and waits for you to go in to steal your purse when you put it down. To avoid this, never set your purse on the ground or on a hook overhead. Put it over your shoulder and push it to your left or right side instead.

Safeguard Your Travel at Home and Abroad

You can’t predict how crowded a high-tourist area will be but you can plan ahead. Check the excursions and travel sites ahead of time and read the reviews. That way you’ll know about time limits, price changes and any complaints by fellow travellers. When visiting overcrowded areas, invest in hidden wallets, VPNs and RFID blockers. Ensure you have travel insurance to cover any trip interruptions and have an up-to-date home or tenant insurance that includes identity protection. These can all protect you while you’re away – You’ve got sites to see! For insurance, contact RateSupermarket.ca.

With RateSupermarket.ca, Canadians save on average a few hundred dollars by comparing insurance rates from Canada’s leading insurers.

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