Traveling can be lots of fun, whether you are going somewhere for a weekend getaway, or you are going on a full length vacation you have been dreaming about at work every day. New sights, people, foods, experiences… it seems like it just could not get better. However, even though your goal is to relax and have fun, you should still be careful about many different things, because you are most likely going to somewhere completely unknown, and that makes potentially bad situations much easier to happen.
Of course, there are ways to (hopefully) evade them. You just need to be prepared. Here are some hints on what you should pay special attention to.
Insulting the locals
Every country (and sometimes even different regions of the same country) has some unwritten rules on behaviour, based either on tradition or what is simply considered polite. For example, in the United States it is a norm to tip your server (they earn basically below minimum wage, your tips are not just appreciated, they are literally needed), but in Japan, it would be insulting to them to do it.
And if you go somewhere where people have different set of beliefs than you, and they tell you something about it, no matter how you feel about it, if you find it strange or funny, you should not show it. The same goes for local legends and historical events. If locals want to tell them to the tourists, that means they are proud of it, and you should respect it.
Pickpockets and scammers
Let’s be real, there are thieves everywhere. And when you go somewhere for a vacation, you become an easy target because everything is unfamiliar to you, and it’s their ‘home turf’, to use the sports idiom. Pickpockets are also usually organized in groups, so seeing or suspecting one does not mean you are out of danger, because in that same moment, the other one could be sneaking right behind you.
Scammers are a similar problem. They might tell you they will show you a special spot in the city and take you to some hidden alley to rob you, or they might tell you that you broke some law/rule and you will get in so much trouble, but if you give them money, they will resolve it for you. And those are just two examples. The schemes people can come up with are endless. So your best bet is not to really trust anyone easily, especially if their story or the reason why they approached you seems even a little bit weird.
Locals overpricing things
There are more or less set prices for everything in one community, even in the places where haggling is the norm. And locals know those prices. But you do not. And when local sellers realize that, lots of them will try to sell you things for a higher price than it should be. A good way to evade that is to have a local with you, if you know anyone, because even if you know the language somewhat, your accent or the way you form sentences will probably give you away.
The cab drivers will often try to do something similar. Even if the place where you are supposed to go is close, they will take a roundabout way so they can charge you more. So you should have a map app open the whole time, and pay attention to where you are going.