Travel to distant places is one of life’s pleasures. However, it can be expensive. So, one budgets the trips. One plans out the various cost items: transportation, lodging, food, and, of course, fun. Then there is the ‘fudge factor’ amount for that unexpected thing that just cannot be missed!
Budgets are made to be broken, but by you, the traveler, not by a crook. Having one’s funds depleted by the actions of a crook can ruin an otherwise wonderful trip.
Since a smart traveler is always a better traveler, here are a couple of tips to help you keep one step ahead of the bad guys.
Before to get into a taxi, agree on the price for where you are going. If there is a meter, make sure that it is turned on at the start of the trip. If you can read the language where you are, make sure that the meter is adjusted correctly. Taxis often have different fares for different times of day. Make sure that your meter is correctly set.
Often, when traveling, we are dealing with a currency not our own. It is not unusual to be awkward with those different bills and coins. The taxi arrives and the driver points at the meter showing the amount due, or you have already agreed upon that amount. You hand over the correct amount and the driver calls you. It seems that you have gotten the amount wrong and short changed him. He will show you the bills. Maybe a bill is missing or, perhaps, a one is in the place of a ten. Oops, your mistake. Maybe…..
Or, perhaps, you are a victim of a very common taxi con. Some of these guys could be professional slight of hand artists based on the way they make bills vanish or swap one bill with another. It is all with the focus on getting more money from you. The only way to protect yourself from this is to slowly count out the money when you are paying the driver. Never just hand him a wad of bills. Then, if you still are faced with this scam, call the hotel doormen over as fast as possible. These guys have seen everything and will work for you. (Don’t forget to tip them afterwards.) Of course, you will have to be arriving at a hotel to do that.
Keep you head, be a smart traveler and you will have a great trip within your budget.