Almost everyone has heard travel horror stories. From robberies to scams, it is important to be informed about what to possibly expect on your luxury travel vacations. The most common stories of being ripped off abroad involve currency, purchasing “priceless artifacts” and being trapped by taxis. Take a look at these common ways people are either overcharged or ripped off, and use these strategies to stay in control of your money!
One of the most difficult parts about traveling to other countries is using foreign currency. There are several ways to handle this issue; the most important one is to be somewhat familiar with the exchange rate. For example, one Euro is the equivalent of $1.50 USD. Also, be familiar with what the local currency looks like. A common tourist scam is being approached in the airport or in front of a hotel by what appears to be a fellow tourist. They may wish to exchange some of their “left over” currency for dollars. They may attempt to sell you counterfeit currency, or offer a high rate of exchange. Do not be taken in by such people. The only safe way to exchange currency is through a bank, your local American Express Office, or the purser aboard any luxury world cruise.
When traveling to countries with rich ancient histories on a luxury travel vacation, you may be tempted to take a piece of it home with you. In countries such as China, Egypt and Britain, there are a number of licensed and unlicensed antiquities dealers that will offer to sell you some of the greatest finds of the century. But buyer beware, even experts can be fooled by fakes. Not to mention that most countries do not allow exports of most pieces of their country’s history. So, if you did purchase the find of the century, you will probably not be able to take it home. If you are dedicated to taking something home with you, go to a well-known and licensed antiquities dealer. Your tour guide or cruise purser should have the best recommendations. Be sure to ask the right questions, such as delivery options, legality issues and get a receipt of sale. For more information on the latest AMT American Express Travel exclusives check out http://www.amtvacations.com/american-express-exclusives.html.
Most travelers get around their destinations via taxis, unless they are on a guided excursion from their luxury world cruise. Most taxi drives know this, and can spot a tourist from a mile away. They know you are unfamiliar with the exchange rate, the going local taxi rate and unfamiliar with the area. They may overprice their rate to take advantage of your ignorance, or take a more scenic route in order to run up the tab. Some may not run a meter at all and tell you a high flat rate. You can avoid being taken advantage of by asking the going rate before you step into the cab, and an estimate of how much to get to your destination. If there is no meter, do not get in. They might not be a legitimate taxi service, and may take you somewhere unless you pay them off. Do not hesitate to try another taxi if you think you can do better. Suddenly, the price might change to something more reasonable if you threaten to look elsewhere.
Now that you are armed with information and strategies to avoid becoming involved in these situations, you are ready to face your luxury travel vacation without fear.