8 Popular Travel Scams You Should Know About

Don’t let these clever scams ruin your vacation.


Foreign Petitions

This travel scam is most often deployed in Paris, in high-volume tourist spots like the Pont des Arts foot bridge. If someone comes up to you asking you to sign their petition for some ‘really important cause’, in a foreign language no less, don’t do it. The poetic french writing is really saying something to the effect of “if you sign this you have to give me 200 Euros or else.” Don’t sign anything you can’t understand, regardless of what the young activist is telling you about it.

8 Popular Travel Scams You Should Know About

Play it safe and don’t accept anything from strangers

The String Trick

My mother always told me not to accept gifts from strangers, and when traveling, this is one of the most important rules to follow. This scam is particularly prevalent in the Montmartre area of Paris, where tourists run rampant. If someone comes up to you with a piece of string, yarn or fabric and asks to make you a bracelet or ring as a gift, say no and walk away. They’re planning on tying the string around your wrist or finger so tight you won’t be able to get out of it, and then they’ll force you to the nearest ATM and only free you from the string if you empty your bank account for them, usually with the help of some burly friends. As they say, don’t take candy from strangers. It’s a common trap that way too many vacationers fall for.

Being an educated traveler is essential to staying out of trouble and having an amazing vacation. You often don’t even need to leave the US to get scammed by someone banking on a gullible tourist falling into their trap. The most important words of wisdom to remember when jet-setting are that nothing is free, and don’t accept anything from strangers. In other words, do your best to not be a tourist! You’ll look cooler anyway.

Want more? Check out these 4 Scary Hotel Scams and learn how to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Have you been scammed while traveling? Tell us below!

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

Avatar of Sarah Woodstock

Sarah enlightens us on a daily basis with the newest trends as (and often before) they transpire. She is the consummate globe trotter. Having traveled to over 70 countries, she earns her living writing, blogging ( and modeling while on the road. In her spare time she gets manicures, suntans on yachts in Greece, shops for even more shoes, and lives in the limelight. She loves photography, elephants, sailboats, bangles and ballet flats.

Reader Discussion: 128 Comments

  1. Avatar of Claire Martinez

    Claire Martinez

    I would just add that in a lot of countries, taxi drivers are just charging a lot more because you’re a tourist and they’re aware that you don’t know the prices there. So ask a local to book your taxi or someone that knows the country very well.

  2. Avatar of Sandra Walling

    Sandra Walling

    There was this kind cab driver, and I ask for his phone number so that I can easily contact him when I need I ride. He has been my driver for almost 2 years now 🙂

  3. Avatar of Mary Shirley

    Mary Shirley

    Those crazy CD bullies! It happened to me, one time. I threw his CD back to him! I was like, Dude, I don’t even know you!

    • Avatar of Mira Kent

      Mira Kent

      Haha! I love your come back to that dude! ?

  4. Avatar of Bernice Miles

    Bernice Miles

    You should always have phone records in case of emergencies. Aside from your phone contacts, you should have a phone book.

  5. Avatar of Cindy Simon

    Cindy Simon

    Oh, scammers! They’ll do anything just to have some easy money from people. Why don’t they just find a decent job!

  6. Avatar of Sharon Novak

    Sharon Novak

    Paris. This is a sad news to read that there are a lot of scammers in the city of love 🙁

  7. Avatar of Delores Mullen

    Delores Mullen

    I’m sad by those fake baby scams. You’re going to help that lady and yet they’ll be taking advantage of that kindness that you’ve shown.?

  8. Avatar of Ann Amos

    Ann Amos

    I’ve never liked traveling alone. I can travel alone as long as the trip will be by a group. I prefer that than being alone, by myself, in a strange place I don’t know.

  9. Avatar of John Lineberger

    John Lineberger

    I’m gonna share this with my girlfriend because she and her family loves to travel. It’s better to know about this and be careful than be sorry at a later time.

  10. Avatar of Donna Mack

    Donna Mack

    Poor camels! Those Egyptians should be the one who’s TAKING CARE of them since they’re making use of them.

Load 10 more comments

Join in the Conversation! Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Urbanette moderates and edits comments for grammar and to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Please use your full name. Moderators can only approve comments written in English.

All content is strictly copyright. Contact us for permission.