On my holidays, there would often be two sides to my story – how I managed to snag a good deal for that purse I have been eyeing up, or how I was ripped off by that cab driver, who so conveniently said he knew the way to a certain location, but clearly didn’t and still charged me an exorbitant fare for it.

Yes, while my passport is littered with stamps from all over, I am not immune to travel scams. So, from one fellow travel junkie to another, here are some ways to avoid being travel scam fodder on your holidays.

5 Tips on how to avoid travel scams DECOR

KNOW THE LOCAL TAXI CULTURE
Check if there is a minimum fare before accepting a ride. Make a note of the cab driver, registration and company name, if any issues arise. This is especially helpful for certain tourist heavy locations like Las Vegas, which are notoriously well known for cab scams – you wouldn’t want to be left stranded when they drive off with your luggage still in their trunk.

SPONTANEOUS PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES
You will be dumbfounded by how you didn’t see them coming – they are easy to spot too with their Roman army getup and they flock to tourists, like snakes on the prowl for their prey. They swarm upon you and sweep you up in their friendliness. Before you know it, a flash goes off and you find yourself 20 bucks poorer. Be alert and keep an eye out for these photography ph-akes and you should be fine. Always be ready to say a firm but friendly ‘no’ and walk away, should it get out of hand.

THE CURIOUS PEDDLER
What harm could there be? After all, he is just asking where you came from. Surely, he is just friendly, right? Before you assume so, think about your response. If you say something like America, England or Australia, they would assume you can afford their wares at an inflated rate, and would introduce them as such. Instead, go with something a little obscure like the name of your neighbourhood, or district to throw them off a little and even the playing field for haggling.

BE WARY OF DISTRACTIONS
We are a lot more easily distracted than we’d like to think. Criminals understand this and employ distractions techniques to let your guard down and exploit you. Look out for incidents like spilling things, loud noises or even begging children which can divert your attention away for a second, because that one moment is all these skilled pickpockets need. Avoid bringing valuable items with you as you trek through crowded areas. Instead, stash them away in the safe in your hotel room, or simply avoid bringing them along with you on your travels if it’s possible.

SECURE YOUR CHECK-IN-LUGGAGE
This is the most common scam on this list to avoid, but yet, its remedy is not commonly practised – securing your check-in luggage can bring you a great deal of relief, especially if the airports are in a less developed location. Having sturdy locks and a well-built baggage can significantly deter would-be thieves, even before you officially begin your holiday.

Safe travels!

Isabel Gonzales, is the director of CheapTickets.sg. When she is not busy heading up the team, she travels extensively which means she can hand out invaluable tips and tricks to make your trips much more convenient.