Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to Avoid Being Hassled by Vendors, Taxis, and Street Children

1. Tuk-tuks/taxis

- Tell them you’re almost there (doesn’t matter where “there” is)

- If they offer to take you somewhere, say you’ve already been there, or you’re going there on another day

- Shake your head no and keep walking

- DO NOT wave, contrary to what you might think, they are not just being friendly, they will think you want a ride

2. Bargaining/Shopping

- Say you’re looking for something obscure that you know they don’t have

- Be on a mission (or at least look like it)

- Never stop to look at a map or to look confused

- Be with a tour guide or pretend to be with a tour guide that you need to keep up with

- Don’t linger for too long

- Do your research so you don’t get scammed about what time temples open
Quick story... I heard about the scammers in Thailand who say "there is a special event and the palace is closed until 3 p.m. today, let me take you on a ride around town (aka to shops that give them a cut of the purchases) and I'll bring you back at 3". Knowing this, when a tuk-tuk driver said this to me, I said "No, it's open, I checked online" and kept walking. He didn't say anything back. Successfully avoided being scammed!

3. Kids

- No eye contact (hard to do, but essential)

- No communication except no or no thank you (also hard to do, but also essential)


Jessica DeLine said...

Good tips! I'm also still needing to get caught up on your 4 part trip report!

Adventurerob said...

Practise helps with all this. Being dropped off in the middle of nowhere by a tuk tuk driver will leave you looking confused and at a map and hence you will be approached by 'helpful' people, I know! Sometimes it just isn't avoidable.

Anonymous said...

Great advice. I think the most important part of all this is always to look and act confident, and trust your instincts. In countries where you do get lots of touts and so on, it's always a really fine line between not being taken for a ride, and closing yourself off to the wonderful, seredipitous encounters that make travel so fulfilling.

Abbie said...

AdventureRob - I can imagine that would leave you confused lol
Nick - I agree, the confident part is key!

Anonymous said...

Good information! I especially need to build more resolve with the kids though. But you had a great tip with the no eye contact.