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Are you not glad I have suffered misfortunes, bad service, insects and other hazards? Now I know what to do and what not to do, how to do it and where to do it, and on this page I want to tell you all about it.


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Yay Travel

How to Recognise and Avoid a Tourist Scam

I have always been an advocate of befriending locals because it brings opportunities for a more meaningful experience with an unfamiliar locality and culture.

 

However, this attitude should be coupled with vigilance to avoid scams and swindling schemes that are usually perpetuated by con-artists hiding behind the cloak of an overly friendly and helpful local.

 

There is no hard and fast rule on identifying a sincere offer of help from a bogus act to pull off a scam. The best that one can do is to be familiar with the different ploys that swindlers set up to carry out a con.

 

Every traveller should understand that con-artists are only interested in money or valuables that they can take from unsuspecting tourists. They employ different ways to acquire their spoils but their methods can be divided into 3 categories.

 

First, target oblivious victims and pick their pockets. Second, target vulnerable individuals and employ force and intimidation. Third, target naïve and trusting tourists and con them into buying cheap goods for a very expensive price.

 

You have to understand that con-artists are experts on their chosen craft. Meaning, they are very good at what they do. So, don’t expect to catch them while they are pulling a con because the odds are against you. What you can do instead is to avoid being a victim of one: first, by not looking like one of their targeted victims and second, by not falling into their traps.

 

Pickpockets will need to get near you to have access to your pockets and they employ some diversion to shift your focus on something else other than your valuables.

 

Here are some of the diversions employed by pickpockets: they throw something on the ground in the hope that you will bend down and pick it up so that they can easily pick on your pockets; a person bumps into you, followed by a profuse apology, while his or her partner picks your wallet; and someone pretends to have found bird droppings or some form of dirt on your clothes and he or she kindly dabs it up while at the same time feeling for your wallet and effortlessly picking it up when found. To avoid pick pockets, wear a money belt.  Thieves won’t succeed if they have no wallets to pick up in the first place.

 

Avoid hold-ups or mugging by not placing yourself in a situation that will bring about the opportunity. Avoid dark and isolated alleys. Hang out only in public places where help is easily available and be wary of invitations to private and quiet places.

 

Good bargains are one of the highs of traveling. Unfortunately, crooks know this too well and capitalise on the traveller’s yearning for cheap local merchandise to score some easy cash.

 

The scenario involves an innocent or a professional-looking individual who approaches tourists and offers unsolicited advice that a nearby store sells coveted merchandise (usually valuable jewellery or gems) at extremely discounted prices.

 

If the tourist shows interest, an offer for a free ride to the store follows and once you get there they won’t let go of you until you have purchased something at a highly inflated price.

 

Before you travel, arm yourself with valuable knowledge on common frauds and scams perpetrated in the areas you are visiting. You can easily identify a con if you know what signs to look for.  Be as diligent as you would at home in protecting yourself.  Being a visitor does not give you special immunity from thieves!

Category: Safety

18 Apr 2013 | 02:59 AM | Posted by: Yay Travel

Posted by:
Yay Travel

Pickpockets

The more you know about pickpockets, the less likely you are to become one of theier victims. Have a look at this video by Bob Arno.

Category: Safety

5 Apr 2013 | 02:06 PM | Posted by: Yay Travel

Posted by:
Yay Travel

Cheaper Amsterdam Transfers

If you want cheaper airport transfers in Amsterdam, you might consider using Connexxion. They run a shared shuttle service from the airport to various hotels in a city for a fraction of the cost of paying for a car.  If you are not staying at one of the hotels where they stop, you could ask them which one is the closest to where you are staying and, if it is within reasonable walking distance, you could then still use their services and just walk a short distance.

 

You need to be aware that it is not possible at the moment to book their service via the Internet. There are indeed companies advertising that you can and, while many of these are legitimate companies, they are not affiliated to Connexxion and what they are selling you is a voucher. You will have to report to the Connexxion desk at Schiphol airport to change the voucher for an actual ticket. In addition you would be charged a fee by the intermediary just for such a voucher. Rather go straight to the Connexxion desk on arrival and get your tickets from them. Either way, you will need to go to the Connexxion desk, the only difference being that you are likely to pay less if you go directly to Connexxion.

 

Finally, a word of warning: some websites that sell vouchers for Connexxion transfers do not always quote the correct price on their websites. You may therefore find yourself paying less than what you should and then having to pay in the difference when you arrive at Schiphol. If you are not sure if the price quoted by an intermediary, contact Connexxion and ask them.

Category: Ground Transportation

5 Apr 2013 | 04:20 AM | Posted by: Yay Travel

Posted by:
Yay Travel

Hiking Safety Tips

There is no telling what is going to happen in the wilds. What happens during a hike is as unexpected as a sighting of a rare bear cub.

A shower of loose rocks, a broken ankle or a snake bite can easily turn an exciting hike to a disastrous trip if you are caught unprepared. It helps to be ready for any eventuality when taking a hike and a basic knowledge of hiking safety is indispensable.

Avoid all known dangers. If you know what is waiting for you out there, you will be better positioned at avoiding it. Before you leave for your destination, a virtual survey of the area should be carried out. Research online, read hiking guides or talk to fellow hikers experienced on the area.

Find out the known dangers in the hiking vicinity, be familiar with its flora and fauna and keep updated with the weather forecast in the area. Heed the warnings learned from your research and be ready for it. Know the fastest and easiest remedy to poisonous plants or animals found in the area and carry safeguards to repel wild animal attack.

Know the weather forecast for the days you are planning to stay in the area and make sure to organize your gears and clothes to accommodate changes in the weather.

You don’t want to leave for the trail without a good and reliable first-aid kit. Be sure to know how to use what’s inside the kit. They are not just for show; they can actually save lives if you know how to utilize them when the situation calls for it.

First-aid training is invaluable but if you don’t have the chance to undergo the same, some written instructional materials should be sufficient to give you a working knowledge of the most basic maneuvers. To maximize your knowledge of first-aid, make sure to focus your attention to the most common injuries that can happen during a hike.

Always bring a buddy with you. It will not only make the hike twice as enjoyable, it’ll also ensure that someone will patch you up and call for help in case you accidentally fall on your feet. If the need for quiet and meditation far outweighs the need for a friendly presence, at least inform a family member or a friend where you are going and when you are expected to return. If something happens out there, you’re sure that somebody will call the alarm if you didn’t go back home on time.

Finally, bring along a means of communication. A buddy waiting for your return is a good thing, but it is always better to call for help when you most need it. A mobile phone is most convenient unless your destination doesn’t have a mobile phone signal. A device that emits a radio signal, a flare, a signal mirror or a whistle – any of these will help you call attention to your self in the event of search and rescue. So, always carry one along with you when going somewhere remote such as a hiking trip destination.

Category: Safety

15 Jan 2013 | 10:12 AM | Posted by: Yay Travel

Posted by:
Yay Travel

Save Money in the Eurozone

Let's face it: Eurozone countries are, for the most part, can be expensive. However, an easy way to save a lot of money is to stay away from restaurants. A meal can easily set you back 50 Euros for two people, if not more. It is a lot cheaper to buy from the supermarkets and to prepare your own food. A lot of ingredients you get in EU countries are often very good qualiy, especially in France, so you will be in for a real treat while saving a small fortune.

 

Another way to save money is to decide how often you will use the Metro. If you plan to use it every day for each day of your trip, it will work out cheaper getting a card for that particular city's Metro system rather than buying tickets each time. That Metro card can save you a lot of money. Of course, before you rush out and buy that Metro card, explore the city first as some cities are extremely walkable. For example, Madrid and Lisbon's many attractions can almost all be reached on foot. The same applies to Paris, if you stay closer to the centre. Most attractions in Brussels are centered around the Grand Place, so just walk around the square and its surrounds for a day and you will have seen most attractions. Besides saving money, walking is great exercise and you won't really mind if you stop off at a coffee shop here and there along the way. Some of these cities are incredibly beautiful, so that is a big bonus as well.

 

Find out which museums and attractions are free and on which days. The Palacio Real in Madrid, for example, is free on Wednesdays. Finally, do not be afraid to ask for senior citizen or student discounts if you do fit into one of these categories and if you can prove your claim. Even some shops sell items at a discount to senior citizens.

Category: Money Saving Tips

14 Jan 2013 | 10:25 AM | Posted by: Yay Travel