My experience in India was amazing, simply amazing, incredible culture, phenomenal food and some of the most welcoming and friendly people on the planet. The problem that arrives when a nation has reputation for friendly people is that the few who are not so friendly take this opportunity to create scams to hoodwink people out of money and let me tell that in India, scamming is rife. Even the most educated and experienced travelers have been caught out in India, I can’t tell you how many fellow travelers that I have spoken to who have avoided even the most elaborate scams across the World and then been undone by the Indian fraudsters. If you are planning a trip to India then you are going to need to have your guard up, here are some of the popular scams, and how you can avoid getting caught out by them.
This classic scam is done to perfection in India, you jump into a taxi and tell them the name of your hotel, they give you the usual ‘absolutely Sir, we will absolutely go to ‘X’ hotel, right away Sir’. 15 minutes later and you arrive at ‘a hotel’ not yours, when you question why the taxi driver tells you that he has no idea where your hotel is but this hotel is a beautiful one with very good price etc. etc. so that he can make some commission. To avoid this trick, ensure you have every piece of knowledge about your hotel, name, route, nearby buildings. Even ask the hotel if they can pick you up.
Watch out for Elephants
Elephants draw interest and attraction, if you happen to see one that looks unattended think again, there will be someone waiting just around the corner to charge you 100 rupees for that photo you just took. If you want a photo then you should be paying no more than 10-20 rupees. Don’t rush over to the elephant, wait until you see someone with it and make them an offer.
Familiarize Yourself With Prices
If you’re a westerner then you can guarantee that every shop owner will see nothing but dollar signs when you enter their shop. You are going to get ripped off here, the trick is to avoid getting totally ripped off. Before you go to India just have a look online for some rough prices for items that other travelers have paid. You need to haggle to within an inch of your life and remember that if you’re not happy with the price, don’t pay it.
Taxi Price First
Many taxi and rickshaw drivers like to play the broken meter game and then charge you an arm and a leg for your relatively short journey. You can avoid this by getting a price up front, if they don’t give you this then walk away, you will soon see them change their tune once they think that they have lost some money.
Where possible, use an ATM for cash, 99% of the exchange places will give you horrific rates or even funny money. Try to exchange your money in the airports or the ATMs