A lot of people will say that people who travel solo will more likely to be taken advantage of by criminals or scam artists. But what if they can’t see that you are a tourist? Because being alone can be a big benefit, rather than a downside.
In my previous blog about blending in I told you how to be a chameleon while traveling, and I still stand to that to this day. My hometown is Amsterdam and a lot of people in the streets are tourists, you can spot them a mile away and you just know that they are being taken advantage of. But in this occasion it might be better to blend in with the tourists than being a local.
Every situation has their own ways of blending in, and every type of blending in has its downsides and upsides.
Salesman and Scam Artists
Whenever I walk the streets in Amsterdam and I see people trying to sell something in the streets I tend to become American or Canadian. I don’t want to be sold anything in the street by someone who might scam me.
So whenever they walk up to me I just let them ramble on and then when they take a breath I say in my best American accent: “I’m so sorry, I have no idea what you just said.” I even have a whole back story how I’m touring Europe and just crashing with a friend for a couple of days. I do get really interesting conversations that way.
Another famous blending in for Amsterdam has to be the Taxi’s. Over the last couple of years tourists have been scammed for hundreds of euro’s while the price should be less than 50 euro’s. People have been taken hostage inside of the taxi untill they paid, which is completely ridiculous.
I don’t take a taxi often, but when I do I make perfectly clear that I’m a local or that I exactly know what the price should be when I’m not being considered a local.
One drunken night I only had 50 euro’s left in my wallet and a lot of taxi drivers would love to take me to my home. So I got prices for like 75 euro’s to 150 euro’s. So I started a trade war between the Taxi drivers. At one point one would have taken me for 45 euro’s, but when I asked for clarity on the price he bounced the 125 euro price mark at me to see how I would react. So I thanked him for his time and told him I’d wait an hour for the bus to arrive.
After at least 7 interactions with different taxi drivers, I finally found one that I thought would be trustworthy. I got the price to 35 euro’s and we went off to my home. After 15 minutes in the taxi we arrived and he asked for his 35 dollars. But I gave him a 50 euro bill and thanked him for being the one honest taxi driver.
I could see that he really appreciated the tip and it made my day to be home safe without being scammed.
Adapt to your situation and make sure that you are the one that comes out on top. Because you are alone and can be a target. Don’t be afraid to drive the prices down a bit when you can, be the one in control and you will overcome difficult situations.