News: Young people most at risk from holiday scams

pickpocket

Originally published The National Student on 10/08/15. 

Getting taken advantage of when you’re abroad on holiday enjoying yourself is never fun or easy to deal with. A recent study has outlined some of the key areas and places where British holidaymakers specifically have been swindled – including the top ten countries for scams overall.

It comes as no surprise that the worst countries for tourist scams currently stand as the ones most frequently visited by Brits, with the top three being Spain, France and Italy. Obviously this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid them like the plague, but taking extra caution when travelling through Europe should probably be a given.

More surprisingly however, our very own United Kingdom ranked at number eight on the same list, with London being very firmly the country’s most crime-ridden city. 34% of those questioned said that they had been pick-pocketed in the capital, with the majority of these being 18-24 year olds; men were apparently the most targeted.

Such statistics seem to continue abroad also, with 18-24 year olds being the most likely to be pick-pocketed across Europe and over 30% of the age group witnessing other forms of street crime in some form. As a result, 20% of young people have found themselves going well over budget in their holiday plans and some even end up returning home in debt.

This is not all necessarily down to obvious crime however. Taxi drivers have been known to take advantage of foreign tourists, with over half of 18-24 year olds reporting that they have been overcharged for their travels. Even the tiniest of details such as forgetting to print off your boarding pass at home can pose some hefty charges.

So how can this be avoided? Well, as outlined by money.co.uk in their more expansive guide, a lot of the knowhow to avoiding such pratfalls comes from simply doing your research.

Read up on the average costs for things like taxis before you travel, so you’re one step ahead. Also make sure you ask about the prices of certain amenities like air-conditioning and such before you use them. Get the facts up front, then you can decide how to deal with them and if they’re worth investing in.

Travel insurance is also an absolute must. Crime is not always easily avoidable – although researching the worst areas in particular cities and steering clear of them should be given – but as long as you have travel insurance, you shouldn’t in theory be left high and dry for long, whether it be loss, theft or even unexpected medical costs. Just make sure again that you do sufficient research and invest in a policy with the right level of cover.

Lastly, make sure you budget carefully. A scary 38% of holidaymakers didn’t budget their last holiday and returned home to a nasty surprise. The worst welcome home present you could possibly get after an incredible holiday abroad is a credit card bill far larger than you initially expected. Just keep an eye on how much you’re spending and where you’re spending it (and whether or not fee charges apply) and you should be fine.

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