How to Identify and Avoid Tourist Traps at Popular Destinations?

How to Identify and Avoid Tourist Traps at Popular Destinations?

Have you ever been to a place that felt like a trap? Maybe you did and did not realize until you paid through your nose and counted your expenses at the end of the day and thought ‘what did I get in return for all the money I spent?’ The world is quickly becoming full of tourist traps which are specifically designed to entice unsuspecting tourists and take all their money. If you are planning to go on a road trip on a motorcycle, make sure to avoid tourist traps because you won’t get anything other than unnecessary expenses and headaches.

With business is laying traps to get your money, there is very little you can do to negotiate or bargain your way out of an expensive deal, and even if you manage to do that it will take a long time that you could have spent somewhere else enjoying nature! Here is how you can identify tourist traps and avoid them on your upcoming motorcycle tour.

  • ‘Popular’ Hotels & Restaurants

Never walked into a hotel or restaurant where you see people calling you from outside or waving you in towards the hotel or restaurant because that is evidently at the crap that is trying to capture your attention and hence your money. This is true at most places that are along the highway where you can expect to find such behavior with almost every establishment doing their best to snatch up any unsuspecting tourist and sell something expensive to them even if that be food for accommodation. However, if you do not have any other option and food is a priority then you may choose one of those establishments based on how popular the location is. If there are a lot of people eating at a restaurant it means that the price, as well as the quality of the food, is better than average and you are going to get a good deal.  While crowds are a bad thing in most cases, it is a very effective indicator of the popularity of a place that you are about to eat or stay in. In India, the more people you see eating at an establishment the more reliable it is when it comes to the quality of food and cost of service. Just make sure to avoid places that have been advertised very frequently or have a reputation that is not proportionate to what they have to offer. A good way to identify such locations is by gathering information about those establishments before you begin your road trip.

  • Monopoly Establishments

Whatever you do, do not ever entertain a business that has a monopoly in that area. If you are passing through a particular stretch of the highway where you do not see any other business establishments other than the only one that has brightly colored signboards, then avoid it like the plague! You can be quite certain that they will charge exorbitant prices even for simple services and you will be paying up a lot of money without justifying the quality of service because they do not have any competition to think about. If you are hungry, just wait for a little bit longer and find a place where there are multiple eateries or restaurants, closely placed which means nobody has a monopoly over the business and the prices will be kept competitive along with a good quality of service as well. There are very rare exceptions to this rule when you are up on the mountains where you would be lucky to find even one establishment serving food or any service at all. In that case, do not make the mistake of avoiding it because you might not find it when you come back again!

  • Extra Helpful People

People in certain locations are defined by their combined behavior and the ways of interaction that are specific to them. In most parts of India, you would find people that are helpful on average but nobody would go out of their way to make sure that you are safe or comfortable unless there is an ulterior motive for them to do that.  Always be wary of people who are trying to be extremely helpful and going out of their way to ensure your comfort. There is a good chance that they have something to get out of the bargain. Or in the worst-case scenario, they might be trying to steal your luggage or your money! This is particularly applicable for religious locations of northern India and central India where there are a million religious places that you can visit to find peace of mind but instead, you might end up losing a piece of your luggage! Never trust anybody with your precious luggage or motorcycle accessories unless you have no other alternative.  It is always a good idea to keep your luggage and expensive things back in the hotel room under lock and key. Take the key with you and do not deposit it at the front desk unless you are checking out. Also, never leave anything on your motorcycle luggage bag at crowded locations such as in religious places or very popular tourist locations because those places are frequently visited by pickpockets and thieves who are almost always hands-in-glove with a local policeman and so you can expect to get little to no help from them if you happen to become a victim of a theft.

  • Anything That Says ‘Free’ at a Tourist Destination

There are very few exceptions to this rule but if you say anything that says free there is a very good chance that you might end up giving away something in return that might be more valuable than your money. This is far more important to keep in mind when you are at an unknown location with very few people to help you out if you ever get into trouble. In many countries across Southeast Asia, you might find free accommodation for free travel facilities that might seem too good to be true. These rather attractive schemes are notorious for stealing luggage and looting people at knife ends.

  • Fake ‘Local Authorities’

Local thugs fostering as local authorities is another common problem across the world but more frequent in Southeast Asian countries. This is a big problem because employment rates are very low and people have to do something to make money on stop as a result a lot of these hugs make their way into popular tourist locations that are full of people with expendable money and are easy targets for excursion citing any legal oversight and charging exorbitant penalties in return. This is a very tricky proposition because you cannot cross-question any local authority just because you suspect them to be thugs.  If they are the actual deal then you might get into a lot more complications than just picking up the penalty and being on your merry way.  The best solution out of this tricky situation is to negotiate with them, giving them a lot of respect and making them feel superior so that their ego isn’t hurt, but you should not come across as somebody who is weak and helpless either.


The world is quickly becoming full of tourist traps which are specifically designed to entice unsuspecting tourists and take all their money. Here is how you can identify tourist traps and avoid them on your upcoming tour.

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