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7 Tourist Traps to Avoid in India And How To Avoid Them

7 Tourist Traps to Avoid in India (Travel Guide) And How To Avoid Them

India is one of the most popular destinations in the world and we will tell you the tourist traps to avoid in India for your next trip.

India is a vast and diverse country with rich cultural heritage and stunning landscapes. However, it also has its share of tourist traps. Here are some common tourist traps to be aware of and tips on how to avoid them.

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Read here things to do in Mumbai, things to do in Udaipur, Jodhpur travel guide, things to do in Jaipur, Pushkar travel guide and Kochi Itinerary

WHERE TO STAY IN INDIA

For accommodation, you can find cheap rooms starting from $10-15 USD. The mid-budget can go from $20-50 USD room for two people with breakfast included. And for luxury accommodation expect to pay more than $50 USD for a room for two people with breakfast.

Read more about all the places to stay in India and book your stay with Booking and Agoda!

BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE

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General Tips to Avoid Tourist Traps

Use travel guides, blogs, and forums like TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet to get recommendations and avoid common traps​​.

Ask locals for their favorite places to eat, shop, and visit. They can often guide you to the best spots that are not listed in guidebooks.

Book tours and activities through reputable agencies or platforms like Viator and GetYourGuide. They often have verified reviews and ensure quality service​​.

Keep updated on local news and common scams in the area you are visiting. Websites like Scam Detector can provide insights into the latest scams to watch out for.

Visit popular attractions early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid crowds and potential scams​.

Tourist Traps to Avoid in India

1. Taj Mahal Tour Guides and Photographers

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Trap: Unauthorized guides and photographers near the Taj Mahal can charge exorbitant prices for their services.

How to Avoid: Hire only official guides from the government tourism office. For photography, set clear expectations on prices beforehand or take your own pictures​.

2. Expensive Rickshaw Rides

Rickshaw,

Trap: Rickshaw drivers in tourist areas might overcharge or take longer routes to increase the fare.

How to Avoid: Always negotiate the fare before the ride or use ride-sharing apps like Ola and Uber, which have fixed rates​​.

3. Overpriced Souvenirs

Trap: Shops near major tourist attractions often sell souvenirs at inflated prices.

How to Avoid: Shop at local markets or government-run emporiums like Central Cottage Industries Emporium. Places like Delhi Haat or Janpath Market offer better prices and unique items​​.

4. Fake Handicrafts

7 Tourist Traps to Avoid in India (Travel Guide) And How To Avoid Them

Trap: Some shops sell fake or low-quality handicrafts claiming they are authentic.

How to Avoid: Purchase from reputable stores or government-authorized shops. Look for certifications of authenticity for higher-end items​.

5. Scams at Pilgrimage Sites

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Trap: In places like Varanasi, some people might offer prayers or blessings and then demand money.

How to Avoid: Politely decline such offers and stick to recognized and authorized guides. Donate directly to temples if you wish to contribute​​.

6. Taxi Scams

Trap: Some taxi drivers might tell you your hotel is closed or fully booked and take you to a more expensive alternative where they get a commission.

How to Avoid: Confirm your booking in advance and insist on going to the booked hotel. Use apps like Google Maps to track your route​​.

7. Overpriced Food at Tourist Spots

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Trap: Restaurants near major attractions often charge high prices for food.

How to Avoid: Eat at places recommended by locals or look for busy eateries filled with local people. Apps like Zomato and TripAdvisor can help you find well-reviewed, reasonably priced restaurants​​.

How To Avoid Tourist Traps in India

1. Research and Plan Ahead

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Why: Being informed helps you avoid overpriced or low-quality attractions.

How: Use travel blogs, forums like Reddit, and review sites like TripAdvisor and Google Reviews for current and reliable information. Websites like Lonely Planet and Fodor’s Travel offer valuable insights and recommendations​​.

2. Use Trusted Transportation

Why: Taxis and rickshaws can be subject to scams, including overcharging or taking longer routes.

How: Use ride-sharing apps like Ola and Uber for predictable pricing. If you use local taxis or rickshaws, always negotiate the fare before starting the ride. Confirm the fare with locals to get an idea of what you should be paying​​.

3. Shop Smart for Souvenirs

Why: Souvenir shops in tourist areas can be overpriced and offer generic items.

How: Purchase souvenirs from local markets or government-run emporiums like Central Cottage Industries Emporium. Visit places like Delhi Haat or Janpath Market for unique, reasonably priced items. Verify authenticity for higher-end items, especially when buying handicrafts​​.

4. Avoid Timeshare and Sales Pitches

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Why: Timeshare and aggressive sales pitches are common in tourist-heavy areas.

How: Politely decline any unsolicited offers for tours, accommodation, or purchases. Research and book services through reputable agencies or online platforms like Viator and GetYourGuide​.

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5. Choose Authentic Dining Options

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Why: Restaurants near major attractions often charge high prices for food of lower quality.

How: Eat at places recommended by locals or those that are busy with local patrons. Apps like Zomato and TripAdvisor can help you find well-reviewed, reasonably priced restaurants​.

6. Be Cautious with Guides and Tours

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Why: Unauthorized guides and tour operators might overcharge or provide subpar services.

How: Hire only official guides from the government tourism office or book through reputable platforms. Verify credentials and read reviews before booking any guided tour​​.

7. Use Official and Secure Payment Methods

Why: To avoid overcharging and scams related to payment.

How: Use secure and official payment methods. Pay in local currency and use credit cards or digital payment options where possible. Avoid handing over large amounts of cash​.

8. Stay Informed About Local Customs and Scams

Why: Understanding local customs can help you avoid misunderstandings and scams.

How: Read up on common scams in the areas you plan to visit. Websites like Scam Detector provide information on the latest scams. Respect local customs and dress codes to blend in and avoid standing out as a tourist​​.

9. Visit Less Touristy Areas

Why: Popular tourist spots can be crowded and more prone to scams.

How: Explore lesser-known destinations and attractions. Smaller towns and rural areas often provide a more authentic experience and are less commercialized​.

10. Verify Accommodation and Booking Information

Why: Some accommodations may not be as advertised or could be part of a scam.

How: Book through reputable websites and verify booking details directly with the hotel. Read recent reviews from other travelers to ensure the place meets your expectations​​.

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