Avoiding scams and touts in Delhi, India

Avoiding scams and touts in Delhi, India

First of all, the chances are really high, that you will be scammed anyway. :)

But perhaps this travel tip helps you to recognize them earlier.

Many first time travelers to India find themselves falling victim to scams and touts, and unfortunately Delhi has a lot of both. Be on guard for anybody trying to help you by giving you unsolicited directions or travel advice. Take any advice from taxi and auto drivers with a grain of salt, particularly if they tell you the place you want to go to is closed, dangerous, etc. If this is your first time to India, do not openly admit it as this will make you a mark for scam artists.

We found out, that if people starts a conversation out of nowhere and offer their assistance, that it was very wise to be watchful. We made very good experiences, when we were the ones who chose who to speak to, ask for help or assistance.

Delhi is an increasingly unsafe place for women. It is not uncommon to receive lewd remarks or even physical touching. It helps to dress conservatively (preferably in Indian clothing so as to blend in). Learn to shout and consider carrying mace/pepper spray. Police vehicles (called PCR vans) are parked on almost every major intersection. Dial 100 in case of emergencies.

A common travel tip is to carry your cash, passport, and cards in a secure money belt, with only enough cash for a few hours at a time in your wallet or other accessible place. Some travelers recommend carrying an expendable wallet with a few ten rupee bills in it in an obvious place such as your hip pocket as a decoy to Delhi's ubiquitous pickpockets.

As a general rule, expect anyone handling your cash in Delhi to attempt to short-change you. You may be favorably surprised once or twice during your visit. Learn the currency, count out your payment and change carefully, and be insistent in any dispute.

Several tourist agencies have been known to swindle tourists, such as change their travel plans or charge them extra commissions and fees. Consider to go to the Official Indian Tourist Office. There is a separate travel tip with infos about it here:

Do not take a personal touring car as the agency will most likely charge you ridiculous prices, for example, 7 rupees/km of the trip. The driver will most likely take you to sites, restaurants and accommodations that you did not request to see in order to pull more money out of your pockets. Choose also here the infos of the Official Tourist Office.

The best way to secure train tickets is by navigating through the India Rail website. Otherwise, prepare to spend a good hour sorting through the charges that the tourist agency will rack up, most likely several hundred dollars in convenience charges or unspecified taxes.

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