Tourists Beware - Scams We Were Warned About

While our coach rolled through the center of Paris our tour guide offered us a few insights of what scams he himself or others on previous tours experienced in Paris and other major cities.

These included:

  • Theft: Warnings about protecting our passports and cash so far as to pin them under our clothes. If it's easy to grab, it'll be grabbed.
  • Make-shift Bracelets: Men walking around swinging strings which they quickly attach to your arm and while you are struggling to remove yourself from their grip, they have already created a bracelet which they will then charge you for.
  • The Golden Ring: A person will point out to you that you dropped your gold ring on the ground. You will deny it is yours and the person will encourage you to take it anyway as a lucky find. They will hand it to you and explain it's purity and monetary value. They will tell you they are giving it to you rather than keeping it themselves, but then tell you to give them 50 pounds for giving you such a valuable piece of jewelry.
  • "Free" Roses: Men will give women roses for free as they walk down the street and then badger the men accompanying the women for payment after the woman has accepted the rose.
  • Deaf Children Petition: A group of small children will feign deafness and pretend to sign to each other while asking tourists to sign their petition. While your kind heart is doing so the little fakers will be picking your pockets and robbing you blind.

But don't be discouraged... the best ways to combat the scammer is to keep your hands in your pockets, don't ever accept anything for free, and, in general, keep to your own business. Stick with your group and when you see someone approaching, don't make eye contact. Ignore the vendors trying to hock their junk toys and cheap souvenirs. Be aware and walk confidently.

We had our chance to test this out almost immediately as we stopped for a photo op with the Eiffel Tower. We were hardly off our coach when the first vendors approached us. Just power through, don't stop, don't engage.

It doesn't feel natural to me to be so distant from people, but I honestly have zero patience for such a practice. I understand these people are just trying to make a living for themselves and their family, but the ethics and extortion of it all frustrates me to no end. It's a bane of any traveler and it certainly hinders one's opportunity to properly appreciate the foreign land they are in and it's culture. This adventure will surely test my faith in humanity, but I will forever strive to focus on the light rather than the dark - never allowing the actions of a few to deter me from exploring the world.

Eiffel Tower selfie-fail! LOL!

A London State of Mind

What would you do if you only had 24 waking hours to explore London? How would you best fill your time? Tours? Free-range adventure?

That's the conundrum I'm currently facing. I have about 12 hours in London once I get to my hotel on Christmas Eve Eve and another 12 hours the day before my flight takes off back to the states. So what's a girl to do alone in London without a friendly face to greet her?

Well, I've already decided on filling three of those 24 hours with a primo seat at the Queen's Theatre watching Les Miserables:

I'm not sure why it took me so long to think about taking up a show, but I finally did and now I'm giddy with excitement! Be prepared for photos and a post to follow!

Now I'm down to 21 hours. Hmmm... well obviously I'll have to take in a few of the classic sites such as Westminster Abbey and all the architecture that comes with a palace or two... but what else?

Book stores and libraries. Now we're talking. I'll be walking everywhere and, fortunate for me, I chose a relatively centralized location for my hotel so I should be in really good shape not to waste too much time on the travel... but lots of walking means lots of stopping into little shops and cafes and I think THAT is where most of my time will be spent. Just lollygagging and taking in the lifestyle of London rather than racing around the city trying to hit one attraction after another.

See, I'd hate to plan my visit down to the minute - to such a degree that I won't be able to just take my time and experience what there is to experience. It's a trap many travelers fall into - the play-by-play itinerary. Aside from seeing a play and seeking out literature, I think I'll just point my feet down one road and let them lead me where I need to go. Adventure is made for the spontaneous and that exactly how I plan to spend my time in London!

What is your travel style?

See This Girl Travel!

I'm finally doing it! I set a goal for 2016 to travel and it's finally happening! One week from tomorrow I will be boarding my flight to London where I will spend a day exploring before meeting up with a group of strangers to tour eight countries in 11 days! I am beyond excited, but I'll let you in on a little secret....

I'm intimidated.

I've only ever left the US twice and that was to Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia... but does that really count? Nah. I'll be flying solo and staying in London solo and hoping I can find my group of soon-to-be-new-best-friends solo. I can do this, right? I've been preparing for this moment by learning how to be comfortable alone... but still. It's intimidating. I imagine the butterflies in my stomach as the plane takes off will be nearly unbearable and the chaos of a new-to-me airport (Heathrow) will be overwhelming, however, I'll survive. I know I'll survive and I'll have an amazing time while surviving. Time to start focusing on my excitement rather than my fears. Time to go play!

I'll be traveling with Tour Radar (see the ad banner at the bottom of this post) and we have a full, amazing itinerary ahead of us.

Paris for Christmas then Milan, Venice, Salzburg, Prague, Berlin for New Years, Amsterdam, and, finally, Brussels!

Follow me on my journey by keeping an eye on my Instagram account and Facebook OR track me by using the hashtag: #seegirltravel.