The Tourist Trap Mentality is spreading worldwide at ever increasing speeds.
I am trying to arrange visas and plane tickets today. I will travel from Guatemala to USA, USA to Thailand, and Thailand to Ghana, Africa. 5-10 years ago it was simple, I could buy a plane ticket, check my bag, have lunch on the plane and upon landing, I got a visa on arrival. I could stay as long as wanted, and visa renewals were easy. Budgeting was easy, now I read the listed price, and double it for unexpected expenses, the fine print now has children, and grand children.
What is the tourist trap mentality? It is easier to understand when it happens to you, it is when an airline, restaurant, tourist attraction, hotel, or visa application systems has you confused, and you say,
"Where did that fee come from?"
"Why the extra cost?"
Somehow, somewhere, out of the blue it cost more money than you thought, there is mission fee creep, the budget is blown to pieces, they know you will use plastic to pay, you have no choice between you are in the tourist trap.
The Tourist Trap Mentality: The tourist trap mentality is the willful desire to nick, and gouge you, to charge you money, they do not care about repeat business. The consumer believes they can make the decision on their own, then when then when the are taken advantage of, they keep their mouths closed, never admitting they made a bad decision.
Airlines are tricky.
- I have no simple way to know the cost of my luggage... I must have United States dollars in my pocket to pay for airport exit fees because they do not even take the money of their own country, they only take dollars. You arrive at the airport, the airline will not allow you on the plane without an onward ticket. The country does not care, but the airline "Tourist Traps" my money.
Hotels are tricky.
- Reservation fees, cost to use Internet, the transportation that was free, it not 25 dollars, the cost grows while you sleep.
Restaurants are tricky.
- The price is 18, and you pay with a 20, then learn their is no change, you owe more because of a 20 percent tip added automatically to the bill.
- Impossible situations to understand. I went the Ghana Embassy in Togo, West Africa to get a visa to Ghana. The person said,
"You need to return to the USA to apply for visa."
"We change the rule a week ago."
Slide a finger across the screen and Pay
The easier it is the more you pay, the world wants you to make spontaneous stupid decisions to spend money.
1. Pay cash, do not put credit or debit cards on file.
2. Ask the price, and refuse to pay extra.
3. Have the correct change, pay exactly what they listed.
4. Ask questions 3-5 times of the company, call the airlines three times, asking the questions in many way.
5. Find the prices yourself, then go hire a travel agent to help you pay the same or less.
6. Take money from the ATM machine, and pay all business with cash, so you will not return home to find extra cost on your card, with no recourse.
7. Refuse to pay.
A Hospital in USA Story:
My friend in the USA in the Hospital for roughly 20 days, they wanted 120,000 USD for just the hospital stay, that did not include the doctors.
He said to me,
"That was the most expensive hotel on the planet.
6000 USD per day.
He refused to pay, and they lowered it to 15,000.
Bottom line, refuse to pay the world with the tourist trap mentality.
Bhutan is a prime example of the tourist trap mentality. I cannot imagine traveling in a country that mandates a minimum like that. Even in the United States that would be so ridiculous that few would even take it seriously. No thanks.
I will just fly to Panajachel and live for $150 per month hotel and no crowds of tourists. And no visa hassles. And no airline hassles. Just fly Taca airlines.
Or I will fly to Manila in the Philippines and enjoy a country that loves having Americans there. Friendly English speaking people who really are fun to be around.
I totally agree with the tourist trap mentality. And for the first time traveler it is too easy to buy into. But there are a lot of great alternatives for the seasoned professional traveler.
I last traveled out of country to China a year ago Aug and returned Nov. I got my visa easily through a private business and it was costly but the cost was all up front. There are many hostels at reasonable cost in the large Chinese cities and you can check in on line. I wasn't sure about doing so but it worked out with no hidden fees.
It has changed quickly in less than a year as the airlines, hotels, visas, etc have all become super screw the consumer businesses along with the lack of good manners and hassle with airport security.
It's getting to a point I am no hurry to plane out anywhere. I will drive and go where I want in North America for a while. I figure on camp out many nights and hotels/motels seldom.
Unfortunately it looks as if the business aspect will only get worse over time rather than improve for the traveler.
Several years ago, I couldn't get a visa at the airport in Accra. I paid $100 cash for the visa but they still kept my passport. I saw a stack of passports behind the immigration officer's desk. I got my passport back only when I left the country.
I guess I just like traveling to a country where English is taught from pre school through your Doctorate degree. And the Philippines is a former United States Colony. So we share a common background with the Filipino people and they really like us. It makes travel easier and since we share a common background there are lots of Americans living in the Philippines.
The Philippines is actually the only foreign country that has a Veterans Administration Regional Office and a VA medical facility outside the United States. It's almost at the point where ex patriot Americans don't really think of the Philippines as a foreign country. I guess the biggest reason I like travel there is because it is so easy and I can speak English. I think it is time I bought a ticket and flew to Manila.
Luggage fees are a complete rip off. As a surfer, I have seen surf travel prices go through the stratosphere with the airline service charges and fees for boards. It used to be a board bag was one of two pieces of luggage and it was free. Over the years, it has gone from zero to $200 per board. The 4 board quiver I used to carry is now $800 x 2 (RT) regional carrier fees. I'll pay....NO WAY! I now have a two piece board that makes the dimensional cut for most airlines as a checked bag, Ive stash two boards at a friend's house. Buried a board at the beach one time. I also bought boards from tourists who didn't want to pay RETURN or need cash quick.
Two months apartment rental for a place 100m to the point break was $58 x 2 months = 116 bucks $27 in pre pay meter charges for power. Including discounts a similar hotel in the area wanted about 1060 for 2 months (ya, right!)
VISITORS TRAVELLING TO THE US TAKE NOTE: Garage/rummage sales are great places to pick up things on the cheap or even free on CRAIG's. Clothes for cents on the $... Stuff to outfit a road trip ... Mmight be a cultural phenomenon, with classic souvenirs for take home to your place.