Avoiding Scammers during Vacation

Vacationis a welcome thought for just about everyone. It’s not uncommon for people to find themselves day dreaming about their expectations for their upcoming vacation.

Will you spend it on the beach? Or will you be taking a plane to a popular tourist attraction?

People frequently look forward to vacation time because it gives them a chance to take a break from their usually daily routine, and to relax.

It’s during your vacation or the planning of your vacation that you tend to neglect to pay attention to special details. This is a critical mistake that could make you an easy victim for a vacation scam.

Tourists are a favorite for scam artists because they’re easy to spot and manipulate. Tourists are easy to spot because of the cameras around their necks, a folded map in their back pocket or other obvious spot, and even fanny packs.

You can reduce your chances of being targeted by blending in with the local guests. A quick search on the web will reveal plenty of information about your potential vacation spot and what the locals are like. Utilize this information to make yourself blend in.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, keep a lookout on these top popular scams:

1.- Confusion involving the credit cards-

You may have had a great day and are now at a hotel to relax. Suddenly, the phone rings and the hotel clerk explain that there’s been an unfortunate mix up with your paperwork and the credit card number on file.

They want to verify they have the accurate number on hand by reading it out loud. They read the last four digits from your card and ask if these digits are right. They’re usually not.

The supposed clerk will then ask you to correct the card number. So you tell them the correct number.

After you’ve finished, the clerk then claims they’ve found the number, and everything is fine now. You may not realize it yet, but you’ve just been scammed!

How would this situation be better handled?

Don’t ever give important information out over the phone. Go downstairs and visit with the clerk to get the problems straightened out.

2. The Taxi Scam-

While waiting for a vacant taxi to come pick you up, and you notice a nicely dressed person who tells you they have a taxi cab ready just for you. You follow this person to wherever this cab may be.

Ignore this person! Scam artists are clever and often pretend to be taxi drivers. You’re not just risking your wallet; you’re risking your life! If you get into the vehicle with this con artist, they may take you to a quiet location and potentially kill you and steal your valuables.

If you are approached, keep in mind that legitimate taxi cars will feature a number and company logo outside the vehicle.

If you don’t see one, avoid this person. Make sure you check the rate sheet and the meter whenever you get into the car.

This will keep yourself from paying nearly double, should the unscrupulous taxi driver decide to charge extra. If you’ve never used a taxi before, ask your hotel for advice and see if they can put you in good hands.

3. The Overly Friendly Guest-

If you’re in a popular tourist destination, chances are you’ll be bumped into a lot. The person who bumps into you may spill food or drink all over you and offer to help you out. While you’re distracted, the stranger snatches your wallet from you without you even knowing.

How to handle the situation:

Stay vigilant in the crowd. Ignore any attempt to distract your attention. Don’t carry too much money on hand, and leave some back at your hotel room.

4. A great deal you can’t refuse-

These scammers will tell you they have a considerable deal you can’t pass up. They’ll offer you a huge discount to a great vacation spot or a luxury hotel. The goal is to take as much money as possible from you.

In order to achieve this goal, they may offer a special bonus or even a prize if you decide to take up their offer. The prizes sound like a wonderful addition, but they’re not as described.

Some others scammers are on the internet so be careful when choosing your rental vacation online.

What to listen for:

Avoid any conversations or offers from someone who says the offer is for a limited time only, or they tell you to keep it secret.

Verbal stuttering or nervous tension when you say you want to decline until you check to see if the company is legitimate.

In North America, most companies should have liability insurance. You can spot a scammer if they have no idea what that is or can’t provide proof of insurance.

To keep a paper trail, ensure you pay for all items with a credit card during your vacation time.

Avoid cash if at all possible. This enables you to dispute any charges if any problems should arise.

Some Ski Destinations to Consider

Girdwood Alaska

Girdwood Alaska- Great for people who don’t mind an adventure that will take them into un-paved trails.

This small-town success lays behind the earlier success as a gold-mining town. Surrounded by forests and the Chugach Mountains, Girdwood has become a favorite place for ski enthusiasts.

Hippies and ski enthusiasts were abundant in the 70s which led to the creation of a luxurious hotel located close to the ski resort. Despite the sensual touches of this particular hotel, the laid back and frontier style ambience of this town has stayed intact.

Several of the roads are difficult to navigate due to the lack of pavement, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more popular clothing brand other than Carhartt.

This little town is located about forty miles from the busy city of Anchorage. Life is incredibly quiet and humble for this minuscule town with a population of about 2,000.

Just on the edge of town is the Alyeska Resort, which is the largest renowned ski resort located in Alaska.

This particular resort features such amenities like six ski lifts, and a tram that is capable of holding up to 60 people. During the steep climb up the mountains, the tram features views to the ocean.

The tree line in this specific location is particularly low, the top half of the mountain is covered in alpine trees that are carefully scattered throughout. This resort is reminiscent of the Alps rather than an American ski resort.

There’re plenty of options that are perfectly suited to the expert and beginner skiing enthusiasts.

However, expert skiing individuals will be best suited to this particular resort. If you’re not afraid of including some hiking in your adventures, there’re several ridges near the peak of the mountain that contain a variety of chutes that you can hike through.

Whether it’s the freezing temperatures, or the distance from the rest of North America, Alaska isn’t notorious for huge crowds.

Which is a shame considering the beauty would give some other resorts a run for their money. The best times to visit are during March when 12 hours of daylight shine through the angry clouds. The lifts run through April and some weekends in May.

The Locals

Elyse Saugstad is native to Girdwood and knows the mountains like the back of her hands.

She’s a professional skier and claimed the champion status in the 2008 free ride championships. When inquired about her specific advice for this particular resort, she had the following to offer:

Best budget hotel is the Alyeska Hostel which is conveniently close by to the resort. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but guests are usually thrilled with the accommodations. This hotel was first established in 1980 and is rich with history.

Luxurious accommodations:

The Alyeska Hotel. This hotel is owned and operated by the ski resort. This five-star hotel has amazing dining options, and they even offer the option do reminder wake-up calls so their guests may sample the delights of the northern lights. Once you step out of the entrance, you can board the tram.

Dining Options

If you’re on a budget, Coast Pizza offers slices of pie, grilled cheese sandwiches, and the finest pizza around town.

High End:

The Double Musky Inn offers some of the optimal Cajun inspired cuisine for guests. It’s important to note that this option may not be best for vegetarians as the menu seems to be mostly comprised of meat options only.

The fillets are perfectly sized. You definitely leave this restaurant feeling like you got enough food for your buck. If you’re a gumbo connoisseur, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the Gumbo.

Down Time from Skiing.

At the bottom of the mountain sits a ski bar that has managed to stay intact despite the frequent changes the resort has endured through the years.

You can find amazing food, hard drinks, and some live music all in this action-packed bar.

When you want to take a break from skiing.

Take a drive into the nearest city; Anchorage Alaska. Being just 45 minutes away, you’ll find great shopping and other entertainment outlets.

Classical Ski Options.

Try the north side of the mountains down Christmas Chute.

Whitefish Montana

Who this destination is ideal for: Families and groups

Whitefish Montana’s has a rich history as a logging and rail road town. While this particular destination for skiing may not be the first suggested resort for skiing, it has a lot to offer to families or groups who have various experience levels of skiing.

White the natives of this town are renowned for being drama and glitz free, there has been a steady influx of luxury cars and fur coats rolling in.

Despite this, the town has maintained its rough hard-working character its well known for. The newly renovated Whitefish Mountain Resort which was formerly known as the Big Mountain resort, towers over most of the bars and restaurants in this western downtown.

Roughly 15 percent of the winter tourists will arrive in this town via a train service, which intertwines with the free shuttle service. Getting around town without a vehicle is very easy to do in this western town.

Whitefish is family friendly and offers mild trails for people just starting out with skiing. If you’re more advanced, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the more advanced trails. If you’re looking for a ski resort that won’t be engulfed by crowds of people, give this place a chance. Rarely are there any crowds on any side of the mountain.

If you happen to visit the mountains during a nice day where clouds don’t block your view, you’ll find yourself gasping for air due to the stunning views.

Advice from locals.

Ryan Friel has called Whitefish his home for over 17 years. He’s an established ski patroller and a fly fishing guide for the tourists of this area.

When he’s not fishing or helping tourists, he’s a chief editor for the local journal. When inquired about any advice he has to give to potential tourists, he had the following to offer:

Budget stays:

A place known as Hibernation House is located just on the mountain. This budget-friendly accommodation offers a warm breakfast to wake up to as well.

More Expensive accommodations:

The Lodge located near Whitefish Lake features an ice-skating attraction on the frozen lake, and a hot-tub close by to the shore. Once you’re in the hot tub, you can enjoy exquisite views of the mountains.

Places to eat:

If you’re on the search for a budget eatery, check out the Buffalo Cafe. Buffalo pies are accompanied by hasbrowns, ham, cheese, and eggs. No don’t worry; the pies are not made with Buffalo meat.

If you’re up for a high-end restaurant, give the Tupelo Grille a chance. The dinner menu includes chicken and dumplings, an amazing wine selection, and a bread pudding that is to die for.

Tired of skiing?

Check out the Bierstube. Here you’ll find good food, drinks, and a welcoming vibe.

Some views up high: