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When you’re spending a week aboard a luxury yacht, your mind should be completely free of worries! It is important to relax and unwind but it is equally important to pay attention to your surroundings when you are offshore exploring exotic locales. For most of us, the idea of being scammed while visiting different ports is the last thing to cross our minds. But the truth is yacht charter guests are often at high risk of being targeted by scammers. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you step off the yacht to adventure…
Always Carry Cash and Avoid Using Credit Cards:
Although it might seem counter-intuitive to use cash for all purchases in port, using your credit card or debit card in port actually exposes you to more risk. While many people think of credit card skimming as a problem only in highly developed countries, it is common worldwide. Any time your card is outside of your possession, you run the risk of it being skimmed. Additionally, using a card puts you at risk of another scam, where a shopkeeper will scan your card for a purchase, tell you the purchase wasn’t completed and ask for cash instead to pay double the price.
Leave your credit cards tucked away in your cabin and use cash for souvenir and meal purchases. If you’re planning to cruise in the Caribbean, keep in mind that many businesses in top ports of calls accept U.S. dollars.
Take Only What You Need:
If you’re planning to make only cash purchases, do not carry all your money with you. Instead, determine approximately how much you will likely need for your day and only carry that amount. The risk with bringing more than that you need is that it puts you at a greater threat of pickpocketers, as well as potential scammers who see people with large billfolds as a target.
Leave Your Passport on the Ship:
If you think the most valuable thing you’ll carry is your wallet or purse, think again! Thieves and scammers would love to get their hands on your passport, especially a U.S. passport. If you don’t like traveling in a foreign port without identification, you can make a copy of the front page of your passport and carry that with you.
Watch out for Shortchanging:
Another common scam among cruisers is getting shortchanged, especially if using an unfamiliar local currency. Be mindful of paying for an item and make note of what you receive back as change. Don’t be afraid to count your change in front of the register so that you can raise an issue if it is incorrect.
Above all, the best way to avoid being scammed in port is to use common sense and don’t let your guard down just because you are on vacation!