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Wade from has been continuously traveling around the world for more than 9 years through ov for more than 9 years through over 45 countries on 5 continents. He is open to answer all questions -  email Walk Slow.



Beware of Friendly "Gypsies" in India

Filed under:
Travel Scams and Rip Offs
Vagabond Journey Travel Tips

"Hello my friend!"

This line should register as "get away fast" to any traveler wanting to hold on to their travel funds and not be scammed. There are plenty of con artists shouting out "Hello my friend" to travelers from South America to Morocco to India.

Anyone who shouts "Hello my friend" to you in the streets is not your friend.

Everyone wants to have intercultural experiences while traveling, and sometimes - especially in tourist areas - genuinely meeting local people can be a slight challenge. This much simplified story comes from Jaipur in the Rajasthan region of India:

A boy was on a study abroad trip to Jaipur and wanted to get to know the local people. A man walked up to him on the street and introduced himself as a Gypsy artisan who made dolls for a living. He then invited the boy into his home.

For two days the boy hung out with the "Gypsy" family and though that he was making friends and having an intercultural experience. On the third day he discovered that he was in for more of a cultural experience than he bargained for.

The Gypsies tried to hold him hostage until he paid hundreds of dollars for their dolls. The boy did not want to pay this much and struggled away from his captors. He ran back to the hotel where his class was staying and alerted his teachers.

One of his teachers, a bold faced Muslim woman, went out and met with the Gypsies. They told her that if she did not hand over a few hundred dollars they were going to kill the boy. The teacher was not a woman prone to backing down to anyone, but she realized that the "Gypsies" were not messing around.

The school paid the price.

Travel tip: anyone who approaches you in the street by saying "Hello, my friend," is no your friend. Be careful who you trust.

From my experience, 90% of the people who approach you on the street wanting to be your friend usually want more than friendship. It is a matter of approach: if you initiate a friendship while traveling there is a much greater chance that it will be genuine. There are many people on this planet that make a living off of pretending to be the friends of travelers just to scam money. If someone approaches you on the street acting like a "friend," they oftentimes want to scam money out of you. Everyone knows that travelers and tourist usually want to make exotic, local friends, and it is a common scam to play off of these desires.

If someone yells "Hello my friend" to you, they are not your friend. 

Filed under:
Travel Scams and Rip Offs
Vagabond Journey Travel Tips

Related pages:
Travel Tip #5- Not Your Friend

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Beware of Friendly "Gypsies " in India
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