Not that there really is a dark side to Prague, but it’s always good to know what to be aware of wherever you travel in the world. This time we would like to offer a few tips on how to prevent being caught in a scam. This post is inspired by Connor Woodman, a host at the Canadian travel channel TravelAndEscapeTv. Connor travels around the world and purposely looks for trouble, so you don’t have to 🙂
Most of the scams he comes across are the ones you can find everywhere really, like taxis scams, pickpocketing, drugs, etc.
Here is a summary of his findings for those who don’t have the time to watch the whole video. Yet, if you are traveling to Europe in general, it’s worth a watch!
Taxis are the most common scams of all. Beware before you get in one. The maximum taxi drivers can charge for 1km is 28czk (a little over 1eur). That’s a law! Before you get in the taxi, ask the driver what is the approximate amount for your trip. Make sure the meter is on. If you feel you’re being taken advantage of, call the police. The European emergency number is: 112.
When you are coming from the airport to the city center, the price should be around 600czk. When traveling within the city center, you shouldn’t pay more than 200 – 300czk. The most reliable taxi company in Prague is AAA Radio Taxi. You can see them all around the city.
- Exchange rate
Another hot topic 🙂 We recommend knowing your currency exchange rate before arriving to Prague. There are many exchange currency booths and offices who seem to offer good rate but then, they scam you by charging a ridiculous fee for the exchange transaction (15 – 20%). Once the transaction is done, it’s done. So be careful. Moreover, since some of you are not familiar with the nomination of the Czech currency, always count your change when buying stuff. It’s very easy to get lost in the math when you pay with a higher value note.
A simple rule of thumb for the most frequent currencies
EUR – 25czk
USD – 20czk
GBP – 30czk
It can happen anywhere, on a tram, in the street, in a restaurant AND while you’re sober.
But when are you the easiest target?
Of course, when you’re drunk! 😉 Don’t let anyone get too close to you when you are out late at night (well, if you are still on the top of your game and know what’s going on). It’s usually two or three ladies offering various services, being very friendly and cuddly while picking your pockets. So despite you being a good boy and saying no, it’s usually too late, your pockets are already empty – money and phones. Ladies have an advantage here if they carry closed handbags.
Ladies and Gents, don’t ever leave your drink unattended! No, we are not your parents but we really want you to have a good time in our city and getting drugged is probably not the best way to go about it. Also, when going on various pub-crawls, watch what and how much you drink. Most of the pub-crawl crews offer unlimited drinks within the first few hours which is great but what kind of alcohol? Probably the cheapest that makes you really sick. We are not saying not to party, we are saying Be Responsible.
The documentary offers some insights on the ‘special’ clubs in town. The ones where you enter, a pretty girl joins you at the bar, and a few minutes later you’re forced to pay 500eur for enjoying her company. Taxi drivers have special arrangements with such clubs and are paid high commissions for every ‘victim’. So if you decide to have ‘fun’, do your research ahead of time. Don’t just jump in a taxi asking the driver to take you places. You’re not Bradley Cooper in “Hangover”!
We say NO to drugs, especially from street dealers. On the other hand, we are not you. If you feel like it, make sure you don’t get scammed with something that may hurt you or is pure white powder for an insane amount of money. Because surely, police would be the last instance you would want to turn to.
Stay away from trouble! Your vacay will be that much more enjoyable. If you’re not sure where to go and what to do, ask at reception of your ho(s)tel. They usually have tons of suggestions to make your travels memorable.