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Tips on Not Getting Ripped Off

by Steve Mullaney

Nobody likes getting ripped off, especially if you are living or traveling on a fixed budget. Ranging between inconvenient for overpaying at the market to urgent if your credit card gets stolen, it is best to make sure that you prevent rip offs before they happen. Following these clever tips and tricks will help you to save your money and enjoy your stay here in Xela. INGUAT, the Guatemalan ministry of tourism, has a number of tips for staying safe and not getting ripped off. We here at XelaWho, of course, have some supplemental tips that we’re sure you will not see in any guidebook.

Tell someone else at your hostel that it is a good idea to carry a lot of cash on you. If you can get some other chump to believe this then it will be he and not you getting mugged. The more decoys the better. Bonus points if you convince the other person to also carry his/her iPhone everywhere.

Learn to haggle. If you are paying Q30 for a Q25 phone card then something is wrong. With a little skill and persistence you can get the other guy down to at least Q26.50.

Buy in bulk. If you are buying many things at once then you will be able to take advantage of discounts. Whether you are buying hammocks or adopting children, picking up more than one brings in the deals.

Learn the names of local landmarks. Someone offering to guide you up Volcan Santa Maria for Q100 is giving you a good deal. Someone offering you Q100 to guide you up Volcan Mi Verga does not have good intentions.

Barter instead of paying in cash. Instead of paying for things using money, in many instances you can offer goods or services instead. English lessons, cooking classes or black market organs are all things that are acceptable to offer.

Remember love is priceless. So, if someone is offering you some loving for a couple hundred quetzales you will come out ahead in the long run, because, after all, love is the most valuable thing around.

At the end of the day, making sure that you are doing what it takes to not get ripped off is important. If you follow these tips you will have more money for your living expenses—who knows, you may even have enough to buy Volcan Santa Maria itself.

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