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Travel Gotchas

Toronto, Canada
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Travel Gotchas

I wonder if it will be a good idea for each country or travel type, to have specific thread for gotchas. These are things you don't normally find out until you are there at your destination.

For example, travellers from Canada or the US may find Australia or Denmark to be really expensive.

A hamburger in Australia will start at 14AUD.

A ticket to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef does not include the 7AUD recommended lycra suit.

In Denmark, asking for a glass of water with your meal at a restaurant may cost 20Kr.

Tour guides in Russia collect 5USD to let you take photos. That or I just got ripped-off.

Russian locals would rather take Euros than Rubles.

You can't exchange your currency in China unless your bills are as good as new (no rips, folds or scribbles). But they'll give you RMBs that could be in tatters.

In the Caribbean - Diamonds International.

South Pole
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15,381 posts
36 reviews
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1. Re: Travel Gotchas

"A hamburger in Australia will start at 14AUD"

really?

there goes your credibility already.

Toronto, Canada
11 posts
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2. Re: Travel Gotchas

Oh, brother.

Just offering some advice for fellow travelers but it doesn't seem to be welcome..

I didn't eat here, but this is what I found in Google.

…concreteplayground.com.au/news/74980/the-te…

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
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25,576 posts
86 reviews
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3. Re: Travel Gotchas

That's hardly an apples-to-apples comparison. I could find similarly priced burgers in my own city. I just checked the online menu of a pub that I dined at last week. Their burger plus a choice of two sides (fries, salad, edamame, or veggies) is $14. Of course, a fast food burger would be cheaper.

These situations are often covered by Top Questions on the forums or TripAdvisor Traveller Articles. (Traveller Articles are written by TA members in response to popular forum questions). Here are a few examples of Traveller Articles about the kind of thing that I think you're looking for.

Winter Driving: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-c55003/Canada…

Canadian Prices - Not What They Appear: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-c144134/Canad…

DWI or DUI driving convictions: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-c49436/Canada…

Canada: Tipping and Etiquette: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-s606/Canada:T…

Edited: 16 June 2013, 01:06
South Pole
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15,381 posts
36 reviews
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4. Re: Travel Gotchas

how about saying then "u can pay $14 and higher for a burger in Australia if u frequent tourist areas and want to eat burgers in top to middle class restaurants eg. rockpool grill is one of the top places in the country. but if u go to a local take away (take out) or suburban café u can get a burger with the lot (bun, pattie, cheese, salad, bacon, egg, beetroot, pineapple) for $8-10, simpler versions a lot less."

and of course there is always mcdonalds and hungry jacks (burger king) for a lot less than $14.

o and u don't have to pay additional taxes (they are already in the price) and u don't have to tip the wait staff.

the danger of these "gotacha" listings is that people come to a country, spend a couple of weeks touring around a limited number of places (mostly tourist orientated) then think they know everything about everything and post silly things like 'hamburgers start at $14 in Australia"

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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5. Re: Travel Gotchas

Daniel ~

You are right about finding surprises when visiting other countries. Your idea is good in principle. I think as you use the forums, you will find the best place to ask about this and that will be on the forums. That and the Top Questions which will be different on each and every forum.

Other than that, I tend to budget about 20% extra to cover some of those gotchas. Outside air fare of course. Like the rental car in Siena about 10 years ago. Don't park it too close to the weekly outdoor market area on the weekly market day. That gotcha involves a parking ticket, a towing fee and a compound storage fee. So sad to wake up at 5 am thinking that something was odd about the car. Probably they were towing it at just that time.

Gotcha!

Toronto, Canada
11 posts
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6. Re: Travel Gotchas

MuftiMixandMatch: Thanks for the first reply that's on-topic.

" I think as you use the forums, you will find the best place to ask about this and that will be on the forums."

From my experience, you end up reading pages and pages of threads with replies that divert the original thread. (Just look at this one when someone was trying to change it to a debate about hamburgers in Australia.) You may pick up bits and pieces here and there but hardly anything you can summarize in your personal notes to take with you.

My idea is a dedicated sticky thread at the top of each country with straight forward gotchas experienced from fellow travellers so others won't have to repeat the same annoyances. Sure you budget an extra 20% for these kind of things but you want to spend that because you were expecting them instead of another surprise. Some things to prepare for may not cost extra money - like bringing a portable folding stool to Hong Kong.

rural West Aussie
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for Perth
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7. Re: Travel Gotchas

Um, why would you want to bring portable folding stool to Hong Kong? I've not felt the need for one (and I have bad knees and mobility issues).

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Travel Gotchas

It's an interesting suggestion for TA that's for sure. You're quite right that the forums are messy. No control at all. Like a box of chocolates, you don't know what you're going to get. Try the Air Travel forum where some posters don't come out alive, or the Nepal Forums where advice and suggestions blend seemlessly with self promotion. Asking about "to AI (All Inclusive Resort) or DIY (Do It Yourself)" on some forums will cause your skin to blister through the computer screen.

Truth be told, Daniel, there are so many other things that experienced members would like TA to put in place first and, I dare say, TA themselves would like to implement first that this idea may not get picked up on. But stay tuned, I have seen ideas suggested here two years ago that made it to the most recent roll out of the website about two months ago.

Are you familiar with the Travel Gadgets and Gear Forum? I think you might find it a good forum to both look and ask for info. Wish I'd thought if it sooner. To find it, look to the right side. Underneath the Beyond Destination Forums heading, click open "see all" to find it in the list of forums.

In general, I do wish people on many forums would take it easier on posters, esecially newbies. Just staying on topic would be a plus.

South Pole
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9. Re: Travel Gotchas

sorry, but I was staying on topic.

my point was that tourist's gotchas most always run the risk of being wrong, uninformed or downright alarmist.

the $14 Australian hambuger falls into the first category.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
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10. Re: Travel Gotchas

"Gotchas" tend to fall into several categories. Here are a few:

- Stuff that the locals all know and take for granted, but that visitors find surprising or shocking. For example, Canadians view drunk driving as a serious crime. So does Canada's Criminal Code. But visitors from countries with other laws and attitudes are shocked to discover that they may be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada if they have an impaired driving conviction. Liquor laws can fall into this category too. I don't expect to take my glass of wine from the hotel bar to my hotel room, and wouldn't even think of mentioning it in the top 10 things that travellers should know, but reviews show that some travellers don't realize it's not some silly hotel rule, but rather that if they allow it, they can lose their liquor licence. Or the fact that taxes are, by law, added onto the published price of most Canadian goods & services, rather than incorporated into the price shown in the store. We've lived with that policy for 23 years, it seems normal to us.

- Stuff that visitors get wrong, like the $14 hamburger. I've read more than once in reviews that "you can see the whole attraction in just an hour" and I shake my head, because I know that the reviewer probably never consulted the attraction map they received at the entrance, and so they missed most of what there was to see.

- The "tourist specials". If you travel like a tourist, you may end up paying like a tourist. There are lots of things to see in Canada's national parks, but sometimes it seems like all that prospective visitors have heard about are the handful of paid attractions, not the beautiful waterfalls, scenic vistas, and easy walking trails that are available as part of your admission to the park, at no additional charge. There are some local attractions that everyone knows are lots of money for little value, and there are other attractions that don't make it into the tourist guides but are popular destinations for locals.

Edited: 16 June 2013, 22:46