orlando tourist scams

Orlando Tourist Scams and How to Avoid Them

As the home of Disneyland, Orlando is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. But there are scammers who are set to prey on tourists and make the city anything but the happiest place on earth. 

If you are planning a visit to Orlando, being aware of popular scams will help you stay protected. This article will let you know what you should be looking out for and how you can avoid taking the bait. 

Fake Tickets

Orlando is the home of Disneyland as well as many other attractions like Sea World and Universal Studios. You may find people selling tickets for these attractions at what seems to be a very reasonable price. But beware. 

Strangers and secondhand parties often dummy up tickets to make them look real, but the truth is, they are not worth more than the paper they are written on. They will ask you to wire them money for the tickets or pay in cash, and once that happens, your money’s as good as gone.

Avoid getting ripped off by buying your tickets directly from the company or through a reliable travel agency. 

Food Delivery Scams

Thinking of getting food delivered to your Orlando hotel? This may not be the wisest choice. 

If you come across a flyer advertising great prices on what seems to be delicious food, think twice before ordering. Many of these fliers were made by people who will take your credit card information and never deliver the food. 

To avoid falling from this scam, stick to ordering food from your hotel or from a reputable chain in the area. 

Florida Resort Travel

As a tourist, you can expect to approached by real estate agents in almost any city asking you to meet with them to discuss buying a time share.  The agents will lure you in by offering you discounts on food and attractions but they will really put you on the spot in trying to get you to agree to buying a time share, which is not a wise investment for everyone. 

While most agents at least make good on their discounts, there is a popular scam in Orlando where people can get doubly burned. In return for listening to their spiel, they will offer a cruise from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale with accommodations in both cities at an unbelievably low rate. 

However, when people try to cash in on this deal, they will find that there are a lot of other charges involved. 

In other situations, the agents may ask for your credit card information to make reservations and end up compromising your account. 

In general, it is best to turn down agents that are offering time share meetings unless you are truly interested in investing. Otherwise, be prepared to give a firm ‘no’.

Fake Beggars

You can find low income and homeless people in almost any large city and Orlando is no exception. While some of them genuinely need money, others make up scams to try and get you to fork over the bucks.

Usually these people will have some sort of elaborate story about how they need a specific amount of money to get their car fixed or get on the bus to see a relative who is dying of cancer (or provide alternate hard luck story here).

No matter how put out they may seem, it is best not to give money to these people. If you do feel like being charitable, save your donations for someone who is truly in need.

Fake Coupons

When visiting Orlando, you may be approached by scammers selling coupon books. The books usually cost $25 – $50 and scammers will tell you that by buying them, you can save hundreds of dollars on local goods and attractions. 

However, once you look through the book, you will realize that they are only valid during peak tourist season or that they apply only to second rate hotels and restaurants where you wouldn’t want to spend your money anyway. 

The fact is, you should never have to pay for coupons. Do a bit of homework in advance and you will be able to get great discounts without spending a dime. 

Double Check Reservations

Often, travelers get into trouble with scammers before they even reach their destination. Disreputable travel agencies may take your money and make reservations that don’t exist. You may not find out that your reservations are no good just days before your vacation. Not only will your trip be gone, so will your money.

In other instances, agencies may stick terms into their contracts in very small print. Travelers may not realize they have agreed to outrageous payment terms for their vacation until it’s too late. 

To keep this from happening, work with reputable agencies only and read the fine print carefully before signing on the dotted line.

Avoid Extended Taxi Rides

This is a scam that commonly happens at port cities where cruise ships disembark but it can happen anywhere in Orlando or anywhere in the world. 

When you get off the cruise ship, you will see cabs lined up waiting for people in need of a lift. Once you get in the cab and ask to get to your destination, they will take you on a ‘scenic route’ which will add miles (and money) to the fare. 

They may also quote you one price but add to the price once you get to your destination. 

To avoid taxicab scams, it is best to get an Uber or Lyft instead. That way, you know you are working with a reputable company that will charge you the quoted rate. 

Stay Out of Tourist Traps

You can stay safe from scammers in general by staying away from popular tourist destinations. You will be pretty safe when on the grounds of resorts or popular amusement parks, as scammers will not want to deal with security or with paying admission to attractions. 

But outdoor destinations near popular sites and attractions are prime real estate for scammers seeking out tourists to prey on.

To make sure you avoid scammers, stick to places where tourists aren’t as likely to be including resorts, amusement parks and local friendly locations.

Final Thoughts

Orlando is a great place to visit but it’s important to keep yourself protected by avoiding scammers. The tips in this article will help keep you safe. What precautions will you be taking to make sure your Orlando vacation is enjoyable?