‘I got scammed in Spain – but you can avoid my rookie mistake’

Many Britons will be travelling abroad over the Christmas period for some sun, sea and sand. But if you’re booking a holiday, make sure you are vigilant against holiday fraud.

Travel enthusiast Lucia Polla told Express.co.uk how she fell for a travel scam on a beautiful Spanish break.

She said: “Well, I learned the hard way recently not to let my excitement get the best of me while traveling. I was in Seville, taking in the sunshine and gorgeous sights, feeling pretty confident navigating this new place.

“This local approached me, going on about some ‘once in a lifetime’ secret flamenco show off the beaten path. He even had flyers on hand and gave me one but I was all over the place and didn’t even pay attention.

“Now that really got my attention – I’d been dying to see some authentic flamenco! He made it sound so amazing and really worth my time – ‘super cheap’ he said on and on.

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“I just got caught up in the moment I guess. Before I knew it, I was forking over cash for this supposed exclusive tour. What a rookie mistake!”

But sadly Lucia was not about to see a glorious flamenco show, she had been well and truly duped.

She continued: “When I got to the address, it was just an empty street, I sought for information on the flyer. It said 2013! I’d been completely duped.

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“I obviously got ahead of myself there, I should’ve noticed the red flags. The guy was clearly using a lot of sales pressure, the papers convinced me it was legit, and the pressure towards money – well I assumed he just really wanted people in the locale.

“There are a lot of people working outside the bars in Spain offering drinks in the restaurants and calling you in. But I let the thought of this incredible, genuine experience cloud my judgement.”

So how can Express.co.uk readers avoid getting scammed on their travels? You can still enjoy your trips abroad, just make sure you’re careful and cautious.

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Lucia said: “I’m sharing this hopefully not to scare anyone away from seeking out local adventures. Just be smart about it – listen to your gut, and don’t ignore those warning signs just because something sounds too good to be true.

“Travel scams happen a lot, especially when we let our excitement about authentic and spontaneous experiences outweigh our common sense.

“But even lousy situations like this one can teach us something. Have that explorer’s spirit, just with some healthy caution too. That’s the best approach to make the most of your travels, while staying street smart. You live, you learn right? At least I’ve got a good story out of it now!”

Lucia Polla is a travel expert specializing in Southern Spain. She is the founder of Viva La Vita, a travel blog featuring hidden gems and popular destinations in Southern Spain.

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