Weekly travel tip: Avoiding scams

Dear Blank [please insert your name / nickname / or alter ego’s identity here, and pretend like we are amigos. Or amigas. I should stress that it is somewhat imperative that we establish a bond along the lines of friendship, and or sistahs (but not the type in habits), because what I am about to tell you is immensely hush hush at the mo’]

I have a confession to make: I was once duped into a scam while on holiday *gasp*

Before you go getting all judgemental or throw me a pity party (which, for the record, must jello shots because I’m all class), I should like to add that I was very young, very broke, and very gullible. Now I know this is where I should probably tell you the goings-on of said scam, but I’m afraid you let me have far too many jello shots!

I jest. Here’s the big secret…

I almost got pulled into one of those CD scams in Times Square, NYC (see infographic below for more details). Fortunately, I was am too cheeky for my own good — so when the gentleman handing me his demo CD told me to take it, ‘for free’, I told him to give me a sneak peek at what was on the CD. To cut a very long story short- he tried hitting a few notes, failed miserably, and I told him his music wasn’t to my palate. Not to mention his voice wasn’t really suited for hip-hop (if I’m being extremely blunt, he sounded like a strangled cat). Which, for the record, wasn’t a lie– and I can say this without bias, I should like to think, because I studied singing for several years.

I tell you all this buddy Blank (because, at this point, we are obviously buds), not to vent my frustrations or to convey how awful the fellow sounded on the high notes (the sound was haunting awful), but to (i) procure an endless supply of jello shots, and (ii) to keep you from making the same mistake.

Thus, I give you ‘40 Tourist Scams to Avoid This Summer‘, via Just The Flight

Beautiful infographic, isn’t it? Be sure to head over to Just The Flight’s travel blog for more infographics, and travel tips!

Bucket list #10: Banff National Park

Most people don’t believe me when I tell them I’d spent four years in Canada, and not visited the stunningly sanctuary that is Banff. And quite honestly, I don’t blame them–

Emerald Lake

Image via Flickr: ‘Emerald Lake | A beautiful morning at Emerald Lake in Banff National Park’. Photographer Krishna Santhanam

Anyhow, it goes without saying that Banff is on my bucket list, and that not going while I was in Montréal is one of my biggest regrets. Heigh ho– here’s a list of fun facts I dug up on Banff* (because I was curious bored am quite the nerd, apparently):

  • Banff is the second highest town in Canada. Elevation wise, it stands at 1,463 m (or so says Wikipedia), second to Lake Louise (1,600 m).
  • Banff was named by George Stephen, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, after his Scottish hometown, Banff.
  • Banff NP is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to several Canadian National Historic Sites.
  • Baff NP was Canada’s first national park, established in 1885. On a completely different note– the oldest national park is, contrary to popular belief, not Yellowstone (est. 1872), but Bogdkhan Uul, Mongolia (est. 1778).
  • The name “Banff” is derived from Banffshire, Scotland, the birthplace of two of the original directors of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

* by ‘dug up’ I obviously mean paraphrased from multiple sources that popped up after a Google search for ‘Banff fun facts’.