Miami Tourist Scams and How to Avoid Them


Miami is a terrific place to visit. Known for its beaches, vibrant night life and rich sporting community, it is a destination that everyone should go to at least once in their lives. 

But like every tourist city, Miami is also full of scammers who are waiting to take advantage of naïve visitors. However, if you know what to look out for, you will be able to have a safe and enjoyable trip. 

This article will review popular tourist scams so you can be prepared for your next Miami vacation.

False Advertising at Nightclubs

Miami is known for its vibrant nightlife but it’s easy to get scammed when you’re walking around strips like Washington St. trying to check out the cool clubs. 

You may be approached by someone working the door at one of these clubs and he or she will give you a wristband promising free admission. When you enter the club, you will be greeted by another door person who will charge you for entry. Even if you try to argue, they will probably not let you into the club if you don’t pay a cover. 

The best defense here is to turn down offers for free admission on popular night club strips or be prepared to pay when you get to the door.

Bars and Restaurants Overcharging

Another popular scam that takes place all over the world and in Miami in particular is bars and restaurants overcharging. 

Restaurants often include auto-gratuity and then add a line to the bill where you can fill in a tip amount. There should be no need to add a tip if gratuity was already deducted. 

Restaurants may also try to add items that you never ordered to your bill to increase the amount you are paying. 

Bars are also in the scam. Many of them take advantage of drunk customers by adding auto-gratuity or additional items to the bill. 

No matter where you may be eating or drinking, it’s always a good idea to review the bill before paying. 

Vacation and Apartment Rental Scams

If you are looking for a vacation home in Miami, beware, especially if you are looking on Craigslist or any other sites that make it easy for scammers to list. 

Many scammers create listings that are not real. They will ask for your money to make reservations, but when it comes time to take your vacation, you will find out that these properties don’texist. And if you wire money to them as a deposit, it’s as good as gone. 

It’s advisable to stick to reputable agencies when making any sort of travel arrangements. Be wary of listings that don’t have a lot of pictures and information, and never wire money to make reservations. 

Tourist Information Booths

When strolling the streets of Miami, you will find several “Tourist Information Booths” in the area. These booths offer tourist services like scheduling them on bus tours of the city. 

However, these booths will often schedule you on a tour with the company that offers them the best commissions and not necessarily the company that offers the best tours. 

To avoid getting scammed, do a bit of research to find out the best tour companies to ensure you are making reservations with a recommended business. You may also want to avoid these tourist booths altogether and schedule tours directly through the companies that offers them. 

Eating on Ocean Drive

Ocean Drive is a popular tourist destination known for the many restaurants that line the strip. However, many of them are overpriced and not worth the money.

If you are set on having an Ocean Drive experience you can stop into a bar for a quick drink. Then go eat elsewhere. 

Sexy Women Who Hit on You in Hotels

Miami is a sexy city, and many hotels will use that sex appeal to lure you into a trap.

You may be approached by a woman at a hotel who begins flirting with you. No matter how attractive you may be, don’tassume she’s into you. 

Many hotels hire attractive women to flirt with their customersso they will buy them drinks and be more likely to stick around and drink. While you might want to meet women in Miami, beware of extremely attractive ones who hit on you in hotels. 

Flying into Ft. Lauderdale

This isn’t so much a scam as a ‘buyer beware’ sort of thing. 

Many travelers fly into Ft. Lauderdale instead of Miami because they get a lower plane fare. However, the travel into Miami will more than make up for anything you save in travel. 

You will end up spending $50- 60 on an Uber that will take you through some of the worst traffic you ever encountered. If you choose to take public transportation, you will be dealing with a shuttle ride, train ride and bus ride that will be even more annoying. 

Do yourself a favor and spring for the plane fare to begin with. 

Taking a Cab from Miami International Airport

South Beach is a popular destination for tourists flying into Miami International Airport and there will be many cabs waiting to take you there when you arrive. It is important to be awarethat the city requires drivers to charge a flat rate of $32 (or perhaps an updated rate) before tips no matter what route they take. Remind the driver of flat rate prices to avoid getting overcharged. 

A cheaper option is to take the Miami Beach Airport Express which runs every 30 minutes and provides service between MIA and a Metrorail station that will take you into South Beach.

Getting into Clubs

The night life is a big attraction in Miami but if you are expecting to go there to party, make sure you and your wallet are prepared. 

Most night clubs only let in certain guests and if you are with a group of men, you will probably end up standing in line all nightwaiting to get in. Miami promoters like to have women in their club so make sure you bring a few along to slant the odds in your favor.

You should also be aware that drinking in Miami is very expensive. A night on the town can easily take you into the triple digits. Once you get let into those clubs, be prepared to spend. 

A smart traveler will be able to avoid scammy nightclubs by researching cheap places to drink in advance. These clubs probably won’t keep you waiting on the street all night either.

Miami is a fun place to visit, but with so many people willing to spend big bucks, it’s easy to fall into tourist traps. These tips should keep you safe from scammers who are looking to ruin your fun.

Research for this article was sourced from:

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