Avoiding the Travel Scam: How I Talked My Way Out of a Fine

Not a travel scam per se, but Europe have some pretty strict rules about validating transport tickets that aren’t commonplace in the UK and the US. So my biggest advice if you’re travelling to Europe, validate all public transport tickets before you board! I repeat, validate your public transport tickets before you board!

If you’re using public transport in Europe – particularly Germany, Italy or Hungary – then you’ll need to use the validation machines found in the station, platform or onboard to date and time stamp your ticket. But don’t expect to be informed by ticket providers or inspectors, however, if you’re unsure make sure you ask.

Suffice to say I was completely unaware when I visited Hungary and it seems we weren’t alone, here’s what happened…

So there we were being empowered independent women, riding the subway to the northern end  (I think)of Budapest for a final skirt around Margaret Island, with our tickets in hand ready for the day ahead. Oh here come the ticket inspectors, tickets at the ready…

“You have not validated ticket, you must pay fine”

Sorry, what?

I don’t actually know what part of me thought this was a good idea, but my natural approach was to play dumb, claim bankruptcy (which was half true) and begin to cry.

I continued this charade even after we had departed the subway, pleading our case to said subway inspectors, as they threatened to call the police!

My stubbornness reached no bounds as I called their bluff and allowed them to call the police.

Fortunately, they clearly took pity on us because after about ten minutes they settled with getting the stupid English girls to buy them a cup of coffee.

After walking up and down the closest streets and finding no coffee shops, they cut their losses and set us free. (Thank goodness!)

So while my baby face, stubbornness and waterworks evaded us having to pay 16,000 HUF, I don’t think future me will think twice about ticket validation because it was really nothing short of terrifying.

Have you had a travel faux pas? Let me know in the comments.

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