The overall impression of Warri, a popular city in the southern part of Nigeria, is that it is the most aggressive city in Nigeria, as it is dangerous and crime ridden and its inhabitants are mostly belligerent.
Some travel sites have even flagged the destination as a red zone as numerous travelers have complained and narrated cases of robbery and rip-offs.
While the city might indeed have some security issues, it certainly is a wonderful place to visit and explore as it offers business opportunities as well as many sights for tourists, including the Delta Ports, Nana Living History Museum and Red Mangrove swamp.
If you find you have to visit this destination and you are worried about being a victim of any of the many travel risks elaborated all over the internet, here are seven helpful ways to avoid travel rip-offs while visiting Warri.
1) Ensure you have pre-arranged airport pick-up
The airport is usually crammed with taxi cabs looking to drive you from the airport to your destination. The cabs, usually, are not metered and the taxi drivers charge you on their discretion. Most of them charge exorbitant prices if they look at you and feel you have no clue as to what the rates should be or you are dressed expensively.
Again, some of the cab drivers are peddlers who pose as cab guys, and many people have been duped of money and belonging in this fashion. Always make arrangements for pickup before you arrive; there are a number of cab companies you can patronize online and most hotels will have their own cab services to offer. Alternatively, you can avoid being ripped off at the airport by taking public transport or asking a friend or family member for a ride.
2) Do not indulge helpers at the airport
Usually, when you arrive at the airport, a lot of people rush to offer some form of assistance either to carry your luggage or assist you with information. Most times, their offers are exceedingly cheap or enticing. Beware of these ‘helpers’ as they could be culprits looking to rip you off. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Also, exchange all your money, if you need to, within the airport as there is a higher chance of being conned outside the airport.
3) Lookout for tourist trap restaurants
While visiting the city, you certainly will have certain iconic tourist destination in mind that you want to visit. If you are visiting a restaurant or attraction that has an online presence, try your best to Google it to see what the locals or past visitors have had to say about it. Again, you can check to see if there are coupons or discounts that could benefit you such as getting free breakfast or 15 per cent off the total bill for doing a review on the hotel or restaurants, etc. Generally, the reviews will let you know if visiting the location would be a good idea or you would just be wasting your money.
4) Avoid Organized Tours
There are a number of fantastic tourist destinations in Warri and nearly every tourist agent or site will offer some sort of packages that bundle in several sites to be seen for a fee. These tours may not seem like a bad deal but a lot of times, they actually are. Many of the sites will have free entry but by paying for the ‘package deal’, you have now paid to get in. Again, while it may seem like these organized tours are providing you with cheap transport to these different tourist locations, a little research would reveal that transporting yourself is a cheaper option and might even be much more comfortable.
5) Do not show off money and expensive jewelry
Showing off money and expensive jewelry makes you a target for rip-off basically as it presents you as someone who has more than he/she needs. Any vendor who eyeballs you counting large sums of money or wearing very expensive jewelry will automatically offer their items or services at exaggerated prices. Unless you are a celebrity who has an assistant running errands for you, try your best to stay conservative.
6) Review all bills carefully
Most visitors to Warri often make the mistake of failing to go over their bills, especially the restaurant, and hotel bills when they get it, and they end up paying for a lot of stuff that they did not use or buy. Look through and ensure you remain accountable and not swindled in any form. In a case where you have reviewed the bill and found mistakes, though, ensure that you politely ask the staff to fix it. A polite request will go much further than an aggressive accusation in Warri.
7) Be mindful of the hotel Wi-Fi.
Most hotels in Warri do not come with complimentary Wifi, so you find that most hotels charge as much as NGN500 to NGN2000 per day for in-room Wi-Fi. These rates are a little pricey, considering you can easily just set up your own personal hotspot on your smartphone and use your cellular service to access Wi-Fi on other non-cellular devices. Doing this reduces the chance of you being ripped off in any way.
By Nkem Ndem…
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears
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