As a foreign tourist, you should always pay extra attention to managing your finances wisely. Otherwise, you can easily get caught in a trap and forced to pay a high price for the ’cordial’ hospitality. Check out what to look out for as a foreigner in Hungary!
With the lifting of restrictions, tourism is booming again in Hungary. Still, it is important to be careful about how and how much we spend on each and every service.
No matter whether you are trying the irresistible Hungarian flavours at a local restaurant or stopping by for a few drinks at a local pub,
always check the prices on the menu and compare them with the ones on the invoice.
Those visitors who are unfamiliar with the Hungarian forint can easily fall victim to fraud. Such cases have become more frequent in recent years. A few years ago, a Japanese guest was charged EUR 460 for 2 short drinks and 2 glasses of champagne in Budapest. Since the tourist did not have enough cash with him, he was accompanied to an ATM to withdraw the missing amount. A Korean tourist had similar experiences in Budapest. He was charged EUR 1,680 for a few drinks.
Most hotels have a landline phone on the bedside table. Nowadays, few people give out the phone number of this device as they prefer to use their own mobile phone instead. Therefore, it is fair to assume that only the hotel staff knows the number.
As the Hungarian news portal Femina reports, scammers often use this as a basis to call hotel guests to obtain their credit card details. The scam usually takes place at dawn. The drowsy guest gives the details, without thinking, to the fraudster who poses as a receptionist. After the call, the victim goes back to sleep without any suspicion. By the time he wakes up, his savings may have disappeared without a trace.
It is very important that you NEVER tell your credit card details to anyone
unless it is requested through an official booking system.
As the card can get lost and it may not be possible to block it immediately from abroad, you may want to set a withdrawal limit.
When visiting the Hungarian capital, it is worth paying attention to how much you pay at the end of your taxi ride. Some taxi drivers might try to rip off tourists and make the passenger pay an unrealistically high bill. Despite frequent checks, this is a common tourist trap. Therefore, it is advised to get informed about the taxi rates and keep an eye on the taxi meter during the journey.
Similarly to other cities, Budapest also has its dodgier neighbourhoods. Therefore, it is important to
always keep your pockets and bags closed when going around the city and never leave your values unattended.
It is also worth paying attention to the details when paying by credit card. When buying or booking online, always make sure that the other party is legitimate and trustworthy. Never give out your credit card details in case of suspicious email addresses or unsecured URLs, and never click on unknown links. If you are paying by credit card in an offline store, make sure that the amount the seller enters on the terminal is the same as the price of the product or souvenir you are buying and that the amount deducted is in the correct currency. In some cases, the overcharge may not be intentional but can occur by accident. We previously reported about the financial nightmare of a British couple who paid EUR 60,000 by accident for their weekend in the Hungarian capital. The case happened in September 2019, after the employee of a Budapest hotel accidentally charged the amount in Euro instead of Hungarian Forint.