Just after you get out of a taxi at the Medina someone approaches and says "Hi, don't you recognise me? I'm the chef/waiter/security guard/whatever from your hotel" you stop and think and they say "Yes, I saw you last night at the whatever hotel" and you start to believe them...........DON'T!! They know which taxi's work which hotels that's how the know the one you are staying at. They want to take you to "special" shops where they can get you a big discount....only you don't but they get commission.
Unique Suggestions: Ignore them. Be rude if you have to, at the end of the day they are trying to con you so screw them. My daughter challenged one by saying "Oh, really? I'm a holiday rep and I work at the Tour Khalef and I've not seen you around. Could you show me some ID please?". The only thing he showed us was a pair of clean heels as he scurried away.
Fun Alternatives: There is no alternative. Sousse is (sadly) full of scammers so you just have to ignore them.
What u're told and see on photos ain't always real
You will be, most likely, offered by a local turist 'trapper' go to sailing 3 hours with boat, or visit beduines (mini safari) etc. Whatever he tells you remember that his language uses a lot of *make up*. I went on a boat 'cruise'and, oh man... AT Malta for example is was cool, but this one...I had an impression of total improvisation with very low style and high cost. I did not feel as total fool as he agreed on price of 1 person for the 2 of us. Still, it was a waste of time.
Unique Suggestions: relax and enjoy to the degree it is possible :)
Fun Alternatives: none in this case
Haggling - Bartering - Hassle
Any tourist area - no surprise there !!
Unique Suggestions: We had researched the holiday quite well before flying out and was aware of the haggling but.....the hassle as you shopped was the one thing that took the shine off a great holiday.
The shop keepers or staff would stand outside their shops and almost block your path saying "come inside....look look....no hassle"....well if you dont want to hassle me then get out of way!! Initally, each day, you try to be polite but after not very long you avoid making eye contact and say nothing - towards the end of the day you feel like shoving thier hookah pipes were the sun doesn't shine!!
Fun Alternatives: There are an increasing number of fixed price supermarkets but the prices are higher
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Arts and Culture
- Budget Travel
This area can be a minefield. You can only buy Tunisian Dinars in Tunisia. In theory the exchange rate is set by the Tunisian Government and is the same no matter where you go. In practise, there are many fiddles that will cost you money. The safest is to use a bank. There is one outside the Tour Khalef entrance on the right hand side. I would not advise changing money in the hotel - you get up to 15% more from the bank.
At the end of your holiday DO NOT change money back at the airport, do it at a bank before you leave the hotel. They take sterling at the airport for anything you want to buy.
Unique Suggestions: Check your receipt. Make sure you get ALL of your money. If you are due 109.800 dinars expect to wait a long time for your money. First you will be given 100 dinars. Then, after 20 seconds you will get another 5 dinars. The cashier will now ignore you. If you are prepared to wait another 30 seconds or more the cashier will pretend that he has no change. Then he will give you 2 more dinars and ignore you for another 30 seconds. So far you have received 107 dinars! If you still haven't given in (after some icy stares) he will, reluctantly, toss you another 4 half-dinars. Now, not many will pass the final test - can you get the final 800 milims that he owes you. About now the cashier will walk off and have a conversation with a colleague. A full 2 minutes later he will return and give you a look of disbelief! At this point he will hand you a large collection of Tunisian coins that will come close to totalling 800 milims (40p), usually accompanied by some good luck message (I'm guessing) in Arabic.
Fun Alternatives: Never change money at the airport or hotel. ONLY change money in a bank.
The local taxi drivers know every fiddle ever invented.
Unique Suggestions: Always insist the taxi meter is put on. If the driver tries to tell you the meter isn't working, laugh it off and INSIST that he puts it on. Check that the meter is still on at regular intervals during your journey but especially for the last part of your journey. Taxi drivers have been known to switch it off just before they stop and demand an extortionate amount from you. Never agree a price with the driver - It will ALWAYS be to your disadvantage. Always keep enough change on you to pay for the fare - it's murder trying to get all of your change from the driver at the end of your journey. Finally, ALWAYS leave a tip. Never less than half a dinar (25p) but as much as you like! Remember, taxis are very cheap in Tunisia.
Souk... ok... but be careful
the bouncers in the souk can be be just breath-takingly aggressive
Unique Suggestions: try to haggle down the prices, this is what you are any way expected to do.
Fun Alternatives: There is a government -owned shopping center just outside the souk, to the north, where the items do cost a bit more than in souk, but at least you are not harassed.
When you go on the Safari it is great but beware of fake Amethyst. They generally have quartz crystal which is real, but I guess they have found a way to make extra money coloring the quartz crystal with a violet substance that makes the quartz look like Amethyst.
I was very suspicious about Amethyst being sold for 50 dinar which I liked a big piece but I said I only had ten deniar pointed to the one I liked ignoring what ever price was offered kept on saying ten ten ten until sold for ten found it a bit hard to believe
When I got back to the hotel noticed that the Amethyst color was running off on my hands placed it in water and all the water became violet be aware. They are sold at the stops near the salt sea and in and around the Sahara stops of the Safari tour.
- Road Trip
You have to tip for everything!
On arrival a piccolo offered to carry our luggage up. Which was good we thought. But we didn't have any change for paying him, just big bills. He slammed the door in anger!
If the maid stay to talk, and you wonder what she wants, she wants tip. If someone stands outside toilets they want tip, and so on.
Fun Alternatives: You will have few dinars left after a few days, so you have to choose what you can afford!
Sometimes you just have to tell them a loud and clear NO!
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