“I don’t mean lie…but you could exaggerate the truth.”
-Captain Kirk to Spock (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
Honesty is a good policy but not necessarily the best one when traveling. While you don’t have to be a compulsive liar to travel anywhere, it can often help you with airlines, merchants, and locals not to spill every thought on your mind. Some lies save you time and hassle while others can do a great deal of good for your travel budget.
You don’t have to feel guilty for not being your usual honest self with these common and frequently handy fibs.
1. “I Don’t Have Change”
Whether it’s children begging you for a few rupees in India or a fake guide in Ecuador trying to shake you down for a few cents in La Basilica Church, saying you don’t have change or any money on you is an (albeit obvious) but acceptable lie. It’s certainly much better and less involved than explaining why you don’t want to give the solicitor any spare change.
2. “When I Weighed My Bag At Home It Was Just Under The Limit”
There are a number of ways to work your way around luggage fees but for those times when you’re just over (and didn’t prepare) making it seem like you did may help. Silence is golden, once you’ve made your claim and subtly puts some pressure on an airline employee to let you slide. That is, of course, only if you’re slightly over or not flying RyanAir.
3. “I’m Not Interested”
When shopping or walking past some interesting windows, playing like you aren’t interested in buying something is a good first step to bargaining your way to a good price. This lie also happens to work when you haven’t even considered what is being offered and can make a stroll through many markets less tumultuous.
4. “I Know Where I’m Going”
You don’t have to say you know where you’re going although you may be lost – this lie depends partially on your body language. In many taxis, towns, and bus stations looking like you’re lost invites the unscrupulous to lend you a hand, potentially taking advantage of your directional ignorance. It’s one of 4 common scams in Marrakesh and one you’ll find in many parts of the world – making you better off taking your own wrong turns.
5. “I Don’t Speak English”
English is the universal language making it a common favorite among waiters, shopkeepers, and just about anyone else who wants to get your attention. Sure, most will probably know some Spanish, French, German, and others, but pretending you don’t know any of those thrown your way cuts down on the sensory overload of many busy tourist areas.
6. “I’m Married”
This is a lie much more useful for non-married ladies than men, yet in many places around the world, these two magic words that can keep overly-friendly guys and their comments at bay. To add a bit of sauce to this fib, add that your husband is a local, and apply when needed.
Fudging The Truth Can Improve Your Efficiency Across The Board
Although you don’t have to lie your way through many situations, it certainly can be a more direct route occasionally; which ultimately saves you time to do more interesting things when traveling. Part of being a traveling chameleon is to get past the top layer of distraction you find in most new places. With experience these half-truths become less important in words and manifest themselves in facial expressions and body language; becoming more efficient themselves.