Travel Tip of the Day: Be Wary of Costumed Characters

Rome ColosseumBe Wary of Costumed Characters
If you’re following me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, then you know I was recently in Europe with my dad. Our last stop was Rome and our hotel, Palazzo Manfredi, was right next to the Colosseum. Out front were three Italian guys dressed as Roman soldiers and of course my dad wanted to get a picture with them—so I asked them how much that would be. “Don’t worry about it,” they told me, but I said I’d do it for one Euro, and he quickly put my dad in between his friends.

One soldier then said, “Give me your camera and I will take a picture of all of you.” I was smart enough to not fall for that trick and just took the photo myself but afterwards, when I handed him the Euro, he said, “One Euro? It’s 10 Euros!” I told him I didn’t have it and after they complained that they couldn’t even get a cup of coffee, I gave them two more.

I posted the picture (above) on my Facebook page noting how these guys shook us down for more money and one friend said she’d gotten taken for 20 Euros! The scheme is the same in tourist places all across the world, so if you are tempted to take a photo with costumed people, be wary. Ask for the price before the photo is taken, don’t give them your camera/phone so they can’t make it more difficult to get money out of you, and always have small bills because they won’t give you change.


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  1. christine pincince says:

    or the extra scary dreadlocked guys in the Caribbean with the 3 little dressed clinging to your hair tugging monkeys he puts on you without asking or on your kid and then of course thinking nothing of it a family member with a camera will take a pic as you or the kid as he shreeeeeeks and laughs and that’s 10 bucks mon.. giving you the stink eye with a gold toothed grin … easier to give him the money than to deal with it in a crowded area

  2. Sounds like they were just being Romans!

  3. I say forgot the photos with costumed anyone…I did that and had my watch taken off my wrist by the person in the costume. Its a great con for pick pocketers. Had a friend that had his wallet removed from his pocket.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You’re correct to be wary of these guys, but I had a great experience with my costumed character by the Colosseum. The pics were excellent, it was a great memory, and although I can’t remember the cost it was worth it!

  5. Is that true in Hollywood & Vegas too?

  6. This is a great tip. It would be my first time in Rome this coming fall and it’s good to know about taking a photo with costumed characters.

  7. I had no issue with the costumed guys at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas ;).

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