Until this year, the closest I'd come to getting sucked into a tourist scam was paying too much for the odd Moroccan carpet.
But that all changed when I visited India in March — and fell for the most ridiculous one of all.
My husband and I have never been ones to sign up for organised tours, but we were pretty set on the idea of visiting Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan — and hopefully catching a glimpse of a tiger in the wild.
But the process of booking entry into the park was so mind-boggling and tedious it ended up breaking us, and we decided to book through a "government agency".
That meant our travel, accommodation and two safaris inside the park were all organised for us, and we were all set for our adventure to begin.
On day one everything went smoothly (besides the obligatory, maddening hour-long check in process at our hotel) and we had our first safari that afternoon.
While we didn't manage to see a tiger, we knew morning safaris were best for wildlife spotting, so we weren't too worried — after all, we were booked in for one the very next morning, so we still had high hopes.
But when we asked reception what time we needed to be in the lobby for our next trip, we were met with blank stares.
Apparently all the safaris were fully booked for the next morning, and our names were most definitely not on the list.
Naturally, we called the travel agent, and we were assured everything was okay — there were somehow spots for us after all, and our tour would be leaving at 9am the next day.
We were more than a little suspicious as we knew morning safaris left much earlier than that, but we were determined to stay positive.
That positivity dimmed slightly when nobody was waiting for us at 9am, and it dimmed even further when we finally did lay eyes on the "guide" that showed up to collect us.
The guide we'd had the afternoon before was visibly legit — he was decked out in more khaki than an Irwin, had all the official paperwork in order and had the official safari lingo down pat.
But this guy? He greeted us with a nervous hello — and was sporting jeans and a T-shirt, with no official documents in sight.
Almost as soon as we set off in our jeep there were red flags — the guy was driving around 20km an hour down a main road, and if you've ever been to India, you'll know even doddery pensioners never drive that slow.
Whenever we passed a bird or a monkey — which can be seen hanging about in aggressive packs on every corner in the country — the jeep ground to a complete halt, and the man pretended to be super excited about his incredible wildlife spotting skills.
But then came the kicker — as we approached the entry to the park, he turned left and not right, taking us in the opposite direction to the park. As a result, we spent a solid 20 minutes driving around some bloke's farm, with our definitely-not-qualified guide telling us a tiger had definitely, 100 per cent been spotted there just hours earlier.
When we told him to cut the bullsh*t and take us to the real park, he grudgingly turned the car around — and drove us around the perimeter instead. We know, because we confirmed with Google Maps — he was literally and metaphorically taking us for a ride.
At that stage, we were almost expecting someone to rock up in a tiger suit and prance around for us, the scam was so transparent.
Finally, as hilarious as it was, we had enough, and demanded answers — and eventually, he admitted "someone was cheating us".
We told him to take us back to our hotel stat, and we were on the phone to our agent quicker than you can say "stupid tourists".
Eventually, he owned up to the ridiculous con, and after a few NSFW words we did get a refund.
Looking back now, we can laugh at our incredible fake safari experience.
We ended up having a great time overall, taking in the Taj Mahal in Agra, the "Pink City" of Jaipur, the Red Fort of Delhi, the famous Holi festival of colours in Mathura and Vrindavan and perfecting our poses in Rishikesh, the so-called "yoga capital of the world".
But if you're planning an Indian vaycay soon? Maybe skip the tiger hunting — and the dodgy tour agents.
This story was first published on news.com.au.