Life Stories

That Time Jo Got Scammed in Italy So You Won’t Have To

Why did I decide to pack three massive bags for a month-long post-grad backpacking trip with my girls across Europe? I now had to struggle through the Rome Termini station at 6AM after having slept an impressive four hours the night before to make our 6:30 train for the next adventure on our world tour, Florence. Despite having back pain, sweating profusely, and experiencing extreme hunger from not having eaten anything more than a tiny cornetto, we laughed while waddling to platform 2bis. I swear there couldn’t have been a further away platform.

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We make it onto the train and drop our bags off taking over an entire train car like the traveling bada$$es we thought we were. All four of us let our hair down and get so excited about finally resting our poor travel-damaged-bodies for a few hours. The conductor interrupted me just as I was about to start catching some Zs, “Do-a-you have-a your-a teeckets?” All four of us flashed him the rectangular tickets that we had purchased at the station a few days before. He gives us a dirty-stank look and proceeds to say “you-a deedn’t validaaate your-a teecket.” I step in and say, “we purchased the 20 euro ticket, here it is. Don’t you validate that I bought the ticket by collecting it and moving along?” He shoots back the horrifying, “no-a, you-a must punch de teeckets on de machine-a outside-a of de plataform. 40 euro fine for each of you-a now.” My heart sank because we were in a foreign country now arguing with a nasty Italian man who would not let four charming girls get away without paying this fine when I barely had 100 euros to my name. So just like that, I had to accept the 60 euros left in my travel fund, and mosey on as a fresh victim of a tourist trap. 
When we got to Florence, we caused such a scene to trying to get our money back that they called the cops on us and we were kicked out of the train station. Boss.


These are the moments that Damon and I are going back to Europe this Summer to capture; not only to help others avoid tourist trap fines, but to help show travelers to laugh off these crazy mishaps that happen while conquering the world.

Help us fund our next film-trip by donating to our Indiegogo campaign; even $5 makes a difference! If you can’t donate, don’t feel bad boo boos, we still appreciate your support by sharing to your friends and network.


Thank you! Merci! Danke! Obrigado! Gracias! Shukran!


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  • Shit, that’s the total worst! I also got fined on a bus once when in Italy with my mum because something wasn’t right with our ticket… even worse, we were fined 100 euros each but the receipt we got back from the guy was only for 50 euros, so he’d just pocked the other 50 for himself!

  • raissaemail

    Pubblic transportation in Italy is a nightmare. Every time I need to take a train in Italy I barely sleep the night before. Now I know: 1) take it easy, you will wait, and you will run, and potentially miss it. Take it easy. 2) always talk to the “controllori”, to make sure everything is right (departure time, ticket, arrival, stops..) before and after the ride. Find two-three of them, talk to them. The indications may differ. 3) it will be over soon. Everything has an ending. 4) have snacks, water, and paper towels on you.