Bribery When Traveling


This is not an avocation for Bribery, How ever out side of developed western countries, What we call bribery is much more prevalent, and often deeply routed in the culture of the country.

This should be looked into when doing your destination research so that you are not caught off guard when you are in country.

Often times it is not nefarious and seen as a fee for service in a country that is poorly funded and in some cases is not that expensive due to the exchange rate. In other cases it is a official or employee that is not trying to get rich and is trying to support their families.

This is often a moral issue with western travelers because they are raised in an environment where it is illegal, and looked down upon so heavily they wouldn’t consider doing it and struggle when the situation occurs over seas.

You need to understand that depending on where you’re traveling especially in less developed countries a “fee” or “Gift” may be required to things done. Consider it an incidental in most cases and chalk it up to cost of travel and to experience fully the country you’re visiting.

That being said it should be avoided when possible and no matter what your research turns up NEVER offer up a bribe. You don’t know how the person will react and its not worth the risk of going to jail in a foreign country. If it’s going to happen let them bring it up.

The cost of a bribe is going to be very dynamic. Its going to depend on country, city, who’s bribing you, and how many people are waiting behind you. The more people there are the cheaper the the bribe is likely to be because they can get more by demanding small amounts from a lot of people than having people refuse large amounts or walking away or causing more of a hassle.


This might not always come in the form of cash. One tactic that can keep you out of trouble is if your traveling with anything that might bring attention, unique gear, special equipment, or any other cool toys, bring extra if you can that you can give as “gifts” if someone shows increased interest in your gear at a check point.

Avoid pairs or groups of military or law enforcement when traveling. You wont likely be extorted for a bribe by. A lone officer as they have no back up if something doesn’t go their way. They will be more likely to demand a bribe if they are in a group where they can over power you if you refuse.

If they bring up a fee or a fine, this is a clue. Feign ignorance of the rules/laws and offer to pay the fine on the spot. Often this will be sufficient and they will offer up an amount.

This a prime example of why it’s important to always have cash on you, you can pay a bribe with a credit card. ( have heard some stories of having to pay with crypto recently but this is still likely an oddity at this point. Cash is still king.

This is also a reason to keep your cash in smaller amounts in multiple locations on your person so that you’re not pulling out all your cash at once. This way you can try to pay less by saying its all you have and if they take by force your not loosing all your money at once…..hopefully.