Passau to Munich by Train

Be Mindful of Europe’s Newest Tourist Trap
Scott McCartney from the Wall Street Journal recently penned a great column entitled, “For travelers visiting Europe, there’s a new kind of tourist trap.” It’s about the rise of automated radar cameras that are multiplying across Europe and other parts of the world. As Scott writes, “They catch speeding violations even a few kilometers per hour over the limit. They snap a picture of the car and send the driver a fine through the rental-car agency, sometimes months later.”

You can read the story by Googling the title (WSJ charges for access to their content; this is one way to bypass that) but the moral of the story is to obey speed limits. If you do get a fine, either from the car rental company or the country itself, Scott says, “It’s probably also best to pay fines. Consequences aren’t likely, but some countries say they can detain people entering the country at a later time if violations are outstanding, or turn fines over to debt collectors.”

Has this happened to you or anyone you know?



Tried this tip? Let me know in the comments!
Have your own tip? Email it to!
Want to see more tips? Click here for all 704!

Want even more travel tips? Subscribe to the Daily Travel Tip newsletter! All you have to do is sign up for the weekly newsletter by filling in your email address and checking the Daily Travel Tip box in the top-right corner of the homepage.

If you already subscribe to the newsletter, fill in your email and check the Daily Travel Tip box in the same top-right corner of the homepage and you’ll receive an email with a link to update your preferences. On that page, just click the Daily Travel Tip box and Update Profile and you’ll have Johnny’s best tips, straight to your inbox each day. And don’t worry—it’s easier than it sounds!

7 Comments On "Travel Tip of the Day: Be Mindful of Europe’s Newest Tourist Trap"
  1. Michael|

    This happened to me in Italy where Hertz charged me a 50 euro processing fee for a ticket, allegedly from a traffic camera, that never even showed up. It appears to also be a way for car rental companies to increase their fee revenue.

  2. Anonymous|

    My wife and I vacationed with several of my college buddies and their wives in Tuscany a couple summers ago. Each couple rented a car so they could take side trips as they desired. Three or four months after we had returned home, at least half of us received letters from our European car rental agencies, informing each of us of our single infraction. We most likely had indeed been guilty of the infraction but there wasn’t much we could do to fight it so we paid…easy money for the European communities that have deployed the cameras you’ve referred to.

  3. Josh|

    It is not a “tourist trap,” as it targets all drivers equally. The vast majority of these tickets are given to non-tourists.

    On the other hand; most of us come from countries where tickets are given out only by policemen. So the suggestion to drive at the speed limit–even when there are no cops around–is excellent advice and will save many people an expensive ticket while they are driving on their travels.

  4. Dennis|

    I’m not sure about Europe, but in Australia they have a point to point system where your plate is read and down the road several kilometres later read again, if you reach the second camera to soon you must have been speeding.

  5. Patty|

    these are not new in the UK. Just mind the speed limits and you won’t be photographed… Actually many are not working now, they were installed to cut policing costs. Sat navs warn you about them.

  6. Sam Kephart|

    Pack a can of this spray or two of these license plate covers in your checked luggage… and use either product on the front and rear license plates of your European car rental(s).

    Good luck to the snooping authorities figuring out who to scam with a mail-out ticket when the image is blurred…

  7. DH|

    In 2014, we took our old Garmin Nuvi 270 GPS with the original maps of Europe and the US (Our maps were never updated.) to Italy and rented a car. We figured that the major roads probably would not have changed much so we didn’t purchase a new GPS. Notably, we never had a problem with navigation even while traveling on rural roads. The other surprising feature was that it had audible speed warnings. We always slowed down after being warned and we never received a ticket during the four days of driving all kinds of roads from Rome to Cinque Terra. It is smaller than most GPS models and is very convenient to use while walking in cities. I think that you can still get that vintage GPS on Amazon.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *