With travelling comes change – fashion, food, and culture – but many countires have similarities as well, such as ways of transportation. In certain cities it is easy to hop on the metro or catch the next bus, while in others it is important to know when to take caution, especially when it comes to flagging down a taxi. Whether at a shopping mall or at a busy airport, here are a few guidlines to be on the safe side when finding a taxi:
- If someone comes up to you, no matter how nice and/or legitimate they seem, and say they have their own taxi business which is cheaper, but at a different part of the airport, DO NOT GO WITH THEM. Stick with taxis hired by the hotel or airport; this way you know they are safe, which is worth a few extra coin.
- Certified and trustworthy taxis can usually be pointed out by an official badge or photo ID which they hang around their neck.
- Look for “certified taxi” stickers, located on the rear of the car.
- If you are still uncertain about who is a “real” taxi driver, ask someone who works at the airport (at busy airports, like Paris, there is someone who works at the door, who organises the taxis and helps customers).
- Rules about tipping may vary from country to country. In Japan it is considered an insult to offer a tip, where as in the United Arab Emirates they will take it willingly. Some pre-travelling research is always a good idea.
- If staying in a hotel, it is helpful to have the hotel pre-arrange a taxi-pickup. They will meet you at your point of arrival holding a sign with your name. This saves time and anxiety.
- If you’re not happy with the service (I’ve had taxi drivers take longer routes to keep the meter going to raise the cost) do not feel bad about getting out to flag someone else down if you have the time. Many taxis take advantage of tourists who are unfamiliar with the area. You are the customer and the one paying, they should listen to what you want.
- Ask someone who is familiar with the area about the average taxi price to help avoid being ripped off.
- Once you find a reliable driver, take their name and number to call them back the next time. “Regulars” tend to recieve better service in general, such as faster pick up times and shorter routes.
I have never had a terrible taxi service, and these are worst-case scenarios, but it is always better to be prepared for any situation!