I find that taking a taxi can be a great way to learn a little bit more about a city. In most cases, hailing a cab in a major metropolitan area is a much safer bet and often less expensive than renting a car, finding parking spaces and paying parking fees.
I have to admit that I really enjoy riding in taxis. Sure, I have had a few harrowing experiences like the time that a Miami taxi’s air conditioner was broken in the heat of summer – I think I melted to the pleather seats! And I can’t forget the time that our taxi driver in Chicago had just learned to drive the day before (his own admission)?!
But for every story like these there are dozens of great experiences with clean cabs, friendly and capable drivers, and efficient service. In fact, according to a recent survey from Hotels.com, I am not alone. A whopping 85 percent of respondents have used taxis while on vacation.
1. Las Vegas
4. Orlando, FL
6. Washington, D.C.
8. Los Angeles
Here’s A Few Of My Tips for Taxi Service Success:
1. Use hand sanitizer – really needs no additional explanation!
2. Have an idea about the route that you want to take to your destination BEFORE you get in the cab. It’s the best way to avoid paying too much.
3. When traveling internationally, know which taxis are licensed, how to recognize them, hail them, and typical fees and tip practices BEFORE you depart.
4. Never assume a taxi takes credit cards, ask the driver BEFORE you get into the taxi. Be prepared to pay cash and ask for a receipt so that you can expense it (if traveling for business).
5. In the US, it is standard to tip your driver AFTER arriving at your destination for a safe and efficient service.
6. When relying on a taxi to get you somewhere on time, call ahead for a reservation and allow plenty of time for delays. I once tried to hail a cab in NYC during a summer rain storm…what was I thinking?!
7. When traveling to the Caribbean and Mexico, taxi rates can be negotiated with many drivers BEFORE you get in the vehicle, especially over fees for multiple passengers.
8. A safety tip: Keep your cell phone handy. I like to call someone (my husband, a friend, a colleague) en route to my destination so that someone else is aware of my route/plans.