Taking Taxis with Infants, Toddlers & Young Children

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With the holiday travel rush right around the corner, we thought it would be appropriate to revisit a popular question that we hear from Mom’s and Dad’s almost every day, “Does my child need a car seat when traveling in a taxi?” Families that are traveling with young children have mastered tips and techniques for keeping their kids safe and entertained during long car rides or while waiting in those notorious airport security lines, but when it comes to a 10 minute taxi ride the logistics of how to safely transport your child can be very confusing. For instance who is responsible for bringing the car seat, the parent or cab driver? Are there laws requiring my child to be in a car seat in a taxi? These questions are important to understand before you embark on any holiday traveling with small children.

To read up on the proper safety guidelines when taking taxis with children visit our blog post: http://www.taxifarefinder.com/newsroom/2012/03/20/taking-taxis-with-infants-toddlers-and-young-children/

We’re Tipping All Over the World

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Deciding who to tip while traveling the globe can be dizzying. Without wanting to step on any cultural toes, it’s important to have a basic understand of tipping culture in your new destination. We’ve broken down some basic “tipping tips” by continent so you can have a pocket guide while on the road.

North America: Tipping in North America is a wide spread tradition. Everyone from the hotel doorman to the person who shampoos your hair expects a dollar or two. When traveling and interacting with many people in the service industry, it can feel overwhelming to remember everyone providing assistance. The basics are servers at restaurants, bartenders, spa attendants and hairdressers all get 15-20% in this part of the world. Others such as taxi drivers, food delivery personnel and baristas often get 10-15%. Feel free to offer a dollar or two to anyone helping with your luggage, cleaning up your hotel room or offering a towel in the washroom.

South America: Compared to their North American counterparts, tipping is not as customary in many South American countries. Most servers in restaurants and salons expect a 10% tip of the bill though. Double check to make sure this isn’t already included, as some places will add a VAT fee automatically. Services like taxis are more unusual when it comes to tipping and vary from country to country. Expect to pay a 10% tip to drivers in Venezuela, Paraguay and Bolivia. Other countries like Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia do not tip their drivers. This also can differ between urban and rural areas, so using your own discretion is advised. Have a few small bills handy to avoid any awkward situations where tipping seems normal.

Caribbean: Many travelers opt to see several Caribbean islands at once while taking a cruise. This means handing out tips for ship staff, porters and activity guides along the way. This is the case when visiting almost any island. Taxis can be a great way to quickly get downtown or to the most popular beaches. Tipping is less here than in other destinations, so a simple rounding to the next dollar after paying the fare is accepted.

Asia: As one of the world’s largest continents, it can be tough to put Asia tipping advice in a box. But fortunately, save for a few large cities, tipping and traveling is usually very affordable. The essential thing to remember in Asia, particularly in China, Taiwan, and Japan, is that tipping is frowned upon as it is seen as a handout. Other countries like Malaysia and Indonesia are happy to accept small tips in restaurants, hotels and for hire car services. Hong Kong is an abnormality in Asia, and generous tipping is normal in high-end establishments frequented by western travelers.

Europe: Europe can also be a wild card when it comes to tipping. Offering a few euros to most service personnel in giant metropolises like Paris, London, Rome and Madrid is a given. Most servers at restaurants throughout Western and Eastern Europe are glad for an additional euro or two for each person in the party they take care of. Unlike at many bars in the U.S., tipping venders in Europe is not customary. Watch out for added service charges at hotels and restaurants that often cover the tip automatically.

Africa: Tipping is welcome in many aspects of service in many parts of Africa. Be sure to hand tips directly to service members in the North and East, as things like front desks tips might not go to the right staff. Many people visiting Africa will take day or week-long tours, so these guides often deserve a higher tip then a temporary driver. Ask ahead of time if you should tip in the local currency, as U.S. dollars are sometimes accepted and preferred in some countries.

South Pacific: Australia, New Zealand and islands such as Fiji can all get really pricey really fast. This is especially true in iconic cities and popular resort destinations. Be fair about tipping personnel but realize that it’s the norm for most service people to receive a tip so you will need many small bills on hand. But, when simply hailing a taxi or ordering a drink, tipping is not usually accepted! Look for hidden fees though during peak holiday times, as some restaurants and tours will add a mandatory service charge without notice.

Antarctica? No tips here. The fact that you even paid anyone to help you make it to this frigid place is tips enough.

Taxi Travel Highlight: Spain

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I never did any research. This was a big mistake. It would have been nice to know Seville is Spain’s hottest city, as I showed up wearing a long sleeve shirt and jeans. Maybe I could have mastered a few phrase words, so taxis couldn’t feign ignorance when asking for twice as much a normal fare. I could have at least had the address of my host family in my pocket upon arrival, just in case. Nope.

The first time I ever left the county, I was completely unprepared. Not only did I have no clue about the geography, climate or culture of Spain, but I had no idea how to navigate a foreign city. People moved, and they moved fast. I chose a taxi at the airport after my hosts missed my pickup time and was immediately thrown into a sea of chaos. I didn’t even have the address of where I needed to go, so I asked about the ‘la universidad’ hoping that would point me in the right direction.

Luckily, the driver was so kind. He coached me through a butchered Spanish phrases I was suing and took time to point out a few landmarks so I could start to get my bearings. After gifting me a small sweet and a smile, I got out of the taxi and was thrilled my first local interaction was so positive in the sunny city of Seville.

How Seville Gets Around

In a place boasting glorious weather year-round, it’s simple to stroll from café to café without a second thought. Much of life is spent outside sipping coffee or beer, often in large, multi-generational groups. Walking is preferred, but such a large city also needs an extensive transportation system, full of trolleys, buses, taxis and personal vehicles running at all hours of the day. Driving cars is done with a passion like most things in Spain – with lots of loud shouting and arm waving. I watched a duo after a fender-bender take 30 minutes to sort it out with glorious Spanish swearing and lots of cursing the sky. It was like a dance, and both parted ways with a final clap and exasperated yell.

Similar to Asia, the moped culture in Southern Spain takes up much of the road too. Not to mention, many of these roadways are ancient, covered in cobblestones and narrow – making for very risky travel. That doesn’t stop helmeted daredevils to swing their legs over one side of the bike, narrowly missing a wayward pole or open car door by inches.

As an outsider, I stuck to the trusty bus system and cabs for a safer route.

Other Ways to Move About

Seville has now added a short tram through the city center, but it’s well worth hailing a taxi to find the hidden gems along windy streets. Even if they can’t get you to the front door of a hidden flamenco club, they’ll certainly point you in the right direction. One time my driver parked in front of a stone road, got out of his car and physically walked me to my destination.

Taxis are much more affordable in Seville compared to Barcelona or Madrid. A few Euros should easily get you or your group around town.

Tips for Spanish Taxis

As in any city, sticking with marked cabs is best. This helps curb any suspicions about missing meters and can ensure safety as well. I had a few of the top cab companies programmed into my phone in case I needed an emergency ride, or left something behind in a car.

There is often a fixed rate from the airport, so do your research ahead of time to avoid a scam. Taxis run all night, but having one on call after an evening of clubbing into the wee hours of dawn is helpful. I stayed loyal to some drivers for weeks because of their reliability. Some would even recommend where to go, which was a great, local way to get an insider scoop.

Seville is a busy city, but still has that cozy feel that is lacking in the giant urban sprawls up north. There was nothing like rolling down the window of a fast moving taxi and watching the colorful Spanish architecture and Quadalquivir River fly by.

 

Ask the People: More Crazy Taxi Stories

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We had so much fun collecting wild and fascinating taxi travel stories form around the globe, we decided to do it again! Here is another round of tales from pro bloggers, authors and everyday adventure-seekers like you.

“Having enjoyed Ubon Ratchathani’s candle festival in northeastern Thailand, we were ready to return to our apartment in Khon Kaen. Between a series of miscommunications and buses simply not appearing when they were scheduled to, we were stuck at the bus terminal at 8pm. Our three choices: find a hotel that still had rooms and pay extortionate festival pricing for it, bum it around the bus terminal until the first bus the next morning at 5am, or… take a taxi. At 10 Thai baht a kilometer (about $0.31 USD), it’s more expensive than the typical meter, but the driver cut a bumpy four-hour bus ride into a 2 1/2 hour screamer going 120km/h down the highway. Good deal, I guess.”

Chris Backe is the author of over a dozen books and itineraries, and the offbeat travel blogger behind One Weird Globe.

 

“When I was 15, I found myself alone in the city with nowhere to go and no one to contact. The taxi driver who took me to that place from the port asked me what was wrong as I sat crying by the curb, and when he heard my problem, he took me to an inn (for free), paid for a night’s stay, gave me food, and warned me about going out as it was New Year’s Day in an hour. Instead of feeling lonely all by myself in my motel room that New Year’s Eve, all I could feel was gratitude for that unnamed cab driver who went out of his way to help a young girl lost in the city.”

Aleah Taboclaon writes about traveling on her site Solitary Wanderer. This is an excerpt from a post titled “Solo Travelers in Focus: 9 More Stories of Kindness on the Road”.

 

“When I lived in Senegal, West Africa there were these van taxis called Car Rapides (translation: “fast car” –though they were anything but). Bright blue and yellow and frequently held together by little more than rope and duct tape, these taxis competed for business with a driver, a tab collector and a “recruiter” that hung off the back and yelled at prospective passengers to pick “his” taxi. Their accident rate exceeded that of newborn quintuplets but they were cheap and therefore always packed—with people, goats and chickens. One day a particularly aggressive (or careless) recruiter fell off the back of our taxi—while we were going about 25 mph—and somehow managed to maintain his balance, avoid getting hit by traffic behind us and rejoined our taxi less than a block later. I’ll never forget the incredibly quick mood transition inside our taxi from terror to hilarity. (And the driver flogging the recruiter minutes later for his “stupidity.”)”

Ever N. Hayes is a sports journalist and novelist of the “2020 Series” featuring the acclaimed debut “Emergency Exit” and the newly released sequel “Redemption.”

 

“We were approached by a tuk tuk driver, who offered to take us to the station for only 10 baht (33c) if we just did him a favour and spent five minutes talking to people in the tourist information office. Apparently it is a government program to pay tuk tuk drivers to bring tourists to tourist information offices. To save 90 baht (AUD$3), when we had plenty of time, we decided to give it a go. One of us stayed by the window while the other talked, and after a few minutes we had established that all the travels we wanted to do to Surat Thani and then to Ton Kloi could be done on government buses, and we were ushered out courteously…Outside, the tuk tuk driver said they wouldn’t give him the signature because we didn’t talk for five minutes. We hadn’t realised that it was timed. He said he would take us to another office and we could do the charade again, for longer this time, and then he would take us to the station for free. Leave yourself plenty of time when you are travelling in Thailand, because you just never know what opportunities for adventure might come your way…”

Jenny Hale is a travel writer and blogger. This is an excerpt from a post about Bangkok on Travelling Light.

 

I was taking a taxi from Brighton to Logan Airport, and my cabbie blew through the Fast Lane going 65 mph. When I pointed this out to him, he said “the technology was built for 75 mph, so I am fine.” I didn’t see the Green Light come on, so I am thinking he is definitely wrong and will get a ticket with a photo of his license plate.

Submitted by TaxiFan77 on the Taxi Fare Finder story page (you can submit your own story too!

Traveling Females and Transportation Safety

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It seems on every news station there are stories lately of women standing up for their rights. One of the biggest issues seems to be women concerned for their safety while traveling throughout the world. Many females have scaled back their plans to travel because of the news circulating assaults and scams against women worldwide.

But what dangerous situations are women really experiencing when they travel locally or abroad?

For one, women take public and private transportation more frequently, including subways, buses, taxis and private car services. This makes them more susceptible to harm. According to a 2007 study on gender equality and urban planning, women rely on public transportation more than men to get to work, pick up children, run errands and travel. Roughly 75% of bus patrons are women, and only 30% of women have access to their own car during the day in Western Europe and North America.

In certain cities, such as Bogota, Colombia, there have been studies on the amount of attacks against women in public. They found during nighttime hours, the majority of victims who were robbed were females waiting for buses, even at well-lit stations with other people nearby. Waiting in these areas for taxis, trains, buses and trams opens up the possibilities for negative consequences, especially for women on their own. Women are susceptible to assault, verbal abuse and even rape in these circumstances.

Varying Factors of Female Safety

How women move about cities and rural areas varies from country to county. A solo female traveling in Boston, Massachusetts, for example, might have a completely different strategy than someone exploring Delhi, India. Financial standings are taken into consideration too – a taxi is often preferred over public transportation for safety reasons, but this isn’t always an option due to budget or convenience. These factors cause issues in streamlining solutions for safety.

Solidarity and Safety Tips

The ease of mobility is often a focal point when females are traveling for business or pleasure. So what can be done overall to ensure the safety of women worldwide, whether they are hailing a taxi, taking the subway or even simply walking the streets of a new city? The number one thing women can keep in mind is adapting to their environment. Doing research on a new destination is an easy way to stay prepared and ready for what’s to come.

Also, finding out if there are programs to assist in making women feel safe can be key to being secure while traveling and utilizing local transportation. For example, some places in India, like Mumbai, have train cars that are for women only. This was first introduced by the British Grand Junction Railway in 1845, and has been seen in other places such as Japan, Thailand and New York. Other private car services will take requests for female drivers or allow drivers to escort female passengers to a safe area once they exit the vehicle. But this goes to show female harassment in transportation has been an issue for more than a century, with little to no change.

Female Transportation Workers Need Help Too

Of course those traveling have safety issues whether they are solo or in groups, but so do the women in the workforce that drive these vehicles every day. Yes, only about 2 percent of taxi drivers in the U.S. are women, with an even lower percentage globally. But all of these brave women have some incredible stories to share and, because they are the minority, often claim to be protected by their coworkers and employers. Luckily, few reported assaults on these drivers – but unfortunately, many reported incidents of passengers bailing and not paying fare.

Where to Find Help

New generations of women are taking a stand against violence and advocating safety as well for the masses. Nomindari S., a recent graduate of Smith College in Massachusetts, has started WomensTaxi.org to be a voice for those feeling unsafe while using transportation across the globe. She currently resides in Mongolia and is working on providing a taxi service offering female drivers to female passengers. She is partnering with other NGOs such as Amnesty International and “I Holla Back”, which works to ease the frequency of street catcalls and harassment.

Use common sense but do not limit your traveling if you’re a female. Things can happen, but staying alert and aware will help keep statistics down and you perfectly safe.

Animal Taxi Monday 11.10.14

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“It may be a slow commute, but it beats having to fly.” #AnimalTaxiMonday

Click here to view all of our Animal Taxi Monday pictures.

35 Thoughts when Getting into a Taxi

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1. OK, taxi time. Where’s my friends? Head count, one two three four…well, we might need two cars with this crew.

2. Why does everyone else have their hands in the air?! Can you people see I want to get home before sunrise?

3. I don’t see a single cab. Awesome. Might have to go into recon mode.

4. TAXITAXITAXI! RIGHT HERE! Darn.

5. Yes I KNOW I’m not supposed to ‘swim upstream’. Oh save your dirty looks, we’ve all done it.

6. Is chivalry dead?! That was supposed to be MY cab!

7. Over it. Moving on.

8. YES. Score. Pile in guys!

9. Where are we going? Who has the address?

10. I’m glad this one doesn’t smell funny. The last one smelled funny.

11. Oh he totally could of gone up Washington Street instead of cutting through Main. I’ll let that one slide.

12. Don’t mind at all, play any station you want!

13. Nice pick! Jam time!

14. Shoot, I’m starving.

15. Wonder if I can bribe him to take us…

16. I’ll just ask very sweetly.

17. Please and thank you.

18. Nice! Fast food time!

19. This taxi is the best.

20. Turn right here!

21. Three cheeseburgers please. You want something? Oh, no eating on the job. OK, we owe you one taxi guy!

22. Almost home.

23. Time to dig for the fare. Hmm, lipstick, ticket stub, keys, weird pamphlet. I really should organize this thing.

24. Wallet, found it! One, five, another one…hope I have enough.

25. You guys have cash on you?

26. No worries, I’ll use my card.

27. We’re here! Thank God, time to nosh and crash.

28. What do we owe you?

29. That’s it? Not bad!

30. Here you go, thanks so much.

31. You have a great night too!

32. Oh nooo I left my purse in the cab! WAIT!

33. Ugh, THANK YOU. So glad you saw me waving!

34. I owe you!

35. Best. Taxi. Ever.

 

 

 

Ask the People: What’s Your Most Memorable Taxi Story?

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It is a huge thrill to step off a plane in a new destination, hop into a cab and start exploring fresh surroundings. Many times a taxi will bring us to worlds unknown, whether it be a drop off in the heart of a buzzing metropolis or a bumpy ride along a never ending dirt road. We often put total trust into these drivers to bring us to where we need to go.

Seasoned wanderers know that hailing a cab can be very different in various countries and may leave a lasting impression. A few pro travel writers and bloggers have shared some of their best on-the-road stories below from their blogs and personal accounts. They’ve roamed from South Africa, England, India and everywhere in between to gather their tales of transportation to share with TaxiFareFinder!

“Perhaps the most memorable cab ride I’ve ever enjoyed was one in NYC in a cab driven by a mellow guy with long hair–an ageing hippie like me and my husband–who was playing great music.  When we approved “Painted Black” followed by “Werewolves of London,” he asked if we wanted him to crank it up.  “Yes!!!,” we giddily replied, thinking we must have fallen into a time warp.  We were actually disappointed when we reached our destination, which came all too soon—we were cabbing just from the Lower East Side to Little Italy.”

Carole Terwilliger Meyers is a travel writer and blogger who also operates the website Berkeley And Beyond, centered on her home town city.

“My first real travel experience was a college trip to Egypt when I was 18 years old. Cairo was a vibrant and exciting place, and the best way to get around to explore it all was via taxi. Although the roads seem to be littered with taxis, the first one to answer our call had a sign on top which read, “Need for Speed”. That should’ve been the first indication that my classmates and I were in for a wild ride. As the driver wove in and out of traffic barely escaping all of the red lights at a speed that I felt was equal to that of the plane I had taken across the Atlantic to get there, I couldn’t help but admire his skill. We did actually make it to our Nile River cruise all in one piece. We made sure to check the signs on the taxis carefully for the remainder of the trip.”

Shauna Armitage is the Executive Editor for Pure Wander, a website that encourages families to get out and take their travels to a higher level.

“I don’t think I’ve been in a London Black Cab more than once – but that one time was memorable. I left my hostel in a rush to catch a train and forgot a lovely suede jacket which my father had bought for me. As we drove to the station, I told the driver about my mishap; he asked for my home address and told me he’d see what he could do. I traveled for a time, flew home to Montreal, and three months later, a package arrived by sea: that wonderful man had picked it up, wrapped it and shipped it. He never gave me his name, and I was never able to thank him. So, if you’re reading these lines and you know who you are… thank you, that meant a great deal to me!”

Leyla Giray Alyanak manages Women on the Road, a website to empower women who want to travel solo.

“[While traveling in South Africa along the Wild Coast] Two hours later we haven’t moved an inch, my mood is a little less buoyant and my bum is numb. What is going on? It slowly dawns on me that as privately run enterprises, economics dictate that a taxi has to be fully loaded before heading off. And when I say full, I mean bursting at the seams. With people, luggage and shopping of all shapes and sizes. I sorely regret my “clever” move of bagging the back seat as I gag for air, knees whacked up against the seat in front.”

Katrine Carstens is a travel writer. She blogs over at Susdane about being a Danish global citizen.

“The very first time I ever left the country with a passport, I lost it while in transit. Completely embarrassed, defeated and upset, I continued to navigate the streets of Seville, Spain, trying to find my host family. Eventually I crawled into a taxi, where the driver quickly said “Pobresita! (poor girl!)” and brought me to by destination with a smile and friendly conversation. He was so nice and tried to not charge me after he heard my story. I was so grateful for his kindness. That taxi driver was half the reason I didn’t turn around and buy a plane ticket home!”

Eileen Cotter is a travel writer and wannabe adventurer. She runs a blog called CrookedFlight, documenting her experiences as a seasoned, yet unorganized, traveler.

“The Pushkar Mela – tens of thousands of tourists interested in bohemia, culture, and photography congregate at this annual camel festival in Rajasthan, India every year. That year we were one of the hordes. As we checked into our hotel, we could hear raucous cries from the festival grounds. In the distance retro ferris wheels and dozens of camels adorned with bright trinkets lured us. We dumped our luggage in the room and started bargaining with the first taxi driver we met. We remember grinning when he settled on what seemed like a fair price at the time. 5 minutes into the taxi ride, we were surrounded with smoke. A dramatic halt later, our cab officially broke down. The next 30 minutes were spent waiting for our cab to be repaired, followed by scurrying around for another cab – to no avail. Then we spotted a vegetable vendor ferrying people to the festival grounds on his cart with the words ‘Rajoo Cab’ emblazoned across his cart. We won’t lie – we were skeptical. But we hopped on. A bumpy journey later, we were finally at the Pushkar Mela. Truly, a cab ride like no other. ”

Savi and Vid love offbeat travel and share their travel adventures and colorful fashion ideas on their blog Bruised Passports.

Animal Taxi Monday 11.3.14

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This has to be the hippest animal taxi we have ever seen! #animaltaximonday

Click here to view all of our Animal Taxi Monday pictures.

TaxiFareFinder Polls Archive

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Do You Tip Your Uber Driver?

  • No (49%)
  • Yes (35%)
  • Sometimes (16%)

Start Date: December 1, 2015 @ 7:44 am
End Date: No Expiry

  • Uber (53%)
  • Good ol' Taxi (23%)
  • Lyft (6%)
  • Flywheel (Formerly Cabulous) (6%)
  • Sidecar (4%)
  • Hailo (2%)
  • Curb (Formerly TaxiMagic) (2%)
  • mytaxi (2%)
  • Taxi Beat (0%)
  • Gett (2%)

Start Date: November 21, 2014 @ 9:08 pm
End Date: May 29, 2015 @ 11:30 am

When you visit TFF for fare estimates, how soon after do you plan to take a taxicab?

  • Within a few days (2~5 days) (28%)
  • No plans. Verifying past ride. (22%)
  • That day (~24 hours) (19%)
  • Immediately (18%)
  • Within a few months (13%)

Start Date: August 5, 2012 @ 5:56 am
End Date: No Expiry

What device are you on when you use TFF?

  • PC/Laptop (50%)
  • iPhone (20%)
  • Other (18%)
  • Android Device (10%)
  • BlackBerry (2%)

Start Date: November 3, 2011 @ 7:42 pm
End Date: No Expiry