8 Travel Tips to Plan Ahead of Time

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travel tips to plan ahead of time

Heading on a trip soon for an early Holiday excursion? Even if you’re not, we wanted to share a list of useful tips to use whenever you are traveling, even just for the weekend! Many people start their adventures without thinking about what to do before they leave to make the most of their time, and we are here to give you some helpful things to do before you hop on the plane.

travel tips to plan ahead of time

  1. Check into your flight ahead of time. Most Airlines will allow you to check into your flight before you get to the Airport, which can help you avoid some of the long lines once you get to the Airport.
    planning ahead for travel
  2. Staying in a hostel or Airbnb? Make sure you purchase travel size commodities ahead of time, and remember that you can bring up to 3 ounces on an airplane, so most travel sizes will fit! This will make it easier so you don’t have to find a convenience store once you get there (it may also be more expensive to purchase if you wait).travel tips
  3. If you’re going to a non-English speaking country, it’s important that you have at least basic knowledge and understanding of the language they speak so you are able to communicate at an elementary level when necessary. Purchasing a language book may also be helpful!planning travel ahead of time
  4. Purchase a nice, durable backpack to carry around with you at all times. This makes it easy to carry snacks, water, and additional clothes you may need while exploring the area you are traveling. With a organized packed backpack hopefully you won’t have to go back to your Airbnb the whole day and can focus on your adventures!
    planning a trip ahead of time
  5. This sounds old school, but printing out a map of the area you are going is always very useful in exploring a new city, especially if you won’t be able to use cell service! Let yourself get lost in exploring for a little while, but let the map guide your way back.
    schedule uber ahead of time
  6. Traveling to a destination without a vehicle? One of the most important things to arrange ahead of time is your transportation arrangements. You can even use our taxi fare calculator that will help you calculate the cost and duration of your taxi ahead of time. And if you’re looking for a comparison of different rideshare companies in the area, try out Ride Guru to relieve the stress that transportation can be.order money ahead of time
  7. Order Currency! Check with your credit card providers first to see if they charge any international fees (most do, usually 3%). If they don’t have a charge, you may not need to order currency ahead of time but it is a must if you will not be able to use your credit card without a fee. Go to your local bank to exchange money at the least expensive rate. Also, always check that you are receiving the correct currency amount based on the current exchange rate (available through Google or sites like x-rates).proactive travel tips
  8. Don’t forget to pack your passport and any other legal travel documents you need! If you’re going on an extended stay, make sure you have some type of insurance as well.

Oh, and one last thing, enjoy your trip! Make the most of your time spent and challenge yourself to adventure in places you never dreamed of exploring.

 

 

Taxi Hall of Fame & Shame

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An experience in a taxi is often one of the first defining moments when you reach a new city, whether for business or fun. This experience can set the tone for the entire trip, leaving the passenger excited to explore or with a sour taste and low expectations of the city.  We decided to dig deeper into the reputations that different cities around the world have for their taxi services. Based on research conducted from various travel websites, traveler forums, and the TaxiFareFinder community, we have compiled a list of the top five cities with the best and worst reputations. This information was collected, organized, and ranked by TaxiFareFinder staff based on the following criteria points:

  • Availability: the amount of taxis on the street, available to pickup passengers
  • Cleanliness: the state of the taxi when a passenger enters; the cleanliness of the seats, windows, handles, etc.
  • Friendliness: the demeanor and attitude of the driver; willingness to chat and answer questions of the passenger
  • Knowledgeable: the ability of the driver to navigate confidently around the city without getting lost
  • Quality of Driving: the ability of the driver to operate the vehicle in a safe and comfortable manner for the passenger
  • Quality of Vehicles: the condition of the automobile serving as the taxi; up-to-date, well-taken care of vehicles
  • Safety: the overall sense of safety for passengers
  • Value: the cost of the taxi ride in relation to time and distance travelled

The Hall of Fame highlights cities with the best reputations around their taxi services, showing the top 2-3 attributes that allow the city a high ranking. The Hall of Shame highlights cities with low reputations, but with attributes shown in red to signify low ranking in these categories.  Do you agree with the TaxiFareFinder Taxi Hall of Fame & Shame?

Ridiculous Taxi Stories

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Whether your cab driver drove through Manhattan like a speed demon or tried to humor you with knock knock jokes, we have all had at least one interesting taxi story for the books. Our team at TaxiFareFinder loves to hear funny, shocking, and just downright outrageous taxi stories! One of our favorite TaxiFareFinder pages is this one here where you can submit your own taxi stories and of course read about other crazy rides. Here are some of our favorites!

 

Cabbies know it best (Submitted by Kate)

Mine isn’t a complaint at all. I was pregnant and in labor. On the way to the hospital the cabbie kept telling me to breathe. He pretty much carried me into the hospital and offered to stay with me. The next day there were a dozen roses sent to my room. I never knew his name-he signed the card “Cabbie and family”

 

Estimated Fare: Turkey Sandwich (Submitted by Ari)

I was a 15 year old science nerd stranded in San Francisco with no street smarts, applying to an accelerated program at Stanford. I was all alone without money and I’d missed my bus to the airport, and was going to miss my flight home. I’d gotten a business card from this Arab cabbie who’d driven me from the airport a couple days before, and when I called him and explained my situation he remembered me, burned rubber out to the university, and blew through several red lights to get me to my plane. Stupid me, I hadn\’t even known to give him a tip the first time he’d driven me, but the second time I didn’t even have enough money for the whole fare. All I could do was offer to give him my lunch which was a turkey sandwich from Safeway, and he accepted. That guy really helped me. I still remember his name, thank you Haji.

 

Yes, you can (Submitted by Ange)

Can I tell a positive story? I took a cab to the commuter rail, and once I got on the train, I realized I had left my BlackBerry in the cab! After calling my phone a couple times, the driver heard it and answered, asking me where he could drop it off. Instead of stealing or ignoring it, he ended up returning it to the dorm for me! I wish I knew who he was and the cab company- a truly awesome cab driver right there.

 

What a coincidence?! (Submitted By: young and dumb)

I went to chicago with some friends for our senior spring break in high school, took the train from St. Louis to ChiTown. When we got there, we caught a cab to take us to our hotel. He took us to the wrong one, which we didn’t realize until we were inside. Came outside to catch another cab got the same driver again…oh to be 17 again.

How Safe is Uber?

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Since Uber’s inception there have been numerous reports of Uber rides gone awry and it has led many people to ask the same question, “How safe is Uber?”. Check out the below infographic to learn what Uber is doing to ensure your safety and where they are still falling short. Be informed and be safe before you ride!

Uber Background Checks

How Safe is Uber? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Compliments of BackgroundChecks.org

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.

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.