5 Ways Not To Take A Taxi Like A Tourist

Posted on: 18 September 2014

Being a tourist doesn't mean you have to hail a cab like one. Learning how to properly hail a taxi can not only make your trip smoother, it will also help keep the fact that you're visiting under wraps (a good idea to avoid tourist traps and unscrupulous locals.) Here are 5 ways you can not take a taxi like a tourist. Continue reading more.

1. Hail a Cab That Is Actually Available

People from small towns or traveling tourists are notoriously naive when it comes to hailing a taxi. Despite their best efforts to wave, whistle or otherwise grab the attention of a taxi service driver, all the yellow cabs seem to pass them by. It's not that the cabbies are ignoring them. Many out-of-towners just haven't brushed up on their "taxi lingo." Most taxi services have universal signals that let you know if a cab is available or not. If the taxi's off duty lights are on, or the lights are completely blacked out, the driver isn't available to pick up a new fare. Only attempt to hail a cab that has its cab number (and only its cab number) brightly lit -- the signal that they're available for another fare. 

2. Give It Some Gusto

Tourists who aren't familiar with how to hail a cab tend to stand on the sidewalk, gently waving until (hopefully) a taxi heads their way. This is definitely not how the locals do it. Don't be afraid to step out a few feet into the street and firmly hold your arm out until a driver gives you a nod or pulls over. While the goal is not to become roadkill, it can be hard for a driver to separate you from others if you're on a busy sidewalk. Make yourself known and impossible to ignore, and chances are you'll get a taxi sooner rather than later. 

3. Give the Driver a Street Corner, Not an Exact Address 

Giving an exact address to your driver is the same as wearing a t-shirt that says, "I'm a tourist!" While some cabbies use GPS to get them where they need to go, most professionals that work for a taxi service are familiar with the area and don't need directions. After all, it's what they do for a living. Instead of telling your driver that you'd like to be taken to a specific address, give him or her the name of a street corner that is close to your destination. 

4. Bring Cash (Or At Least Tip in Cash) 

Although almost all taxi services accept plastic, it is still the preference of most drivers to be paid in cash. A driver cannot legally refuse to take your fare by card, so if you hailed a cab on the fly and it's all you have, don't worry about it. However, if you're traveling, keeping cash on you specifically for the purpose of getting a taxi is a good idea. If you have to pay by card but have enough cash on you for a tip, go ahead and leave the green as a "thank you" for great service. 

5. Tip Enough 

Tourists have a bad reputation for not tipping enough, simply because they are unaware of the local customs in that area. Generally speaking, 20% of your fare is a good tip, and 30% is even better. A 10% tip is insulting, and a 0% tip should only be reserved for cabbies that give truly awful service. 

By hailing a cab like a pro, you'll get a ride faster and keep the fact that you're a visitor on the down low. Use these 5 easy tips to catch a taxi without putting a tourist target on your back.