How NOT to Get Cheated by Taxi Drivers…Ever Again!

21 Feb

I have a love-hate relationship with taxi drivers. There are those I love, the ones who have taken us on tours and one who even invited us to his home. But, there are some I hate, the ones who con me, thinking I’m a dumb tourist who’ll never know the difference!

I’ve been cheated by taxi drivers all over the world, from Houston to Macedonia. Then, I got smarter and started using a system to check their honesty. Until I started using this method, I was never sure if I was being had. So, here it is…. I promise it works!

Limassol, Cyprus

In Cyprus, our taxi driver took us to his home to meet his 2-yr.-old daughter. He even gave us a bag of fruit picked from his own trees. Such a nice man! (Limassol, Cyprus)

This system works best in countries where the taxi drivers don’t use meters, the kind where you ask a driver his price, you haggle a bit, then hop in, hoping you got a fair deal. It may take you a little longer, but you won’t get bamboozled!

Step 1: I hail a taxi and ask the driver how much he’ll charge me to take me to my destination. I verify the amount. Sometimes, I even have him write it down on piece of paper. Then, no matter what price he quoted, I tell him “No Thanks” and let him drive away.

Step 2: I hail another cab and ask the driver how much he’ll charge me to take me to my destination. I verify the amount and compare it to my first price.

If his price is higher than the first guy, I know he’s trying to cheat me. At this point I can either negotiate down to the first driver’s price. Or say “See Ya!”, letting him go, if he won’t budge on his higher price.

If the second taxi is lower, I know the first guy was trying to trick me, and I can either haggle some more, or hop in, content that I got a better deal the second-time-around.

Getting cheated stinks! Royally! But, I’ve found that using this system helps.

There are a lot of travelers out there. What do you do to keep from being cheated?

Abu Dhabi

Even if the taxi has a meter, we ask the driver to give us an estimated price. We did this in Abu-Dhabi and when we arrived at our destination and the meter was higher than what the taxi driver had quoted, he honored his quoted price! What a guy! (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

Blue Mosque Istanbul Turkey

I only use this method during the day. If it's 1:00a.m., I hop in the first cab I can get, happy that I found a ride at that horrific hour. (Blue Mosque, Instanbul, Turkey)

Skopje Macedonia Square

In Macedonia, a taxi driver claimed his meter didn't work, even though it was clearly running. When we arrived at our destination, he charged us double what the meter read. With two exhausted children ready for naps, we didn't have the will to fight him....the RAT FINK! (Skopje, Macedonia)

Dubrovnik

In Dubrovnik, we hired a driver to take us to Bosnia-Herzogovina. During our ride, he told us about the war in the former Yugoslavia and even showed us his war wound. I've learned a lot from taxi drivers. (Dubrovnik)

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4 Responses to “How NOT to Get Cheated by Taxi Drivers…Ever Again!”

  1. Jenna February 21, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Brilliant! Works in the US, too? I’m amazed by your adventurous spirit!

  2. redeyefamily February 22, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Thanks! I figure it never hurts to ask for an estimate, even in the U.S. If I don’t ask, I sit there staring at the meter, wondering if I have enough money!

  3. STRONGER (@STRONGER2006) November 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    Just happened with me at this moment, I am in Prague, Czech Repubilc.. Taxi driver charge me 10 times more than he should. That happened to me also in Lebanon, Brazil, India, Arab Emirates, so many places.. I swear that I will keep your “tips”. Honesty, no idea how stupid this man make me feel like now.

  4. redeyefamily November 14, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    Yep. It is so infuriating! I recently had a situation with several taxi drivers in Tunisia. Don’t feel foolish! If you travel, you will get cheated by them. It’s a constant struggle. And I know how you feel!

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