How to Choose Between a Taxi, Ride Share or Transfer Service When Traveling Abroad

Estimated reading time 8 min

Getting around town when traveling is a major aspect of your vacation. After all, you want to be able to see the most sights and visit as many areas as possible in your time abroad. This is where taxis, ride shares and transfers come in handy. You have the ability to get to your next destination in rapid time. As you decide how you will be getting around on your next adventure, use this handy guide to help you pick the best option between a taxi, ride share or transfer.

Different Types of Services

Let’s start with a breakdown of the three main types of services.

Taxis

Taxi Service - taxi, ride share or transfer

Taxis are the traditional form of getting about. When you hire a taxi driver you are looking to get from point A to point B as quick and cost effective as possible. Taxis can be called ahead and waiting for you or you can find one in popular tourist zones, like by the Eiffel Tower or La Sagrada Famillia.

Ride Sharing

Girl using ride sharing app - taxi, ride share or transfer

Ride sharing services, most notably Lyft and Uber, are a new and novel concept involving an app. You schedule your pickup, pay for your ride, and leave/receive feedback for the ride. Ride sharing cars aren’t typically parked and waiting for you somewhere, instead you are ordering ahead and potentially waiting for them to show up for you. Always look for the Uber or Lyft sticker before getting in.

Transfers

Car Transfer Service - Taxi, ride share or transfer

Transfers are a pre-scheduled service planned to pick you up at your designated spot (hotel, airport, cruise port, etc.) at a scheduled time. Scheduling and payment is all done ahead of time so you won’t have to worry about anything while you are traveling. Simply show up 15 minutes ahead of time and wait for the driver holding a sign with your name.

Cost of Transportation

Taxis

Taxis, in comparison to ride sharing, are cheaper for short rides, but cost more for longer trips. Yet they can easily be the most expensive, especially if you don’t understand the basic rules. When you choose a taxi you have to make them use a meter so they are tracking your mileage. For payment, always discuss the fair before you get in the taxi. In addition, always have cash so you can give exact fair and a nominal tip if preferred. These tips can help prevent being scammed. Keep in mind even if you follow these precautions you could still get ripped off. Before leaving on your vacation be sure to research taxis and determine good from bad. A little research ahead of time can help save you a lot of hassle, stress and time while you are away.

Ride Share

Ride sharing services show you the amount of money that the ride will cost, upfront so there’s no worry about getting overcharged at your destination. However, the issue with Uber and Lyft is that they can choose to jack up the hourly rate depending on customer demand. For example, on New Year’s Day 2016 Uber customers discovered they were charged more than $200 for a ride home, due to a surge in demand. So, if you notice that all of the ride share drivers are changing an exorbitant amount, you may be stuck with having to pay the high priced fair if you don’t have another transportation option as a back-up.

Transfer

When you get a transfer from go-today you prepay for your service, so there’s no fear of getting ripped off. You’ll pay for everything before you’ve left for your vacation so there’s nothing to worry about while you’re away.

Safety When Getting a Ride Abroad

Safety is your primary concern when traveling abroad. After all, you are a stranger in a foreign land, and you want to be able to soak in the culture without fear or worry.

Taxi! - taxi, ride sharing or transfer

Taxi

As for choosing a taxi, here are a few tips to help keep you safe. For starters, only hail a taxi at a predetermined taxi stand or by calling for one ahead of time. Before getting into a cab check for a few things: taxi name on the vehicle, phone number, badge of the driver and a meter. All of these together help ensure sure you are getting in a legit taxicab.

Ride Share

To help you stay safe when choosing a ride sharing option in any country is to review their driver profile. Most ride sharing companies encourage both riders and drivers to leave a rating when the ride is complete. After scheduling a ride look at the driver who will be coming to pick you up and see what other customers have said about them. Although it isn’t perfect, it’s a great way to learn a little about your drive and know what to expect once they arrive.

Transfer

Transfers booked through go-today offer a hired driver, ensuring they are going to be professional. Here you want to watch for general common curtsey.

For all options, remember to trust your instinct. It’s okay to refuse a ride from a taxi cab or to walk away.

Convenience of Services

Taxi

Taxis can be convenient, but first you need to know how to find or contact them. Considering that taxi stands are typically reserved for urban centers and airports, you’ll have a difficult time hailing a taxi in most areas. If you haven’t planned in advance by looking up cab company phone numbers, you may be out of luck when in another country. Of course, calling a cab also requires you to carry a cell phone, which can be extremely costly when traveling abroad.

Ride Share

Ride sharing is convenient in that you can schedule a pickup at any time using an app. However, as a traveler to Europe, South America, Asia, or South Africa, this can create a problem if you do not have an international internet plan on your smartphone. Most international internet service plans are cost prohibitive, and considering where you may be located, you might not have service at all.

Transfer

As for the convenience of a transfer service, everything is handled in advance. You don’t have to worry about calling anyone or explaining the directions to your destination. Transfers are the clear winners in the contest of convenience for travelers aboard.

Using Services in Other Countries

Taxi

Taxis are the most common form of private transportation in most countries. However, the services are regulated differently depending on the country. For example, you may not see the standard issue yellow cab color of taxis in another part of the world. Before traveling be sure to do a little research to know what to look for in your taxi. For example, taxis in Costa Rica are red with a yellow triangle and yellow light while taxis in Bangkok can be a number of vibrant colors.

Ride Share

Ride Sharing App - Taxi, Ride Share or Transfer

As ride sharing is a new concept, you may be limited in their availability. Lyft has the least amount of locations outside of the US. In fact, if you look for Lyft you’ll need to use different apps for access. These include the Didi app in China and the Grab app in Southeast Asia. As for specific cities with Lyft services, these include:

  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Hanoi
  • Bangkok
  • Phuket
  • Manila
  • Singapore
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Jakarta
  • Bali

Uber offers more availability, including 76 countries and 473 cities including locations in South America, Europe, Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the South Pacific. However, services in other countries vary from those Uber provides in the US. For example, if you are traveling in China you’ll need to look for the app People’s Uber. While Shanghai offers five different Uber-ish options including Shared Ride and People’s Uber +.

Final Words of Transportation Wisdom

When traveling aboard on your next vacation consider the best transportation options for your needs. Start with why you’ll need to request transportation services. For example, if you need a ride from your airport to your hotel, choose a transfer via go-today. Also, if you know that you’ll need a pickup later in the day, you can easily pre-request a transfer so it will be waiting for you.

If you are in need of an impromptu pickup in the city center back to your hotel, you can choose a taxi or ride share. However, you’ll need to know in advance whether either of these services are available at your destination. A bit of planning and research can help you make the smartest transportation decisions between a taxi, ride share or transfer when traveling abroad.

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