Using a taxi is an essential skill for any traveler. As USA Today reports, taxis are a great alternative to renting a car. But if you don't know what you're doing, you could end up paying for it, literally. So follow the below tips for successful taxi travel:

Tip #1: Not All Cabs Are Created Equal

You need to be picky about what cabs you use. The best services will have company names clearly displayed on the sides of their cars, registered plates, a meter in the car, and a working taxi light on top. The fewer of these features your cab has, the more sketchy your service will be. Asking locals or the hotel desk is a sure-fire reference point for knowing which cabs are best. Being selective rather than taking whichever stops will help ensure you get quality taxi service.

Tip #2: Order Your Cab

If you know you'll need a cab, and you know which companies are trustworthy, ordering your cab ahead of time is a great idea. This is especially true if you'll have special requirements, such as:

  • space for extra bags
  • enough people that you'll need a family-sized cab
  • someone in a wheelchair who needs access to the vehicle
  • a driver who knows an obscure location particularly well

Ordering your cab makes sure you get exactly what you need to make your trip as comfortable and convenient as possible. 

Tip #3: Use Your Driver As A Resource

If you've followed the first two tips, you should have a driver you can trust reasonably well, and you should use them as a resource. In fact, cab drivers can be the best resource on a trip. They've driven everywhere in the city, so ask them for their tips on the best food, sightseeing, hotels, and deals. They'll be happy to share their expertise of the city they love with someone like you!

Tip #4: Avoid the Scammers

Unfortunately, tourists can be easy to spot and can thus be an easy target for scams. This applies when getting a taxi as well. You can't always order a taxi or ask for referrals--sometimes you need to take whatever taxi is there. In those situations, follow the below advice to make sure you avoid being scammed:

  • Know the fare: Ask your driver beforehand how much they charge so at the end of the ride you're not faced with an obscene bill.
  • No means no: Some drivers try to tack on a last minute charge for traffic, getting lost, or handling bags. If it wasn't in the agreed fare, say no and stick to it until the driver backs down.
  • Keep it with you: If you can keep your bags with you rather than put them in the trunk, do so for two reasons. First, if there's something you can forget, you will forget it--and good luck finding it once the cab is gone! Second, if your driver wants to tack on an extra fee and he has your bags ransom in the trunk, you've really lost all power to say no. So if possible, keep your bags with you.
  • Give specific directions: Knowing where you need to go and the directions for getting there will prevent a driver from taking an unnecessarily long route to charge you more.
  • Carry a variety of bills: If your ride cost $15 and all you have is a $20, your driver may pretend not to have change as an excuse to keep the extra tip. By carrying a variety of bills, you can give the exact amount without having to haggle over change. 

Taxi's are a part of the travel experience. By using these tips, you can make sure it's a positive part. Continue to learn more here.