Monday’s Money Saving Tips: Avoid Taxis

Jonny Blair of Dont Stop Living recommends avoiding taxis on your travels

Monday’s Money Saving Tips – avoid taxis!!

Today’s Monday’s Money Saving Tips is all about getting you to stop paying ridiculous amounts of money to taxi drivers!! They earn enough as it is and they often rip you off (and none of this “they work hard and work irregular hours” melarkey). Yes they work hard and work irregular hours, but so do you and I!! They’re hardly unique. I work irregular hours but I don’t rip people off!

a red taxi in Hong Kong - Jonny Blair a lifestyle of travel

A red taxi in Hong Kong – guaranteed to be 10 times more expensive than bus or MTR!

I spent almost 2 years living in Australia and I NEVER paid for a taxi myself. I used a total of two taxis in two years. One my company paid for it – from Parramatta to Sydney for a staff night out and the second one was when my mates couldn’t be arsed to walk back to the hostel in Devonport in Tasmania so reluctantly I shared with them. Apart from that I avoided them in Australia. It wasn’t difficult at all. You just need to use buses and trains more and do the odd bit of walking. It’s amazing how much money you will save.

Jonny Blair in a taxi in South Africa in 2011

Getting a taxi in South Africa in 2011.

But I’m not really telling you to totally avoid taxis, as sometimes we are in a rush or for safety reasons we just need them. I thought I’d do a Pros and Cons for you on Getting taxis (I’ve tried to make this is as universal as I could):

Cons of taking taxis:

– Too expensive

– The drivers try to rip you off

– You don’t get a real life public transport experience

– Taxi drivers assume you are rich

Jonny Blair in a taxi in Ecuador living a lifestyle of travel

Getting a taxi in Quito in Ecuador – this driver was decent and chatted away – I got my money’s worth out of him.

– Taxi drivers sometimes give you false information about places

– Taxi drivers always take you a long way to your destination to make more money

– Taxi drivers are only after your money

– Taxi drivers add on fake extra charges

Jonny Blair in Venezuela

Biting the bullet literally and getting a secure taxi through Caracas in order to secure my Suriname Visa the day after I escaped a bag slashing and a mugging!

– Taxi drivers don’t rush when they are in traffic jams

– Taxi drivers pretend they don’t have change as another means to rip you off

– Taxi drivers can take you hostage and steal all your belongings (which has happened in some parts of South America)

– Taxi drivers can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere

– Taxi drivers can pretend they don’t speak English

– You might leave your camera/wallet in a taxi by mistake (admittedly this can happen anywhere)

Pros for taking taxis:

– Taxis can be quicker

– Taxis can be more reliable

– Taxis can be more comfortable

– Taxis can have local radio on

– Taxi drivers often have detailed information and know the local area well

– Taxis can store your luggage easier

– Taxis can be safer

My 10 tips when taking taxis:

1. Make sure there isn’t a public transport option that does the exact same route (or one similar).

2. Ask and agree a price first.

3. Carry change.

4. Make sure you lock the door when you get inside.

5. Always carry maps so you can show the taxi driver exactly where you are heading.

6. Get your money’s worth – bombard the taxi driver with questions and make him work for his money (this is a favourite one of mine).

7. Video the taxi driver’s comments.

8. Make sure your baggage is secure if you keep it in the boot.

9. Price around for a few different taxis to begin with.

10. Follow your journey.Biting the bullet literally and getting a secure taxi through Caracas in order to secure my Suriname Visa the day after I escaped a bag slashing and a mugging!

11. Use the hostel or hotel you are staying in to book your taxi (they often know the trusted companies).

Alternatives to Taking Taxis:

– Get a mate that lives there to drive you

– Hire a car

– Get the hostel or hotel owner to drive you or pick you up

Jonny Blair in a taxi in Philippines

Getting the owner of our hostel in the Philippines to taxi us to the ferry port (free of charge in fact!)

– Walk

– Hitch-hike

– Use public transport

And by the way, I’m the same as all of you travellers out there of course and I’m good at being a hypocrite! I take taxis when I want to as well you know, but in general, I try to avoid taxis. This is just a bit of a heads up to be careful when taking taxis. That’s all for today’s Monday’s Money Saving Tips folks on Don’t Stop Living – a lifestyle of travel.

Here’s 5 taxi videos from my travels just to prove I don’t always avoid taxis!:

Getting ripped off in LAOS by a taxi driver (there was no other feasible option for me on the 22 mile journey):

Getting a taxi in Doha, QATAR (I’d have been lost otherwise!):

A taxi with an IMMENSE view over La Paz in BOLIVIA (it was cheap enough):

A taxi with a party atmosphere on a night out in Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA:

A taxi to the city centre of Paramaribo in SURINAME:

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