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Staying Safe When Taking a Taxi

When you hop in a taxi you’re taking a little bit of a risk. Here are a few tips to help keep the odds in your favor.

A taxi driver can be a great resource for local information and usually more interested in getting you to your destination than doing anything fishy. Yet, things still happen to travelers all over the world. Most of the time, if something bad happens, it’s because a dishonest person saw an opportunity.

Here are a few things that I’ve learned along the way that might help you avoid getting into a sticky situation.

  • Negotiate the price of the ride before you get in. Prices can change when you get to your destination and you won’t have much of a choice other than to pay it.
  • Make sure all the door handles work (especially on the inside) and the taxi has a meter. Additionally, the driver should have an ID and a license posted inside the car.
  • Call for a Taxi or have the hotel call one for you rather than hailing one on the street.
  • Keep the windows up. It’s very easy for someone to reach in and grab something if you get stuck in traffic. (I watched this nearly happen to a friend when I was in Tanzania)
  • Know the local currency and how much you’re paying. It’s easy to be taken advantage of if you don’t know how much you have. Also, have your payment in your pocket. Don’t pay out of your wallet.
  • Keep your belongings close and your electronics stored. It’s a good idea to have your phone handy but don’t pull out your iPad.

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