Enabling Safer Travel Abroad - Taxis and more . . .
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Feb 14, 2013 10:23 PM Last Post By: colinfrog
Feb 11, 2013 2:35 PM
Enabling Safer Travel Abroad - Taxis and more . . .Hello, fellow travelers. I have traveled to 52 countries in the last 8 years for work, pleasure, and volunteering. 99% of the time, I've had great experiences all over the world. I truly see the best in people when I travel.
I'm a 30 year-old woman so I generally take extra precaution around safety risks. Despite being prepared for the risks associated with unsafe taxis, I was expressed kidnapped from a taxi in South America three years ago while volunteering. Two months ago, I was again locked in a taxi and extorted for additional fare in Vietnam. These taxi crimes are becoming more common and are often simply accepted as a legitimate risk of travel. I'm fed up and want to hear from others who are too.
1) What are your biggest travel safety concerns overall?
2) What precautions do you take when using taxis abroad?
2) What type of mobile connectivity (i.e. SMS/MMS/Voice/Data/WifiOnly) do you have when you travel for short periods abroad? Long periods abroad?
3) How much would you pay each time to ensure you are stepping into a vetted, certified taxi every time?
Please let me know whether you share my concerns about taxi safety and whether any solutions currently exist in developing countries where this is known to be a problem.
Feb 11, 2013 9:18 PM
1When I was in South America I used registered taxis (where there was such a thing) at bus stations and airports. When leaving a hostel I would use taxi drivers the hostel recommended. If no registered taxis available I would get in, tell the driver where I wanted to go, then take out my cell phone (with no local sim card in it) and pretend to call someone and in (my not very good) Spanish tell my imaginary friend I was in a taxi and the taxi number. I had not problems, but maybe I was lucky.
Feb 12, 2013 6:31 AM
2Beware not only of taxis but of the mustard trick as well.
Well, I never thought it would happen to me, as we were not particularly dressed as either tourists (hikers/backpackers), but at the corner of Avenida 9 de Julio and Avenida Santa Fe, my brand new wool blazer that I bought yesterday was just covered in a healthy dollop of fragrant hand lotion. Sure enough, as I had read on this forum last week before departing, a kind lady was there in an instant to point out the mounds of the stuff they covered my girlfriend and I with, and she had a handfull of Kleenex´s to help us wipe it off. I promptly screamed at her (in Russian for some odd reason...who knows, as I am not even Russian, but swearing in Russian sure sounds badass). They did not get anything, so we were lucky. Just thought I would share. Watch out for this trick...
Having read all the warnings about bird poo sprayings, imagine my surprise to become a victim. We were coming from the Metropolitan Cathedral walking to Florida Street. This is a block with 4 subway stairsets and no store fronts. As the material splattered on the wall, I knew the scam and chased away the short woman coming to "wipe". With her was a short Indian appearing man whom I also chased away. Unfortunately, we did not turn and run back to the Cathedral but continued walking to encounter a group of well dressed accomplices who threw 2 pesos notes on the ground. Someone of them forced a hand into DH's front pocket and removed his money. They were so concerned if we were all right--ha, ha. Some scam. This was a noon. Later in the day we returned to the area, which was, of course, empty of scammers. The building wall was splashed in MANY places, in addition to ours. I reported this to the police stationed on Florida Street but he could have cared less.
Feb 12, 2013 9:59 AM
3In Andean countries look for taxis with company information and tel number posted on the roof. Call them when possible to pick you up. If you flag down a taxi its better to do so outside of tourist areas.
In some situations you won´t have these options and have to take whichever taxi you find. Keep the majority of your money in a seperate bank account to minimise lose if you are kidnaped for your ATM card.
Feb 12, 2013 11:49 AM
4In Argentina using banks and ATMs means getting the official rate of exchange which is being robbed by the government in some way.
Feb 14, 2013 10:23 PM
5ah yes, the mustard trick. They tried this on me, but they used what looked and smelled like liquified human poo (as if they had done it into a blender). I had heard about the scam so just kept walking back to my hostel where I had to scrub my bag clean. Filthy thing to do, they are just animals wearing clothes.
Reserva Provincial Esteros del IberáBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$240.00 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$20.92 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$13.16 per night