Taking a taxi is not the same across the globe as it is in the United States and Canada, and there are some tips and insights that travelers should know before heading to their destination. If you are counting on public transportation and taxis to get your around, take some time to become familiar with the protocol when you leave home.
Some tips for transfers and taxis in other countries include:
Not everyone recognizes the hail.
Even though it seems common to wave down a taxi, this is not always the norm in many destinations, including some cities here in North America. In fact, in some regions, such as the city of Birmingham, Alabama, it is illegal to hail down a ride in the hub of downtown. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the laws of any unfamiliar regions and localities before venturing out. The concierge or airport staff may be able to provide some insight into alternatives for hailing down a ride.
Seek out the taxi stand.
Many regions have what is called a taxi stand, where only licensed and legal taxis can meet fares and pick up passengers. These are useful for visitors in unfamiliar areas, or for those that are traveling alone that might be nervous about taking a ride from a stranger. Ask your concierge or someone at the airport to determine the location of the nearest taxi stand for your own transfer or transportation.
Tipping is not always customary.
In North America, tipping is typically expected by drivers, but this isn't always the case elsewhere. In some countries, including Japan, tipping is rude and considered to be an insult! Other countries, such as South Korea, India, and Brazil, the gratuity is not expected, although it may be appreciated. This is a good example of why it is practical to research any area that you plan on visiting before you depart.
Fare shares are common in many regions.
Sharing the ride is a common practice in many regions, and the driver may or may not ask your permission to pick up other fares when traveling to your destination. Staff at the airport may also be in charge of sequestering people to ride in the same taxi to cut down on wait-time, cost, and vehicle emissions.
Nothing distinguishes you as a tourist like not knowing the customary way to get from one point to another when traveling. Do some research before departure, and familiarize yourself with the norms surrounding taxis, transfers, and other travel tips of your destination. To learn more about different taxi customs, you may want to contact a local taxi company like Airport Taxi Service.