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how many of you spring for taxi expense when in strange new environment?

how many of you spring for taxi expense when in strange new environment?

Nov 29th, 2000, 11:37 AM
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how many of you spring for taxi expense when in strange new environment?

People are strange when you're a stranger someone once said. Does the first landing in a new place freak you out? How many of you navigate on your own from airport to hotel for the first time in a new city? Do you spring for the taxi expense or would you feel you are babying yourself to eschew the public transport and the fumble on the street to the lodging?
Nov 29th, 2000, 11:39 AM
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Dear Tinman,
I always spring for a cab - I'm on vacation, I'm tired, I don't want to get grumpy with my travel companion, and I budget for it. Bottom line, it's my vacation, I'm going to take it easy when I want to!
Nov 29th, 2000, 11:50 AM
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For me, the decision to take a cab has to do with planning. When I have not researched the local options (this happens over 50% of the time when I am traveling in the US on business), I take a cab. I cannot "turn in an expense" for my time doing such minuscule planning, most of the time, and so, if a cab costs more, it is simply a cost of that trip. Most meals on the road are the same way. Air travel and lodging expenses are more substantial, and almost always involve planning.

While car rental is my preferred first stop (pre-planned) for most trips to Europe (business or not), there are cities for which cabs are an excellent value, especially when traveling with more than two other companions: Berlin and Paris (Orly, but not CDG) come to mind.
Nov 29th, 2000, 11:53 AM
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I used to carry luggage through city centers searching for my hotel. Florence comes to mind...we couldn't find the hotel that was only 5 blocks from termini. The sign was about 12"X12", and we walked past about three times. Rolling luggage does not do well on cobblestones. Call me a taxi.
Carrying luggage on crowded metros (Paris) and buses (Rome) also brings back bad memories. I love the public transportation in Europe; as long as I'm only carrying my camera and guidebook.
Nov 29th, 2000, 11:54 AM
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Why do you care? What is with the increase on this board of such nonsensical questions, anyway. This board is becoming full of self-absorbed drivel.
Nov 29th, 2000, 11:57 AM
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Though hardly ever "freaked out" by arriving in a different country I am nearly always tired and somewhat dirty. After learning the HARD way, (while back backing as a 20 something, my girl pal and I spent, no lie, nearly 2.5 hours trying just to get OUT of Heathrow and another hour trying to find our hotel in Belgrave.. all while sporting pretty severe hang overs.... ah youth!) I find it well worth the convenience to throw my bags into a taxi and drive strait to my hotel... sometimes trying to track down busses or shuttles is kind of a hassle. However this last trip we had a long layover in London, we locked our bags up and hopped on the Heathrow express then strolled Hyde Park for an hour or so. But it was kind of pricey for the round trip Express ticket.
Nov 29th, 2000, 12:00 PM
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Public transportation every time, unless it is unavailable (like arriving at Marco Polo Airport at 1:00am) or there are MANY of us (herding 6 women onto the Gatwick Express was too daunting; anyway, it was cheaper to hire a van to pick us up at the airport than to buy 6 train tickets).
Nov 29th, 2000, 12:02 PM
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I'll spring for cab fare to airports because I like to feel more secure in getting to the airport on time, and being an ex-New Yorker I don't trust public transportation not to break down or get stuck on the way (or more likely, absent-mindedly get on the wrong train). Sometimes I'll take a cab because I'm tired and it's there. If I'm under no pressure, I usually enjoy experiencing foreign public transit systems - it's an adventure. I don't quibble over the cost of a cab ride, though. If I'm that broke, and I often have been, I don't travel.
Nov 29th, 2000, 12:05 PM
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Gee, Dorothy, it seemed like a sensible question to me for a travel discussion forum. You must be a ball to travel with, or did you just get out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. Maybe I'm just self-absorbed too, but I enjoy this type of thread.
But to answer the question, yes, I believe in doing the taxi upon arrival unless I know it is a very easy public transport situation with the destination right on a single line. The next day without luggage I begin to explore the local transportation situation.
Nov 29th, 2000, 01:06 PM
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Always a taxi unless I've been there before and know it's easier to use a bus/train, etc. I think it's sort of a hoot that taxis seem to cost just about the same from the airport to the downtown of many major cities (NYC, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Paris, Rome, Miami, Seattle to name just a few...) If I'm on my own I like to have someone to ask questions about the city, and usually taxi drivers are more than happy to give you their opinions!
Nov 29th, 2000, 01:09 PM
Brian in Atlanta
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When I don't speak the language and I'm not familiar with the route from the airport to the hotel, we almost always take public transport. I never want to be taken by an unscrupulous cab driver, and I never want to worry that I might have been. Sadly, I'd dwell on it.

Plus, I'm sometimes uncomfortable making small conversation with a talkative cabbie - especially one I have a hard time understanding.
Nov 29th, 2000, 02:05 PM
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Depends on if the public transport runs on rails or wheels. If there is a rail option I will almost always take it; as I have a 'thing' about sitting in traffic watching a taxi meter tick over when the vehicle is not moving.

I -never- venture into any city, strange or not, without a good map in hand.
Nov 29th, 2000, 02:24 PM
Santa Chiara
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For me, in some cities in particular, trains or buses are preferable to taxis, not only because of the cost but because of the traffic. In particular I prefer the train from Fiumicino, Heathrow and Brussels airports and the Air France bus from de Gaulle. Berlin requires a taxi, in my experience. Anyway, trains--and for some reason and in most cases, the Air France bus--can get you there faster. Depending on where your hotel is, however, you may still may need to take a taxi, which can take longer than the train ride, especially in London. (Exactly when did the traffic get so horrendous there?)
Nov 29th, 2000, 03:00 PM
wes fowler
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Avoiding taxis is an excellent argument for the concept of traveling light! I take public transportation just to ensure that I won't bog myself down with baggage. Do so for a couple of other reasons as well - to immediately immerse myself in the new environment; to invariably save money and because of planning. Seems inconceivable to me to meticulously plan a two or three week trip to a foreign country without also planning how I intend to get to my first destination in that country - it's all of a piece.
Nov 30th, 2000, 09:24 AM
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OK Josh, your a taxi. Seriously, I always try to find out about airport shuttles. They are almost always less expensive than taxies, take you door to door.
Dec 1st, 2000, 12:32 AM
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If we arrive late at night, we always take a taxi. Otherwise, if the public transportation is easy and quick, we'll take it. The thing is, when we arrive, I'm really excited and want to get to the hotel and dump our stuff asap so we can start exploring and I don't want to spend even 30 extra minutes in transit. Shuttle buses are great if they dump you at your hotel but not so great if you have to get from some point in town to your hotel. Also, the more people that are traveling together, the better deal a taxi is. If we're traveling with our parents, we take the taxi by default.
I'm a little concerned about being ripped off by a taxi driver, too, so I try to get a grasp on where the airport is in relation to our hotel and I ask the hotel how much it should cost.
We don't ever feel like we're babying ourselves or taking the easy way. We do what we want and what we're comfortable with.
Dec 1st, 2000, 09:49 AM
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Take taxis from the airport - - not since 1989. That's when I realized I had to get to Europe regularly and couldn't do it wihtout economizing. The problem is that airports are always to hell and back and getting into town costs a lot (the new Athens airport is in Sparta, but I figure that's just a payback for losing the Peloponnesian War). And sometimes it's expensive to get from train stations to your hotel as well, so again no taxis unless I'm sure it's fairly close.

European public transportation is usually better than in the U.S., and one of my three favorite features in Fodor's guidebooks is the description of how to get from the airport (it's in the Roman numeraled pages at the front and listed in the index under, I think, airport transportation). The description is concise and compares taxis with public transport.

Over time getting into town has become a challenge and part of the fun of the trip.


Dec 1st, 2000, 01:15 PM
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As Miss Jackson once said: "...this is a story about control..." On a recent trip to Barcelona with a good friend (whom I haven't spoken to since we got back), he had a very difficult time putting the map away or when when we were running late to a restaurant catching a cab - it made for a difficult trip. When I'm on vacation I like to indulge in certain luxuries such as taxis, especially at night. During the day I much prefer taking public transportation because it allows me to get a better sense of how the city I'm visiting is laid out. I enjoy getting lost in a city - my friend would practically freak out - he also couldn't bring himself to try the local cuisine and thus HE ate a lot of KFC and BK. As you can guess, I had numerous lunches and dinners by myself. The first day or so I am somewhat discombobulated and a bit anxious (a good meal and a bottle of wine does wonders) - at heart, I'm an adventurer - I like playing it somewhat loose.
Dec 1st, 2000, 02:20 PM
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At a place like Heathrow, which is so easy, and where crime is less likely than say Rome, I'll take the train. But generally, I like to ease into a new place, and after making sure I don't get ripped off--checking the meter, going with a reputable taxi line, reading any notice--if it's translated-- in the taxi, I'll spring for the comfort of a cab. When my luggage is out of the cab, I tend to ask the front desk at the hotel if I feel I'm being grossly overcharged.
Dec 2nd, 2000, 08:34 AM
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I agree with Mark: the type of transportation you take depends on who you are with and the time of day. If I'm with my husband, I take public transportation. He is very flexible and can read signs in many languages (took Latin in school). If I am with my kids or a less confident friend, I take public transportation if I am sure where it goes and how to get on and off. If I am not sure where I am or where the subway or bus is going, I opt for a shuttle bus or rental car. I do lots of research on transportation connections and ask directions before I leave home. I have even placed a post on this web-site for directions!

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