Travel Tips

Best Travel Advice I Learned from “The Amazing Race”

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Confession time guys, I am a recovering reality show junky. The least-embarrassing part of this confession is I used to be completely addicted to “The Amazing Race”.

Last year we were flying from Verona to Paris (on easyJet) to overnight near Charles de Gaulle and non-rev home from Paris the next day.

Of course we were flying on the day easyJet’s entire system crashed which delayed flights for hours on end all over Europe.

So we were delayed for hours at a tiny airport, late at night, with two cranky kids after traveling non-stop for almost three weeks.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-taxi-stand-image26047061So instead of getting in to CDG at 10:45 pm, we got in closer to 2 am. There were other delays and issues with getting our bags, our stroller, etc, but we finally make it outside to get in line for a taxi.

I booked the hotel on a 3rd-party website so it wasn’t a name we were familiar with, but looking up the address online I could tell it was near many business hotels that were around the airport.

We get to our turn for our taxi, they start putting our bags in the trunk. I show my printed out copy of the reservation to our cab driver and he starts putting it into his GPS. I start becoming uneasy. One, our cab driver doesn’t speak a word of English, two, it looks like it’s a long drive to our hotel which I know isn’t the case since I looked up the directions before we left.

In “The Amazing Race” people have gotten spectacularly lost for getting in a cab with someone who 1) doesn’t understand them and 2) has no idea where they are going. My fear was this guy was going to try to drop us off miles out of our way, make us pay for it, and then we’d be even more tired and exhausted and further away from our hotel than we already were.

I told my husband to get the bags out of the taxi, we weren’t going with this guy. The coordinator got frustrated with me, said there were no more taxis tonight, so I told him I’d rather sleep in the airport then get in a cab with a guy who had no idea where we were going.

What do you do if you get into a taxi and they try to rip you off?  Read this.

Funnily enough another taxi driver came by who wasn’t off shift yet. This guy 1) spoke English and 2) knew where our hotel was. We got in his cab.

It’s kind of sad to say that had I not watched “The Amazing Race” so much and see people get lost because of miscommunication with cab drivers I probably would have gotten into the first car without much thought. Especially considering how late it was and how tired we were by that point.

I know you don’t have to be in a foreign country to have miscommunication happen between you and a cab driver. Have you had an experience where what should have been a relatively short and/or inexpensive cab ride took out hours of your life (and possibly your vacation)?

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Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 11 and 7, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.

4 Comments

  1. Becky

    October 19, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    I’ve only gotten out of a cab once – in Rome, heading to a suburban park and it was obvious the driver had no idea where it was. I think it’s also a great travel tip!

    • Tiff

      October 19, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Yikes! Never a good feeling. It’s one of those situations most of us don’t think about until we’re in it.

  2. Jason

    October 20, 2014 at 2:07 am

    We were in Beijing and staying at westin chaoyang. We were wanting to go to the jinshangling section of the Great Wall which is an hour outside of the Beijing. We got the hotel concierge to come out and explain this to the cab driver. An hour later we pull up to what I consider the disney world of the Great Wall badaling. I realized this as we were pulling up and I tried to tell the driver this wasn’t the correct place. He called the hotel and they translated that it was gonna be more money. I agreed to it and two hours later we arrived at the correct place. More beautiful and desolate than I could have imagined but still was upset that we lost like 2 1/2 hours out of our day. We get back to the hotel and before paying the driver I got out and explained to the concierge the mistake and he told me to pay just the original fare that was agreed upon and not a penny more. Needless to say the driver was upset but we went on in to the hotel and let the hotel deal with it.

    • Tiff

      October 20, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      That’s a shame about the mix-up; but great that your concierge took care of you guys so you didn’t have to pay more after losing several hours of your day. We’re going to Japan next month and I’m a little nervous about going to a place where we can’t read any of the language and the only words I know are “hello” and “thank you”. 🙂

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