Monday, February 8, 2010

Tipping for Taxis and Such

This topic was a request by one of my readers. Thanks to my readers for sending in requests, that definitely is a great way to get your questions answered.

I can’t remember my first taxi ride but I know it was when I was a teenager. My parents never took taxis in NYC because it was too expensive. We walked or took the train/bus when we could. Taxis are costly, but now that I live in Chicago I take them all the time. On a recent trip to NYC I was amazed at how frequently locals took them to get around too. They sure do add up and remembering to tip the driver is important. I usually round up the total amount to the nearest whole dollar and then add an additional dollar if I’m feeling generous and happy with my trip. I was curious too as to what Peggy Post had to say.

A tip to a taxi driver is generally about twenty percent of the fare, but in large cities you should tip a minimum of $1. If a taxi driver helps with your luggage or packages, a slightly larger tip is always in order; in general, add fifty cents for each bag. Try to avoid using big bills, especially during short rides.

For a car or limousine service, the easiest way to tip is to tell the service to add the gratuity to your bill; do it when you request service. In larger cities, the standard tip is about twenty percent; in smaller cities, fifteen percent. When a gratuity is included in the fee, there’s no need to tip more.

A tip for you when traveling by cab/car service to and from airports and to downtown areas is to ask how much it costs to get to that destination. Usually there is a flat fare to the city’s major airport or downtown area and if you don’t ask they could make up a higher charge and take advantage of you. If there is a meter in the cab, make sure they turn it on. I’ll never forget all the gypsy cabs in Orlando, Florida charging a variety of rates for the same distances day after day. Be aware and also know where you are going if you can. This day in age a lot of people have maps accessible on their phones. Take the time to look up where you are going and the general route to get there. If you’re distracted and looking like you don’t know where you are going then that driver could easily take you around circles for a good $10.

When I enter a cab I usually suggest a route to the cab driver when I enter and they usually have another suggestion – we compromise then move one. The driver now knows I know where I’m going and won’t take advantage of me…even if I really have no idea I say the cross streets and exact address and pay careful attention to the roads which they are taking.

Be a smart traveler…know where you are going and of course do no forget to tip.

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