Common Taxi Scams to Avoid on Your Trip

Whether you are getting from the airport to your hotel or heading to a tourist attraction, there may come a point where you need to take a taxi on your travels. A taxi can be a convenient way to get from point A to point B, but sometimes taxi drivers can be less than honest. They may try to take advantage of the fact that you are unfamiliar with your surroundings and attempt to rip you off in a number of different ways. Here are some of the common taxi scams and tricks that happen throughout the world. When you are aware of them, you will spot them and won’t be played for a fool.

common taxi scams

Common Taxi Scams to Avoid on your Travels

Refusing to Use the Meter

In most locations around the world taxis will have meters, which is the fairest way of determining the fare. If the driver is refusing to use the meter (or claims it is broken) and is quoting you a fixed price instead; there is a very good chance that the fixed price is a worse deal for you. Insist on the meter and if they refuse, find another cab.

The Dodgy Meter

Sometimes the driver will use the meter, but they have altered it so that it goes up in price faster than it should. You can avoid this by doing your research ahead of time and knowing what the price should be. Then you will notice right away when the meter seems wrong.

common taxi scams,Taxi Meter
Taxi Meter

Your Destination is “Closed”

If your taxi driver claims that the attraction you want to visit is closed and has another restaurant or shop to recommend instead, be very skeptical. There is a good chance that the restaurant, shop or attraction is offering the driver a commission for diverting you there. Check online to make sure your original attraction is open before you head there.

Giving Incorrect Change

Occasionally taxi drivers will assume that you don’t know the currency very well; and will try to slip you back the incorrect change when you pay them for the ride. Also, sometimes the driver will try to trick you with a bit of quick sleight of hand. For example, you pay them with a large bill and they quickly switch it for a small one. Then claim that you haven’t paid enough. It is definitely worth carrying a stack of small bank notes when you travel; so that you can pay your fare with the exact change.

Taking You on the Scenic Route

Another notorious scam is the taxi driver who takes advantage of the fact that you don’t know the city very well; so they will take you on a very long and circuitous route to your destination. You can avoid this by having a smartphone with a local SIM card; so that you can look up the route on Google Maps and make sure the driver is going the right way.

New York Cabs, common taxi scams
New York Cabs

These are just a few of the common taxi scams that taxi drivers might try on your travels. When you are aware of these scams you can say no when things sound dodgy; then get out of the taxi and hail another cab.

About Kelly Dunning


A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run, packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style for the last three years, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

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