How to avoid airport taxis

Last Updated on August 8, 2017 by Christine Kaaloa

How to avoid airport taxis, airport taxi, airport taxi prices, use uber, download uber, transport serviceHow to Successfully Avoid taking Airport Taxis  (If you can’t see this video, click here)

After my video tips about taking the bus, some of you asked what transportation alternatives there were to avoid airport taxis.

It seems many of us have similar fears about taxis.

We think of them as   1)  being expensive, 2) ripping us off by taking us the long route, 3) being a scamming taxi.  For me, some countries I visit, I want to minimize my vulnerability and stress to potential scams. Sometimes a taxi takes away stress; sometimes, it enhances travel stress.


Watch and share !  (If you can’t see this video, click here)

How to avoid airport taxis with alternate options

Personally, I avoid airport taxis where I can. Here’s some ways I do so…

  • Airport pickup services from your hotel or guesthouse

Depending on where you stay, sometimes it’s free; other times, it might cost just as much as a taxi.  Sometimes,  I try to book a guesthouse which has free airport pickup.  This is especially good if your guesthouse is in a hard to access location.

  • Pre-paid taxis

This is a service where you pay in advance at the taxi stand and the taxi takes you to your location.  I’ve experienced this on a couple occasions and it saves me from watching the meter count.

  • Shared ride shuttle vans

This service picks up a group of travelers going to the same or connecting areas in the city. It delivers you to your hotel or the location you specify.   Sometimes, there is a max limit to passengers in the van; sometimes, not. But usually this is at least half the cost of your taxi fare.

  • Public Transit (Metro/subway, city bus, ferry, etc..)

You can spend time researching it online. Or you can hit the Tourist Information desk when you get out of baggage claim.   If the bus system doesn’t seem too intimidating, I like to go with that first, because when I ride on a bus, I get a better perspective of the city, especially because it makes local stops.

  • Taxi share with a fellow traveler

Cosmopolitan cities or first world countries, that concept doesn’t work as well.  In other countries it works better. Everyone worries about getting ripped off by taxis or trying to stretch their budget.  Usually the travelers to find are the ones who look lost  or alone. 

•  Ride share with Lyft, Uber X or Sidecar

UberX, Lyft and Sidecar are services that replace a commercial taxi with a person, who has a car available and is willing to drive you to your destination. The app is easily downloaded on your smartphone and allows you to track your car to see how far it is as well as, pay. The services claim to offer lower fares than a taxi, but that’s debatable upon city and destination.


Other tips: 

Ask your hotel/ guesthouse  for advice

  • Directions
  • How much it roughly costs.
  • You can also ask how much a taxi to their place generally costs

Many will have directions on their site and if not, you can email to inquire. They’ll have suggestions as well as, could probably tell you around how much it will cost and give you specific directions. This is valuable because it gives you a ballpark idea of how much your taxi should charge. (So you can’t get ripped off)

If the price range doesn’t match or is grossly expensive, go to your hotel and call someone to help deal with your driver.

Tip: Remove your bags from the taxi before you do this.

If you’re staying at a hostel, that information will probably be on the hostel booking site under their listing.  Hostels cater to budget backpackers, so the taxi is the last things they’ll advise.


Check the airport resources


They usually have Getting To/ From the Airport directions with options ranging from public transportation to taxis.  They’ll let you know what floor the buses or shuttles are located, and what’s available.

Information Desk

If you didn’t have time to research your trip or transportation options from the airport, check out the government/airport information desk. Usually, there’s a lot of information, with a helpful front desk to give you free maps or let you know your transit options.


What are some of your tips for avoiding airport taxis? What alternate options have you tried? 


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  • I also avoid airport taxis as much as I can. It’s really expensive, when the alternative is much cheaper. I take public buses, or if I arrive, arrange for a pick-up from the hotel or sleep in the airport. 🙂

    • Christine Kaaloa
      March 26, 2014 12:17 pm

      @Aleah: I should’ve put sleeping in the airport as an option. lol. The only time I take the taxi is when it’s too late and public transit stops. 😉

  • Airport taxis are a nuisance. In the US there are now Wingz, Lyft and a number of other car sharing services making it easier and cheaper. I’m also following you on Twitter now. Looking forward to connect!

    • Christine Kaaloa
      March 25, 2014 9:53 am

      @mightytravels: Ironically, I just posted a new post on ride sharing! I’ll have to look into Wingz- haven’t heard of them.

  • I like the public transit route if it’s not too far. It also forces you to research the city and and transit system which you’ll have to do anyways to get around. I think it’s also a time versus money thing too since public transit can often take longer than a taxi.

    • Christine Kaaloa
      March 26, 2014 12:15 pm

      @Shereen: Agreed. There are times it feels more economical to get to your hotel quicker- especially if it’s late!

  • All excellent tips Christine, I think I’ve tried almost all the variations you have mentioned above, quite comprehensive.

  • I love public buses and trains too. What I also get in the habit of doing is checking what time these services run until and factor this in before I book my flight. I might save $10 by arriving on a later flight but if I have to pay $20 more on a taxi because the buses stop at 10:30pm, then I might as well get in at a more convenient hour and save on transportation.

    • Christine Kaaloa
      March 13, 2014 3:06 am

      @Jessica: Fantastic tip! I didn’t think about it but I do that too, because trains and buses stop running at a certain time. A really late or redeye flight forces you to use a taxi and at those hours, taxis fares go up.

  • It’s much cheaper when you share a taxi with fellow traveler, but much better to take an airport shuttle bus. There are so cheap and can take you anywhere!

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