The familiar cry might not be so welcome if you're looking to save money during your vacation. As convenient as airport taxis are, they can often be quite expensive and leave you feeling like fifty bucks wasn't worth the lift to your hotel -- where you'll have to tip the bellhops, and cleaning crew, etc. When the only alternative you can see is hitchhiking, however, you may be tempted to jump into a shiny yellow taxi and watch the numbers not-so-slowly add up. If you want a way to enjoy your vacation without breaking the bank (or spending all your souvenir money on tips to the taxi drivers), then here's a few tips and tricks to get you from the airport to the hotel, with both your wallet and your dignity intact.
Tip #1: Ask about hidden fees
They're called hidden fees for a reason, but upon being asked directly, most (if not all) cabbies will tell you if there's an extra fee for paying with a card. Some cab companies like Broadway Cab will let you, others won't, and some charge a fee. Always ask before hopping in the cab to avoid any unpleasant encounters at your hotel.
If there is a fee and you don't have cash, don't panic -- weigh the outcomes. Is it cheaper to pay the fee than it is to withdraw money at the nearest ATM? Does the person I'm traveling with have some cash they'll lend me? Is someone around you going to the same place and is willing to split the fare? Keeping a level head is the best way to keep the majority of your cash on vacation.
Tip #2: Look at alternatives
It's not as direct as a cab, but in a city with good public transportation, chances are that the bus or the subway will get you pretty close to where you need to go for a much smaller cost. Brush up on bus stop locations, times, and special hours (if you're traveling during the holidays) beforehand, or ask for a bus schedule at the airport -- they should have a courtesy pamphlet you can take for free, or have a copy of the bus schedule that you'll be able to write down.
If there's no public transportation but the hotel is close and you don't have a lot of luggage, you could always just walk to your hotel. Make sure to stick to brightly lit and well-populated streets (even in the daytime) and have a map with you -- if you get lost, there's no guarantee you'll be able to find someone who knows where you're going, and you might just have to call a cab anyway.