It can be either the best, or worst part about traveling – Navigating your way through a new city. The easiest option of course, is to hail a cab to whisk you off to everywhere you want to go. But pause for a moment before the next time you step off the curb with your arm up. Here are seven reasons NOT to take taxis when you’re traveling abroad.
This may be the most obvious and beneficial reason to avoid the convenience of a taxi, and hit the pavement on foot instead. Let’s face it – It wouldn’t be a vacation if you didn’t take time to relax and indulge in fruity cocktails and delectable cuisine. And walking at a normal pace burns about 300 calories an hour. Opting to walk everywhere you go means you can hit the snooze button on gym time, and still work off those extra treats.
In a taxi, you can’t meander past a local bar and have a peek inside. You won’t take a shortcut through the park and discover a farmer’s market. Exploring a city on foot allows you to stumble upon things you would miss by driving directly from point A to point B. Give yourself time to walk where you’re going, and add in some extra hours for the unexpected treasures you’ll find along the way.
A single taxi trip may not break the bank, but multiply it by a few times a day for the duration of your visit, and those miles really add up! You’ll save up for your next trip faster if you exclude taxi rides from your budget. Or you can set aside those extra dollars for souvenirs instead.
It’s an unfortunate fact, but taxi drivers are in a prime position to scam tourists arriving in a new city. Broken meters, currency confusion, forced shopping stops and the old claim that your destination is closed in order to take you elsewhere are just a few of the common tricks you might come across. Granted, most drivers are perfectly honest and kind folks. But if you skip the taxi line altogether, you’re guaranteed not to fall victim to any of these hassles.
There’s nothing like navigating a map and determining the best route across a city to help you get to know it better. Being driven from place to place is a convenient way to check sights off your list, but figuring out how to get there on your own earns you a completely different understanding of a place. Study maps, highlight routes, and return home having mastered each town you visited.
You won’t smell a stone cooked pizza cooking in a wood fired oven from the inside of a taxi. You won’t feel the rush of traffic whizzing by, watch autumn leaves fall around you, or listen to local school kids playing. Traveling on foot allows you to engage all of your senses in a way that motorized transportation does not. Fight the urge to catch a ride, and be rewarded with the sights, sounds and smells of city.
Of course, not everything you want to see and do will be accessible by foot. And when it’s not, opt for public transportation. In bus lines and metro tunnels you can get a real sense of the flow and energy of a city. It’s empowering to learn to get around like a local, and there is no more convenient place to ask one for advice on what to do than while waiting for the next train together.