When readers shared their own travel tips and several really stood out as worth highlighting.
Make sure to take a business card, piece of hotel statinonary, or a print out you brought from home with your Hotel’s name and address in case you need a cab later in the day. Much easier to just give the cab driver the exact name and address especially in international destinations.
When I’m headed to a city I’m unfamiliar with, where the language isn’t one I can ‘fake’ I will usually print out my own copy of the hotel’s address in the local language if possible.
It’s easy to get complacent and think of English as a universal language, but even in cities where business is frequently done in English taxi drivers and service workers outside of hotels may not speak it at all. In fact they usually won’t.
Cab drivers in Beijing are unlikely to know English. The dispatcher at the airport may know exactly where you’re going, and he may shout it at your taxi driver, but that doesn’t mean the driver will hear or understand and you can easily get taken all over the city without a clear direction.
Handing the driver a printed page with the name of your hotel on it closes this communication gap.
VC’s advice is correct as well, take a card with your hotel’s address on it in the local language. Regardless of your skills at the local language, your hotel can always put you in a cab and send you off wherever you’re going. But what about getting back? If you can flag down a cab and hand them a card with the hotel’s address on it in the local language you’ll almost always make it back just fine.
Sure, the cab driver will know you’re a tourist but you weren’t really going to disguise that anyway. And they’ll know you’re probably going to a hotel they could never afford to stay at, and may see dollar signs.
A circuitous route, or a journey without use of the meter doesn’t really worry me when I’m headed to my hotel. The hotel will know what your ride should have cost.
If there’s luggage in the car don’t ever dispute a price until the bags come out. But once they do, enllist the help of the hotel. Not only will they know if you’ve been overcharged, you’re their guest. I’ve never seen a cab driver in this circumstance who didn’t back down.