Ever since ride-hailing became a thing starting with Uber back in 2009, it has completely disrupted the taxi industry to the point where many taxi drivers were even protesting on the streets about it.
However, considering the general public perception that exists with regards to taxi drivers, they didn’t get much sympathy from the public. From scummy business practices to outright scams, taking a taxi in another part of the world can be a risky decision.
Ride-hailing is an alternative service which most people find to be a better overall experience compared to taxis!
If you’re not familiar with ride-hailing, it is similar to taxis, however it involves getting a ride from a local in their private vehicle that is tracked via a smartphone app on which payment can also be facilitated.
Locals tend to be friendlier than taxi drivers, especially since there is a rating system involved which can affect how many rides a driver gets if they don’t receive enough good ratings. And since the payment amount is agreed upon before the ride at fair local rates, you can rest assured that you aren’t getting ripped off!
On this page, I will give you a simple and straightforward step-by-step guide on how to use ride-hailing to find and book rides to different places in whatever destination you go to on your next trip!
1. Make sure you have an internet connection
One of the best things you can do when traveling is be connected to the internet. Whether it’s to research things to do, find out how to get to where you want to go, or in this case, be able to book a ride using a ride-hailing app, having a Travel-Ready Phone with a Prepaid SIM Card is almost a must-do when traveling in this day and age.
With regards to ride-hailing, while you could book a ride using wifi only, you wouldn’t be able to follow the driver with your phone if you’re not connected to the internet during the ride. So you need to make sure you have an internet connection if you plan to ride-hail.
Check out my Guide to Travel-Ready Phones & Guide to Prepaid SIM Cards to find out how you can ensure you have access to the internet on the go.
2. Find and download the relevant ride-hailing app
Uber is by far the most well-known ride-hailing app that exists. Available in 70 countries and over 700 cities worldwide, it’s also the biggest. No matter where you’re going, it’s a good idea to have Uber installed on your phone because chances are that you’ll be able to catch a ride wherever you are! If you use this link to sign up, you can get 5€ off each of your first 3 rides!
There are also alternatives to Uber in different parts of the world which are also worth using:
In North America, try Lyft. It’s mostly used in the USA, but it’s also available in some parts of Canada too. Sign up with this link to get up to $5 off your first 4 rides!
In Southeast Asia, use Grab. It also lets you hail cabs too. You can download the app at this link.
There are also taxi-hailing apps available in many different parts of the world which you can use as well, but the key difference is that you will be getting a taxi and not a local driver.
The best ones that cover a wide range of cities are:
- Grab for Southeast Asia
- Curb for the USA (use the referral code k37e39 to get $5!)
- Ola for India (use the referral code B3BDZPU to get extra bonuses!)
- Cabify for Latin America
- Careem for the Middle East
- Free Now for Europe
- Bolt for Europe, Africa, and a few other destinations (use the referral code Q4US3G to get extra bonuses!)
Make sure to check out my Guide to Taxis before taking one so you know what to expect.
3. Start looking for rides
No matter which app you use, the experience will be the same. Start by inputting your desired destination as well as your departure point (if it’s different from your current location). The app will update to show you all the different vehicle options available and their prices as well as how long it will take the driver to come pick you up.
Pick the one that you want to take and click confirm to book the ride.
If you don’t already have your credit or debit card saved on the app and the ride doesn’t allow cash payments, then you will be asked to input your payment information. Once you’ve confirmed that, the driver will get a notification on their phone with your location and they will make their way over to you.
4. What to expect during the ride
The app will show you your driver’s name, their photo, and information about their vehicle such as their car model, its colour, and their license plate number. If for some reason, you don’t like the driver that the app has given you, you can cancel the ride request before the driver arrives (usually without consequence).
Otherwise, watch the location of your driver on the app as they get closer to you and keep an eye out for their vehicle. Make sure to check the license plate number before getting into any vehicle to make sure you get into the right one! If you can’t find your driver, you can also message them through the app to find out where they are.
Once you’re in the vehicle, you don’t need to tell the driver where to go because the app will already give them the destination and the best route to get there. Just sit back and relax as your driver takes you to your destination!
When you arrive, if your ride’s payment is done in cash, then pay your driver the amount displayed on the app. Otherwise, your card will have already been charged upon completion of the trip with the receipt sent to your email address.
Thank your driver and take everything with you as you exit the vehicle. Make sure to leave them a rating on the app to help other riders know what to expect!
And that’s all there is to it!
Using ride-hailing to get around is much easier than using taxis since there is so much less you need to worry about. The whole process is simple and stress-free, letting you spend less time researching what taxis are like in every destination and more time enjoying your trip. Also, the rating and payment systems that these apps have in place make it so that drivers aren’t able to pull off the same types of scams that taxi drivers tend to try!
I hope this guide has been helpful for you and that I’ve converted you to the ride-hailing team! And if you want to learn about the cheapest way to get around in your destination, check out my Guide to Public Transport.