Your Amazing Race: A Paradise Beginning in The US Virgin Islands

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The Race this season started in Manhattan, NYC. Since parking in the city is at a premium, many native New Yorkers, as well as tourists, travel via public transportation or taxi cabs. Hailing a cab is a skill and as you Race fans know, it has caused issues for teams in the past. The days of waving, yelling “Taxi,” and having a cabbie pull up to your curb are in the past. Many travelers feel like they haven’t had their New York experience without hailing a cab! Here are five tips on how to flag down drivers while visiting NYC. Many of these tips translate to other major metropolitan cities around the world.

While these tactics may be viewed by many as traditional, not all cities are as technologically savvy as those in the US. If you are traveling in the US and are solely looking for the ride, you can try e-hailing! Apps like Uber and Hailo allow smart phone users to book a cabbie directly from their phone. Other apps like CabSense will guide travelers to less busy corners or streets where they will have more success getting a cab! While planning for an international trip, remember to look for apps that can also help while abroad.

Look for the Light! Each cab is outfitted with a roof light. If the light it off, the cabbie already has a paying passenger comfortably seated inside or is booked for a pickup. Vigorously waving both arms in the air will unfortunately just make you seem crazy rather than like an experienced traveler…. If you see the light, hail for your chariot! The lit bulb signals that the cab is looking for a fare. While this rule is true for the busy city streets, many airports like those in NYC has their own systems. Typically, there will be an official taxi station. These lines operate like an amusement park line where the line only shrinks when the ride is ready to leave. Sorry travelers, there’s no Fast Pass here.

Plan Accordingly. The Race teams don’t have the luxury of setting their own schedules, but you do. There are certain times of day were hailing a cab can be troublesome. Try to avoid traveling during rush hour in any major city. The streets are jammed tying cabs up for longer periods and the number of people looking for rides spikes! While booking your trip, search for other methods of transportation at this time or see if it’s possible for you to venture out around 6:00 pm.

I MUST FLAG A CAB! If while on your trip to NYC, you must hail a cab to cross this feat off of your bucket list, here are some tips to get the driver’s attention. You first need to make yourself known. Now this doesn’t mean flapping your arms around like a chicken or raising the hem of your dress. That action might get you more than you bargained for! Find your inner Don Draper and raise your arm with confidence. If you spot a cab (with a lit roof light), see if you can make eye contact with the driver. This connection confirms that he/she has seen you. If the street corners are packed and you are really looking for a cinematic experience, you can also try a mid-street hail. While this is a very dramatic way to get a ride, remember to watch out for traffic and bikes on the streets in the Big Apple.

More from International Travel

More information is better. Some cities in Europe require their cab drivers to take geography tests before they are allowed to take on passengers; however, this is not common practice in the US. Many drivers now will utilize a GPS if they don’t know the location or will call their dispatcher for help, but additional information about your destination never hurts. For example, the city of Atlanta has a running joke about the number of Peachtree streets, or variations of. In fact, there are seventy-one similarly named streets in this Southern hub. Knowing that Broadway Across America on Peachtree St is inside the Fox Theatre will help absolve your cab driver of any doubt. An article from gives a crucial tip for those looking to travel to the outer boroughs like the Race teams did on their way to Queens. The site states “Tell the cabbie where you want to go once you’re in the car. Some cabbies won’t pick up fares to the outer boroughs, though by law they must take you to any destination within the city, Westchester, Nassau or Newark Airport.”

Buyer Beware! While the big cities can be fast paced and exciting, getting a healthy level of awareness is crucial. Cities that are known to attract a lot of visitors will have residents looking to make a buck by taking advantage of those without travel smarts. Hailing a cab in NYC does not guarantee that a licensed yellow cab will be the only responder. Car services and “gypsy cabs” also cruise the streets looking to take fares. Some of these drivers are legitimate; however others have no license which means no regulations. These are often the situations where you hear about unknowing passengers paying customized, inflated prices at the end of their ride. Because these drivers are not licensed nor regulated, the passengers have no guarantee of fare. If you opt to get in a car, other than the classic yellow cab, agree to a price before you head out. Additionally, many of these cabs do not take cards and only accept cash. Payment methods should always be confirmed before a journey begins. Essentially, these non-cabs are “Ride at your Own Risk.”