London, United Kingdom (PressExposure) October 01, 2009 -- When booking an airport transfer it is important to bear a few facts in mind. Booking in advance, over the Internet can save a lot of time, energy and trouble. Sometimes when arriving in a foreign land, taxicabs will not be metered and will want a pre-paid or pre-agreed fare. These pre-paid fares can be extortionate in value as well as service. Often the time taken for a journey can be short, but the fare distinctly overpriced. Throughout my experiences travelling through Asia, through Vietnam, Thailand and Laos, taxicab fares have been up to 5 times the price paid by a local. When arriving at airports the tourist can often be jet legged, tired and confused, whereupon the unscrupulous taxi driver will take advantage of the dazed traveller, haranguing them into his taxi.
This very story happened to me a few years ago. I remember distinctly travelling from Hon Soi Square in Bejing and in my chagrin and naivety, I paid nearly 5 times the price to what I should have. Taxi drivers will often hustle the weary traveller into their cabs, and in their tired desperation, in their jet lagged stupor, they agree to the outrageously overpriced fares, in their haste to get out of the sun, and towards a cold shower. This was a lesson I learned the hard way. My taxi driver did take me to my agreed destination, but not before driving me to nearly the Hebei Province and back, through backstreets and alleyways, in an attempt to justify his expensive fare. After a few weeks in the town, I realised that the taxicab had driven an incredibly convoluted route, in an attempt to hide his shocking prices. For those travelling on a budget, sometimes the difference in fare can mean a shorter stay, or being content with inferior accommodation. However I learnt my lesson well, and in future, I decided to prebook all my airport transfers in advance, over the Internet, to avoid such unscrupulous dealings.
I have had other friends in similar situations. One friend in Ho Chi Min City Vietnam, was transferred to rather an unsavoury part of town, due to a language mix up with the driver. As he had prepaid the fare, he had little choice when the driver demanded he vacate his cab, and was promptly, rather unceremoniously, dumped at the side of Phu My Hung. The driver shook his head in anger when my friend demanded his money back, but abdicated all responsibility, threw his luggage to the side of the road, and drove off at speed with his hefty profit. Rogue taxi drivers will often lay in wait at airports, agreeing with the traveller their taxis are metered, but once in the taxi they demand their fare.
When exhausted from long haul flights, the last thing the busy traveller or business executive wants is to argue the odds over a hot and humid taxi journey. Pre-booking airport transfers was the best decision I ever made. I implore you, when travelling to exotic climes, pre-book your airport transfers; they will save you a tremendous amount of hassle and time, making your journey as stress-free as possible. Pre-booked taxis can appear more expensive, but believe me, from the experiences I've had, they are ridiculously cheap.