Travelling – Taxi’s – saving money

How to save money when travelling. The answer and also the most important mantra is: behave local, pretend to be local, speak local. Meaning, do not behave like a tourist.

In general, careful with taxi drivers. Even when carrying luggage, which immediately makes you out as a tourist, avoiding explanations or talking about expensive adventure trips or giving the impression of arriving from expensive trips does not help to lower the cab fare, but will drive it up.
Especially if needing to make a “deal” with that cab driver. He may agree to an offer initially, but after listening to fancy travel stories, still must talk to his dispatcher. Result, the initially discussed fare has doubled.

Any transportation industry driven by unionized transport companies, or even private, can manipulate their pricing according to who they service. In many countries meters often are not regulated or turned on. Better, to use public transport.

Therefore, any time during my travels I try to blend in as a local, preferably speaking the same language. When it comes to discussing any pricing, not to mention any touristy stuff, or anything that sounds really expensive. Rather, pretending to be some poor schmuck, stuck somewhere, and not having a lot of “dough”, or just going home.  Remember, LOCALS PAY LESS. Even if someone is lugging a heavy suitcase, pretend to live there.

Marrakesh, Morocco: Crazy cab drivers, always want to go anywhere and everywhere, around and around (mostly ending up in the same market square – where their families are selling wares). Tell them right away (en français, SVP) “been in Marrakesh for weeks, go here, not there”. They’ll do it.
St. Martin, Caribique: Needed a taxi, only had a couple French Francs on me. Offering the nice local lady cab driver. She was fine with that. Coming back to my resort, Americans complaining: “cost us 20 Dollars”.


Cycling – Be Seen – Safety

It is a well known fact that cyclists sharing a road with motorized vehicles and have a run-in or collision never win. Neither do motor cyclists win against heavier vehicles as a result of a collision.
Precautions can be taken, of which one of the most important ones is COLOUR, according to the mantra “Be Seen”. Two colour items can save lives: Bright clothing, such as yellow and hot pink or similar; and more importantly a good white front light and a good strong red rear light.
When I cycle, out of twenty or more cyclists I meet on the trails maybe one only has those lights, and they are on. This should be a legal requirement, same as daylight permanent lights on any North American motorized vehicle. Better invest in a $20 light than loose your life.
Be Seen and See. The second precaution is: “do not only rely on a rear view mirror (if any), but look over your shoulder frequently”. Meaning, do not rely on vehicle drivers paying attention to you as a cyclist. Be prepared !

Grand Theft Bicycle

Incredible how many bicycles are stolen, because of insufficient safety measures. Easy enough to install: (1) Use of two bike lock chains. One to secure the seat (which gets easily removed) together with the rear wheel, and/or helmet. One to secure the frame and the front wheel (if it can also be easily removed) to a fixed bike store facility.
(2) When cycling take your bike papers with you including the Serial Number. So, that when your bike gets stolen you can call in with the details incl. Ser.#. I also always have a photo of my bike on me together with the documents. That is what I do.
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Small tit-bit: During hard times or war, when bicycles are valued at a premium, many governments resorted to treating bicycle theft as a criminal offence.