Using Uber in a Foreign Country

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International travel can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. There’s language barriers, currency exchange rates to learn, and a new culture to navigate.

Thankfully, living in a technologically advanced world means there are tools readily available to help you navigate international travel. Translation apps, currency exchange calculators, and offline maps are all helpful, but there’s one tool you may not have thought of: Uber.

uber in a foreign country

If you aren’t already, you should be using Uber when traveling internationally. Here’s six reasons why.

Enter an exact location

We like to use AirBnb when we travel internationally, so it’s not like we can tell a cab driver to take us to the huge Marriott when we arrive in a new country. Instead, we are often looking for an apartment or house we’ve never been to, and that can be tricky. We’ve also ran into cab drivers having trouble finding the exact location, and a language barrier just adds to the confusion.

Using Uber is awesome for this: we can put the exact address of our AirBnb into the app and know our driver will be able to take us right there.

No need for local currency

Using Uber is great for getting to and from the airport, when you either haven’t gotten local currency yet or have already spent it all and don’t want to make another withdrawal. With your card information already saved in the app, Uber takes care of charging you without the hassle of being sure you have enough local cash.

Another benefit is not having to figure out the local currency system or exchange rate. We took a cab in Colombia, and my husband was flustered and hurried when trying to pay the cab driver. Colombia’s currency system involves a lot of extra 0s, and our cab driver got quite the hefty tip that day when the flustered foreigner accidentally paid ten times the rate.

using uber

Drivers are held accountable for the route

Through the Uber app, the entire route is mapped out for both the driver and you. You can trust that the driver isn’t taking you the longest possible route in order to charge you more.

Safety is important

If there’s an issue with an Uber driver or ride, the benefit of the Uber app is that you’re able to identify the exact driver. The fact that no cash is exchanged for an Uber ride also lessens the likelihood of a robbery. Uber is regularly adding new safety features, for both drivers and riders, which are designed to help ensure a safe ride from point A to point B.

Know you’re getting a fair rate

You should never get into a cab without negotiating the exact price you’ll pay, and Uber takes that responsibility off of your shoulders (a huge help if there’s a language barrier). When you use Uber, you’ll know the price you’ll pay for a ride up front and you can rest assured that you’re being charged a fair, standard rate.

An additional plus is that Uber rides can be cheaper than cabs in some countries!  

Better customer service

Uber drivers rely on good reviews to be able to keep driving and earning. This means they are a little more likely to do what they can to provide a better experience, in many cases. Uber vehicles are often newer and cleaner than cabs as well.

why uber

Are you convinced to start using Uber internationally? Here’s a few quick tips for your next trip.

Know the local rules

We learned the hard way that Uber is technically banned in Colombia when an airport security guard shooed our Uber away at the Medellin airport and we had to pay a cancellation fee. Make sure you know the local laws before ordering an Uber.

Use exact locations

When requesting a ride, be sure to enter the exact location you’ll be waiting for your Uber at. Try to head for an identifiable location – maybe a monument or restaurant – to make it easier for your driver to find you.

Take advantage of free wifi to request rides

If you don’t have an international data plan, find a free wifi hotspot to request your ride, then head outside to meet your driver when you’re able to see that they are getting close. You aren’t required to actually be connected to cell service at any point other than to request the ride itself.

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Amber Miller

Amber Miller

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