One of the biggest questions that people ask us when they are planning a trip is how we recommend getting around their destination. Between rental cars, public transportation, taxis, and Uber, choosing the best way to get around can often be daunting. While our advice varies strongly depending on the destination, one question that people still want answered is “Is Uber safe to use in other countries?” This post will explain our answer to that question and dive into why that answer is the case.
What Is Uber?
For anyone that isn’t familiar with it, Uber is an on-demand taxi service that is serviced by private drivers who use their own cars. The platform is accessed via a smartphone app, and users can hail rides from anywhere at any time, as long as that location is within Uber’s geographical limits. Uber has largely replaced the taxi industry due to its nicer cars and drivers, and typically lower fares.
Is Uber Safe to Use in the United States?
Uber is an extremely safe platform to use. In fact, it is much safer than traditional taxis. This is because all of Uber’s drivers are thoroughly vetted and must pass background checks in order to join Uber’s driver network. On top of that, every trip is monitored by GPS via the app, meaning that there is always proof of exactly where each trip went and the route that it took. It is impossible for a driver to deviate from the route without the app knowing so, and most drivers have thousands of trips under their belt by the time you ride with them.
While there was a scandal a few years back regarding fake Uber drivers picking up passengers and kidnapping them, that has been entirely stopped as long as the passengers do their due diligence. When Uber connects you with a driver, it provides you with the driver’s name, car color, make, and model, and the license plate number. That is impossible to replicate as a false driver, so as long as you are sure to check those factors before entering the car, you have nothing to worry about.
Is Uber Safe to Use in Other Countries?
We have established that Uber is safe to use in the United States. Is Uber safe to use in other countries? Without a doubt, the answer is yes! In fact, Uber is one of the safest ways to get around any country that uses it. Due to the rider reviews, any fishy drivers are weeded out very quickly. As a result, the only people left are honest, good drivers who care about getting you where you want to go.
While we almost never recommend taxis when traveling, Uber is an entirely different story. Uber is our preferred way of getting around if we aren’t considering the price. As we try to be budget travelers, we tend to prefer to save the money and use public transportation. However, when public transportation isn’t the best option, we use Uber without a second thought. We have used Uber in over 40 countries and have never once had a bad experience. In countries that tend to have dangerous reputations, like Mexico and Brazil, Uber is actually the safest way you can get from place to place.
Are There Other Apps Similar to Uber?
Uber is not alone. While it was one of the first to do it, there are many similar apps on the market these days that all provide comparable services. The biggest two other than Uber are Lyft and Didi. Lyft is another American company, and Didi is Chinese. Didi is not available in the United States. Both offer great service, but Didi offers the option to make payments in cash, if desired. We have used all three and don’t really see a difference between them. So, we check the prices on all of them to make sure we get the best deal. While the prices tend to be similar, sometimes there are huge bargains. For example, one night while trying to get a ride from the Philadelphia airport into center city, the Uber price was showing $40, but the Lyft was only $20!
Is Uber Available Everywhere?
These days, you will be able to use at least one of these ridesharing services almost anywhere. The only places they are not available are either very remote and don’t have the demand, or have blocked the use of these apps at the government level. One example of this is the entire Caribbean coast of Mexico, where Tulum is, as that state’s government has blocked all of the ride sharing apps in order to preserve the local taxi drivers. Also in all of China, including Shanghai, Uber is outlawed in favor of Didi, which is China’s Uber alternative. When you are in an area that does not have ridesharing services, you are left to take regular taxis, rent a car, hire a driver, or use public transportation. If you are in one of these places, the app will let you know as soon as you open it.
Are There Other Advantages to Using Uber?
Uber is, like I said, our favorite way to get around when we travel. While I mentioned that price is our only deterrent to using Uber all of the time, that was not meant to be a knock on Uber’s prices. In fact, Uber rides tend to be cheaper than taxi rides, so if you are used to paying taxi fares, Uber will be a welcomed discount. Uber is truly a cheap alternative way to get around when traveling!
On top of offering lower prices, Uber is very convenient to use. There is no need to step into the street and hail a ride, as you can do it right from your phone and watch the map to track your driver as he or she comes to pick you up. You can also schedule rides in advance!
Hopefully this post helped you understand that Uber really is safe to use all over the world, and you’ll be willing to give it a try on your next trip, either domestic or international! If there is anything else you want to know comment below!
If you’re in the middle of planning a big trip, you should also check out our in-depth guide on finding cheap flights.