Experiences Using Uber Abroad

Uber has been pretty reliable in my hometown of Atlanta, Ga. Sure, at first there were a few kinks and the Atlanta airport has made it very difficult to use Uber in the domestic terminal. Lyft and Uber have been my normal go-tos in Atlanta. During the trip planning, I usually look to see if Uber or Lyft is available in the city and country I’m traveling to. Usually, Uber is available but not Uber pool. I will compare the airport Uber cost to a shared shuttle, public transportation or taxi.

After a few experiences abroad with Uber, I’m not sure I will use Uber in the future. Here are a few of things I’ve encountered when using Uber abroad.

Uber in Italy

I used Uber in Italy rarely during my 2016. Taxis are a big part of transportation within Italy and someone referred to them as the Taxi Mafia. There were signs that it was illegal to ride in Uber. Since then, Uber was temporarily banned in 2017 but is now available. After waiting in the rain in a taxi stand to go to the train station we went to another area and called Uber and was able to get to the train station quicker. From what I gathered the Taxi drivers were referred to as the Taxi Mafia at the time because they don’t approve of Uber because it undercuts profits. Also, they were very aggressive when I arrived to take a cab, the driver started rolling my bag before mentioning the price. I negotiated before getting in the car.

Uber in Canada

I used Uber in Toronto and Niagara. The drivers were knowledgeable of the city and helpful. The cost was about average from the airport to Toronto. For the most part, I was able to walk everywhere but would use Uber when on a tight timeframe, there was so much traffic in the city that caused for a longer time and higher cost.

Uber in Barcelona, Spain

I defaulted to Uber after stumbling upon Holiday Taxis on Google trips. The company Holiday Taxis contracted, left us because they only allow for 60 minutes from the time the plane lands to get through customs and get bags. One hour is not enough time from and they would not reschedule ride and were quite rude. I scheduled an Uber ride and was directed to go to the parking deck to catch Uber, the drivers don’t pull to the door, they park in a spot. The first driver could not locate our hotel and we had to walk down an alley from the drop off point. Other drivers would have issues locating our hotel and would have to call. Most drivers did not speak English so sometimes I would need to use google translate and use the text chat option. For the most part, Uber drivers in Barcelona complained about the Barcelona Uber Maps. All was going just ok until I requested a ride to the hotel and the driver pulled over at a spot that was not on the destination and insisted this was the correct location even though his GPS said he had more kilometers to go. He continued on and it started to rain he stopped again at the wrong destination and when we refused he kept going and the next time he stopped and told us we were close I got out because his demeanor and refusing to go to the right destination was concerning. Come to find out we were an 11-minute drive away still and once out we could not hail a taxi or request another Uber for hours due to the weather. We were drenched and ended up buying food from a cafe and waiting until we could hail another Uber. For the rest of the trip, we used a taxi or another hotel we stayed at recommended Cabify (enter kimh90 for 5 Euros off your first ride) which is the Latin America version of Uber.

Uber in Nice, France

Uber in Nice was a lot better than Barcelona. There were more English speaking drivers and since it is a fancy city, there were a lot of nice cars. The service was better and save a lot compared to the private car quote I was offered from the hotel.

It is important to do your research and ask the concierge or the people in the city which is the best and cheapest way to get around. A lot of times I am quick to user Uber because I am used to it being the cheapest car option while in the states but as I learned in Barcelona, it was not. I am not sure I will be using Uber for a while. A bad taste was left when the Barcelona driver tried to drop us off twice in the wrong spot and this caused 2 hours of inconvenience during the trip. Uber did not charge me for the ride but I felt more should have been done with this safety issue. Have you used Uber abroad? If so, comment on your Uber abroad experience below!

uber abroad

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Kim H.

Kim H. is the creator and chief editor for Work Hard Travel Well. Born and raised in College Park, Ga. She is a true "FILA" :) and UGA Alumna. Go Dawgs!