Photo: shutter stock.com,  Alexey Boldin.

Photo: shutter stock.com,  Alexey Boldin.

As a tourist if one is visiting the United States, it is difficult to get around without a car. Ofcourse, there is always the option of renting one but sometimes people may not really like to drive in a foreign country. I was recently in Los Angeles which does not have the best public transport system. I did not want to rent a car and a regular taxi was way too expensive. I decided to give Uber a try and seriously it was the best thing that happened to my trip-it turned out so economical and convenient besides making me so so independent!

Here are 5 reasons why I think driving with Uber is a great idea!

1. TAKE UBER POOL-IT'S SO CHEAP!

In the U.S. there is something called the Uber Pool which means you may have to share your ride with another passenger. This also means that it makes the trip very cheap as the fare is split between two passengers even if there is no other passenger sharing the ride with you! And a lot of times there is no other passenger and you still pay half the price! I paid $6.50 for a distance of 3.9 miles, $9.80 for a distance of 8 miles and $22 for a distance of 24 miles. It would have cost so much more in a regular taxi.

P.S. The maximum number of passengers permitted when you book Uber Pool is two so if you have a friend with you, you can further split the already reduced fare between you and your friend making it really cheap!

2. PRE-RIDE FARE ESTIMATE

You get a fare estimate in advance so you know almost exactly how much you would be paying at the end of your trip.

3. SAFE AND SECURE

Even though one may hear of a rare incident with Uber once in a while, I reason that it could happen with any cab driver. Here is why Uber may be a lot safer than other cabs: once you book Uber, you get the driver's details including his photo and telephone number and you can also check out reviews on the driver posted by other Uber riders. If you don't like a particular driver you can cancel the ride even after the cab arrives. One of the Uber drivers told me that they are completely verified these days which makes Uber completely safe. Also, your friends and family (if they have booked the cab for you) can follow you on GPS through the Uber App showing them exactly where the car is heading. Moreover, if you have to call the Uber driver before the ride, the driver never gets your private phone number - it goes through the Uber number so the driver will never be able to contact you after the ride. 

4. CONVENIENT AND HASSLE FREE

I love that I don't have to pay cash to the driver and the fare gets debited automatically from the credit card through the Uber App. Also, when the driver is coming to pick me up, the app shows me exactly where the car is moving and I can instantly call the driver if he has taken a wrong turn! Another advantage is that I don't need to book cabs in advance and worry if they will arrive on time or not. I just get ready and book the Uber which usually arrives within a few minutes.

5. PERFECT RIDE FOR THE AIRPORT

Uber gives you a lot of options of cars from small to big SUVs and from economical to luxury limousines. If you are going to the airport and have a lot of luggage, Uber XL is a great option. This time I booked the big Uber XL to drive me to the airport since I had a lot of heavy luggage. The driver, a very kind and strong man (thankfully!) put all my luggage in the car (75 pounds one suitcase!) and also helped to get out all the luggage at the airport! It's much better than counting on friends or other people or cabs that don't show up to drive you - once I almost missed a flight as my friend who was supposed to drive me to the airport couldn't make it in time and if it was not for Uber, I would have missed the flight!

Besides making me super-independent, I have also met a lot of interesting Uber drivers. I met a poet and a writer who had just finished writing a children's book; a young girl going to college who was aspiring to become a policewoman; a young entrepreneur who had started a business to help homeless people get jobs and transition into a normal life; a man working two jobs to support his wife and four children and a lady from Thailand who greeted me with folded hands in a 'namaste' - she even stopped at the cleaners for me! Some of the drivers even have mint, water, trash bags and stationary for their passengers. The cars are mostly really nice and clean and I feel relaxed bring driver around everywhere!

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