Will Knowing The ‘Lingo’ Save You On Taxi Fare?

You just stepped out of a restaurant in New York City and begin hailing down a Yellow Taxi Cab waving your arm feverishly on the side of the road.   Finally, the taxi pulls up to the curb and you hop in the back.  As you instruct the driver of the cab where you want to go it occurs to you that he is either ignoring you or beginning to play that fun game called ‘I don’t understand anything that you are saying’.   As you explain and re-explain exactly where it is that you want to go in the city, your taxi cab driver turns down a different street than you expected.   Your blood begins to boil as you watch the meter rise and rise in price while feeling like the driver is making the most round about process to get you to your destination.   You pay the driver reluctantly while arguing about the price and leave the taxi feeling more overheated than the engine.    Has this ever happened to you with a taxicab ride?

The story above took place in the United States.  If you potentially get ripped off in your own country hiring a taxicab driver, then what chance do you possibly have while you are in a foreign country?   Actually, since I learned about the new app Trip Lingo I think you might stand a better than average chance of being able to throw off the scent of a taxicab hustler waiting to take your money.

I had a cup of coffee the other day with Jesse Maddox, founder and CEO of Trip Lingo (www.triplingo.com).     He was telling me the story behind this ever growing popular app and how he realized while spending a great deal of time in Vietnam that things would be easier if he learned the language through some simple slang phrases rather than having to go through a whole Rosetta Stone course.    This was part of the concept of Trip Lingo which now has a patented slang slider to allow you to learn how to say different catch phrases in ways that wouldn’t be so formal.

What’s most interesting about this is how we often are worried about getting ripped off when we go to a foreign country.    Imagine being able to get in the back of taxicab in a Spanish speaking country and saying, “Se como funciona el taxi”.   Basically what you are trying to do is let the driver know that you understand how the taxi and meter system works which may throw off their scent on ripping you off.   If you speak English and sound like you don’t know what you are talking about when you get in the cab, it’s likely the driver will up the rate and act as if they have no idea what you are talking about when you speak to them.   The point is that by knowing just a few short phrases, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars on vacation by not making simple mistakes.

On your next vacation to a foreign country, you’ve got a lot of choices what to do on the plane ride.  Watch a movie, listen to music, play games, or you could spend  a couple of hours on the slang slider and learn a few phrases based upon what it is you’ll be doing with most of your time on the trip.  If you are planning to go to museums, eating out at restaurants, and using the train system, it might make sense to learn how to get around in these areas by knowing the local slang phrases.     What’s true in any language is if you know the ‘lingo’ you’ll likely get the best deal in town!

Written by:

Ted Jenkin


Editor in Chief of Your Smart Money Moves

Co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial, Inc – The Leaders in Gen X & Y Financial Advice and Services

Ted Jenkin  is one of the foremost knowledgeable professionals in giving financial advice to the X and Y Generation.

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About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves


My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

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  • Avatar
    February 4, 2013

    It sure helped me when I went to Morocco. They are ruthless at ripping off English speakers but if you go and speak a bit of French or even better Arabic to them they respect you more!!

  • Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves
    February 4, 2013

    Great comment—this will help in a bunch of countries if you know the ‘lingo’

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