Yes, the travel industry is back on its feet! It seemed as if the COVID pandemic had brought the travel industry to its knees. How remarkable it is to see airports and train stations teaming with passengers! Cruise terminals are once again welcoming cruise passengers at full capacity. Is it safe to say that the travel industry is out of the woods? Not quite! As soon as COVID testing requirements for cruises longer than nine days get dropped, it will be “smooth sailing” for real. As the travel industry continues to boom post-COVID, and all destinations welcome the world once again, there is one concern which all travelers must not let their guard down. Unauthorized drivers are still a nuisance to the industry. Whether they drive buses, taxi cabs, limousines, Lyft, or Uber cars, they are those drivers who try to make an unlawful buck off innocent travelers. It’s illegal for unauthorized drivers to offer rides to travelers. How can travelers avoid being “taken for a ride”?

Unlike so many articles on this site including “top five” lists one following another, combatting a problematic situation, particularly unauthorized drivers, is uncomplicated. It is simple. The key is not to take the word “simple” for granted. Unauthorized drivers like to mix and mingle with taxi drivers, limousine drivers, and ride share drivers alike. They are not typical limousine, taxi, or ride share driver wannabes. They will stop at nothing to impersonate or imitate them. Scamming money from travelers is their m.o. or modus operandai. Spotting unauthorized drivers is not easy. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Spotting unauthorized drivers isn’t a walk in the park. It’s all about knowing their game, and avoiding them at all costs.

What do unauthorized drivers do to gain the trust of passengers? They often come up with a ride deal too good to pass up; a ride deal that passengers wouldn’t walk away from. Sadly, when passengers take the bait, it’s too late. They’re already being ripped off, overcharged, and worse-taken to an incorrect destination, after the driver insisted that he/she knew the way there. Ultimately, their money is all but gone. When it’s more than one passenger looking for a reasonable fare to their destination, unauthorized drivers love such an opportunity. They are carpetbaggers! They love to prey upon innocent travelers, and at best-vulnerable passengers who could care less about what mode of transportation they take. Further, unauthorized drivers will spin into action when they notice passengers who are willing to spend whatever money the trip may cost. Passengers showing this vulnerability is the unauthorized drivers’ ticket. It rings their dinner bell. When they see such an opportunity, they act upon it. It’s all about being ready for them.

There are three keys to avoiding unauthorized drivers. It is straight forward. The keys to avoiding falling prey to unauthorized drivers is 1) vigilance, 2) being mindful of money, and 3) asking drivers to show identification. There is no way around it. If airport, train station, and cruise terminal staff are all required to have their employee identification visible at all times, drivers should show their identification too. Post-9/11, vigilance has been the name of the game. Post-COVID, vigilance is still the name of the game. Avoiding unauthorized drivers requires vigilance at all times, no matter where the travel bug leads. If any driver fails to show their identification upon request, passengers should keep on looking. Vigilance has been and always will be an effective tool in the travel world. Passengers should be forceful when saying “No thank you!”, and look for a legitimate driver. It is that straight forward. Passengers who are vigilant, safeguard their money, and ask drivers for identification are an effective approach to avoiding unauthorized drivers. Being smart and proactive in this matter go an exceptionally long way.

It is official. The travel industry has recovered from the COVID pandemic. The travel industry is back! However, the battle against unauthorized drivers forges on. Travelers have fought tough battles in the past. The havoc caused by unauthorized drivers is a gripping problem which continues to plague travelers. Whether they’re cruising, flying, or taking the train, unauthorized drivers can be found anywhere. Not only are unauthorized drivers a nuisance, but they easily undermine and worst of all-hurt viable transportation vendors. They cost viable transportation vendors money. Travelers should remember to exercise a high level of vigilance, and be proactive while in route. Being vigilant, safeguarding money, and asking drivers for identification are the three keys to avoid unauthorized drivers. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, no trip deserves to be interrupted, having been scammed by an authorized driver. Following these three keys are not just essential to a safe and sound journey, but are vital to a flawless journey with peace-in-mind.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, David also writes for the publication On, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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