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There is no form of travel that is perfect. However, when working correctly, Uber can get darn close. I’ve shared my love for this service before both when they came out with uberFAMILY that provided car seats in certain vehicles in select cities (which, has since expanded – I just read that uberFAMILY in Philly includes 1 IMMI Go car seat AND 2 BubbleBum boosters in every uberFAMILY car) and again after when they “rescued” our traveling family of 5 on hot July days in DC. Literally it turned what could have been a pouty, sweaty, Griswold-kind-of-fun experience into a pleasant experience.
This week I was in Boston with my parents, my sister, my aunt, and my daughter. That is a diverse herd that ranges in age from 4 – 65, and moving all of us around town at one time could have been a logistical challenge. Walking miles and miles all day wasn’t practical. Solely relying on the tourist trolleys, or even public transportation, wasn’t realistic if you wanted off to make the best use of your time. Renting a car and dealing with Boston streets and parking would have been an even worse idea than walking. Cabs could have worked, but we would have needed more than one, and they weren’t always in abundance at some of the spots we visited.
However, using the Uber SUV option allowed all six of us to get from spot to spot in one vehicle with ease. No one got too worn out from excessive walking (though walking the Freedom Trail was great!), we made great time, and we were kept together. There is no way we would have seen as much as we did in a short period of time without Uber.
I know lots of you have already used Uber and know exactly what I am talking about, but I don’t know if my parents or aunt would have ever used Uber were it not for me, so I am writing about Uber (again) to try and encourage folks who may be hesitant with summoning a car via a smart phone to take a breath and make it happen. It is especially valuable on trips like this where we had to move a large number of people, and were in areas that weren’t always flush with cabs.
Uber is kind of like the “Fast Pass” option at Disney World in that it literally gave us the chance to make better use of our vacation time, which is priceless. However, “priceless” doesn’t always fit into family budgets, so now I want to talk about two ways to save on upcoming Uber trips.
- First ride free (up to $30 promo – my link). If you are new to Uber, you can try it out for free on a ride up to $30 (if the cost is higher, the difference will be billed to your linked credit card). This is a great way to see why I am a huge fan without having to pony up some cash.
- New and existing Uber customers save $10 on a ride via Amex Sync. Just sync an American Express credit card that you attach to your Uber account using #AmexUber and get a one-time $10 statement credit by using your connected card to spend a total of $10 or more on Uber by 12/31/14. You can get more information on this offer here. To maximize earning points while using Uber note that Membership Rewards pays out 2x on Uber rides, and of course it is coded as an eligible 2x travel charge on the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Before I wrap up this Uber love note, I want to share three more reasons why I love Uber for those who have not yet tried it.
- No cash or credit cards are involved. You link a credit card to your Uber account, and when it comes time to actually ride no cash or credit cards change hands. It is simple, seamless, and stress-free. You don’t even need to tip additional over what is automatically billed to your card.
- You can track your driver and know what type of vehicle to look for thanks to the app. It was very helpful to know where the driver was, what type of car, and what license plate to look for. This isn’t just convenient, but it makes me feel a tad safer to know that info is being tracked.
- Many drivers are just so helpful. This will be luck of the draw, but I had some great Uber drivers in Boston who went above and beyond to really help us out, even carrying luggage into the hotel for us when my arms were full of our sleeping four-year-old. They didn’t have to do that, but I was so thankful they did. You can bet they got big five star ratings (and I wish there was a 5+)! Which, is really my third point. The drivers (and passengers) are rated, so a truly bad driver won’t last long in the Uber system.
Make yourself learn how to use Uber before your next urban family trip. Try it out and see what you think, then let me know. It may not be perfect 100% of the time, but it can get darn close. I don’t use Uber in my daily life, but I’m a big fan of it on urban family trips to maximize time and minimize stress.