It's cold, raining, the kids are crying and all you want is a taxi to take you home. Or maybe you're a little suspicious of hoping into any old taxi off the street. Here are some suggestions.

Don't tell anyone I told you, but walk into a large hotel (the more expensive the better), hang around the lobby a bit (expensive hotels usually have clean toilets too while you're there) and then walk out to the curb, asking the Bell Man to call you a taxi. There may even be some cabs waiting by, hoping for a good-tipping customer from the hotel as opposed to the rain-soaked loser on the street you used to be. In places where you cannot speak the local language, you can sometimes tell the Bell Man (who will likely speak English) where you want to go, and he'll tell it to the taxi driver in the right language.

Be sure to tip the guy so that the next time when I need to use this trick he doesn't throw me out into the street, OK?

By the way, a taxi ride arranged this way may be also be safer. One, the Bell Man likely knows who the real taxi drivers are and who the thieves are and will try and keep the latter away from HIS hotel. Also, the regular taxi drivers MAY be less inclined to rip you off because you might complain to the hotel (this is all based on the idea that you are staying at the hotel, right?) and they'd lose a primo spot for wealthy customers. It does not always work and should never replace common sense, but might help.

Keep in mind that in some places the Bell Man may actually be in cahoots with the criminals and may in fact set you up to be robbed. Sorry.