Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection (UPDATE)

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LifeIsGood
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Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection (UPDATE)

Post by LifeIsGood » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:43 am

We’ll be in Amsterdam in a couple of weeks and want to take Uber from the airport to our hotel in the downtown area. I believe the airport has free WiFi but am concerned that if there’s a problem it will be difficult to contact the driver. Has anyone dealt with this before?

Just wanted to report that I used Uber in Amsterdam several times via wifi and it worked perfectly. Problem solved in Biglehead fashion for $0!
Last edited by LifeIsGood on Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:47 am

LifeIsGood wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:43 am
We’ll be in Amsterdam in a couple of weeks and want to take Uber from the airport to our hotel in the downtown area. I believe the airport has free WiFi but am concerned that if there’s a problem it will be difficult to contact the driver. Has anyone dealt with this before?
Can you get a local data SIM at the airport ? Or ask for temporary international roaming from your US provider ?

adamthesmythe
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:53 am

If the ONLY reason for getting a SIM card is to use Uber, then I would just use a regular cab.

Or take the extremely efficient train to downtown, and then get a cab.

Cabs in Holland are very different from the US. The cabs are new, clean, drivers are well dressed, and speak excellent English.

runner3081
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by runner3081 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:18 pm

You can order Uber from a computer if you have access to one.

TravelGeek
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:46 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:53 am

Or take the extremely efficient train to downtown, and then get a cab.
Indeed the train worked great for us. I did select our hotel to be in walking distance from the train station (which is fairly central... and appropriately called Centraal :) )

For making phone calls while on WiFi, perhaps consider Skype or similar?

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by UpperNwGuy » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:49 pm

Just buy an international plan from your US cellular service provider. Or don’t use Uber. I travel to Europe twice a year and have never onced used Uber. The local cabs are always wonderful in European cities.

rj49
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by rj49 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:50 pm

Schiphol airport has excellent train and bus service, but if you want to use Uber I'd get a SIM at the airport, as long as you have a GSM phone, then you can use data when you're sightseeing and get maps and directions, as well as find restaurants. Or you could save the cost of a 30-minute Uber or taxi and do the train to the central station and then Uber or taxi from there, and the cost savings would pay for a SIM card and data plan to use wherever you're at.

I find that learning to use local public transport is a great way to meet people and get over travel fears--I took the bus from Schiphol to Haarlem on my last trip there and it was fun watching families and kids going out to clubs and parties, and I got to see suburbs and places off the tourist map. That's why Rick Steves tours usually give hand-holding demonstrations on how to use in public transport in cities, to help Americans can get over their fear of foreign subways, trains, and buses (as well as fears of buying a throwaway SIM card, since we're so used to expensive, long-term plans on a few carriers).

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:13 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:18 pm
You can order Uber from a computer if you have access to one.
Can you? I tried that and it didn't work. They have a desktop app. You can get an account all set up with Google Voice, but when it came time to order a car it didn't work. I asked about it and received the following:
Just to let you know, numbers such as Google Voice or VOIP numbers are not compatible with our system.
If there is a way to do it, I'd be interested in learning how.

runner3081
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by runner3081 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:44 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:13 pm
runner3081 wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:18 pm
You can order Uber from a computer if you have access to one.
Can you? I tried that and it didn't work. They have a desktop app. You can get an account all set up with Google Voice, but when it came time to order a car it didn't work. I asked about it and received the following:
Just to let you know, numbers such as Google Voice or VOIP numbers are not compatible with our system.
If there is a way to do it, I'd be interested in learning how.
I also have Google Voice and used it online to order an Uber ride (Desktop and phone). Just call them and they will override the verification issues.

A phone call to Lyft also worked, G Voice number is set there as well.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:08 pm

I'll keep that in mind if I try again. Assuming I haven't gotten a phone by then. I don't need rides often.

Northern Flicker
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by Northern Flicker » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:13 pm

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Last edited by Northern Flicker on Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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inbox788
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by inbox788 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:14 pm

LifeIsGood wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:43 am
We’ll be in Amsterdam in a couple of weeks and want to take Uber from the airport to our hotel in the downtown area. I believe the airport has free WiFi but am concerned that if there’s a problem it will be difficult to contact the driver. Has anyone dealt with this before?
I've used Uber with WiFi with mixed results. At the airport, using their free wifi, I was able to request an Uber and got picked up at the meeting point with no issues. Another time, the location was incorrect (other side of building), but I was able to use the location to track down the driver. On another occasion, the driver failed to arrive, and without a phone connection, I was unable to get in contact with the driver, so I wound up taking a taxi.

If you're only using it to and from the airport, you could just give it a try, but plan a taxi or other mode of transportation if it fails.

neilpilot
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by neilpilot » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:54 pm

I've used the Uber app, using only a WiFi connection, to order rides in the UK & France. Never a problem. As another person posted, if the airport wifi doesn't work then just use roaming data thru your US provider or take a cab. It's not the end of the world.

moehoward
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by moehoward » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:35 pm

I used Uber in Paris with no cellular connection. I summoned Uber from AirBnb house wifi, no problems.

Scrapr
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by Scrapr » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:35 pm

moehoward wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:35 pm
I used Uber in Paris with no cellular connection. I summoned Uber from AirBnb house wifi, no problems.
The problem becomes when you want to get back to your Air BnB. No data and you are out and about. I think we might have bought a drink at a cafe and hopped on wifi to get an Uber. We used Uber & taxis in Paris. My phone didn't work until the last day of our trip. So we used my wife's phone for Uber

Had a great taxi driver takes us to Notre Dame. On the way he showed us Ste Chapelle. That was my favorite stop on our trip. He got a very good tip. Price was about the same Uber vs Taxis. More of the Uber drivers seemed to be very recent immigrants. English was not as good as the taxi drivers (small sample size)

Trism
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by Trism » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:55 am

My first firsthand experience with a Tesla Model S was a taxi at AMS.

I generally don't want to deal with figuring out public transportation from the airport in new cities especially after flying all night, and often not at all unless it's fastest by a significant amount of time.

It's not just figuring out where to board the train, but often you need to figure out which line to take, where you have to transfer (if applicable) and where to get off.

Plus you have to d-r-a-g all of your luggage through unfamiliar city streets with one hand and one eye on your phone so you can use GPS to find your hotel. Often you're dripping with sweat when you finally arrive. I can't believe people who can afford other options would deal with all of this.

It's generally much more convenient to use Uber, Lyft or a taxi, plus you can ask the driver questions about local destinations on the way.

I would just grab a Tesla Model S or Mercedes E-Class (or similar) from the taxi stand and start off your stay in Amsterdam without stress.

neilpilot
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by neilpilot » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:02 am

Trism wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:55 am
My first firsthand experience with a Tesla Model S was a taxi at AMS.
Did you have a second firsthand experience?

moehoward
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by moehoward » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:12 am

Scrapr wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:35 pm
moehoward wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:35 pm
I used Uber in Paris with no cellular connection. I summoned Uber from AirBnb house wifi, no problems.
The problem becomes when you want to get back to your Air BnB. No data and you are out and about. I think we might have bought a drink at a cafe and hopped on wifi to get an Uber. We used Uber & taxis in Paris. My phone didn't work until the last day of our trip. So we used my wife's phone for Uber

Had a great taxi driver takes us to Notre Dame. On the way he showed us Ste Chapelle. That was my favorite stop on our trip. He got a very good tip. Price was about the same Uber vs Taxis. More of the Uber drivers seemed to be very recent immigrants. English was not as good as the taxi drivers (small sample size)
We were going to the train station so it worked perfect. When traveling in Europe we use mostly subways, Uber and occasionally taxis. Uber can be tricky in congested areas, so a taxi works best.

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LifeIsGood
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by LifeIsGood » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:07 am

Thanks everyone for the feedback. If it matters, our flight arrives at 5:45am on a Wednesday.
My stateside cellphone service is with an MVNO so no options for international service.
I’m seeing conflicting reports on the cost of Uber vs taxis to central Amsterdam. Some sources say that both services charge a flat rate and others show Uber as being cheaper.
At such an early time of day we’re not inclined to use a bus or train while dragging luggage after an overnight flight.

neilpilot
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by neilpilot » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:58 am

LifeIsGood wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:07 am
My stateside cellphone service is with an MVNO so no options for international service.
My cell service is also an MVNO on the Verizon network. Xfinity Mobile worked great this spring in the UK and France, and was also a tenth the cost of my former AT&T service.

But if you truly will not have the option of cell service, it's clear you should stick to a taxi.

Shallowpockets
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:10 pm

If you are using Uber for this airport trip when it is otherwise so easy to take the train, then you need a cell phone. Why? Because with that sort of convenience desired you will most likely need it a second time for an Uber or to make and take cell phone calls. It does not seem like your type of travel accepts much inconvenience or time constraints. Make it easier on yourself and buy an unlocked GSM phone and then a local SIM card. I am sure you can do that right in the airport.

oilrig
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by oilrig » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:12 pm

I’ve done this exact same thing in Buenos Aires, Santiago, and Río de Janeiro. I’ve used Uber exclusively to get around South America and I just whatever WIFI signal I have from the air bnb, airport, hotel, restaurant, bar etc. Just be sure to stay in the WIFI area until the Uber arrives, then track the Uber by his car and license plate number. Worst case scenario the Uber cancels on you and you order another one.

Most airports will have Uber pickup/dropoff areas conveniently located for customers.

sketchy9
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by sketchy9 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:11 pm

If you have T-Mobile you get free international 2G data, which is good enough for Uber.

EDIT: Nvm, just saw that you have an MVNO

MrTom
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by MrTom » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:31 pm

The buses and trains are plentiful, clean, and extremely convenient. But I hear you about being tired after a long flight and not wanting to deal with it. I would say though that if you are going to be in Amsterdam for 3 weeks, then you should get a local sim. We were just there in May and hunting for wifi gets old fast. And all that easy public transport is doubly easy because their app that tells you exactly where everything is to the minute is really that good.

Get a sim and get a transit card and load some money on it and off you go. :)

MrTom
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by MrTom » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:34 pm

Also, I have no idea where I got the idea that you are going to be there for three weeks. :confused

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LifeIsGood
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Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Post by LifeIsGood » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:33 am

I'd be willing to take the train but my wife ........
I have an unlocked GSM phone so maybe purchasing a prepaid SIM would be the way to go and give me a bit of backup. We will be on a river cruise and will be in Denmark, Austria, Germany and Hungry.
Are prepaid SIMs tied to one country or can they be used throughout Europe?

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