Cabs are harder to find in residential neighborhoods and less densely populated areas of the city. If you're trying to get a cab in one of these areas, find a busy intersection.
Stand on the curb facing oncoming traffic. DO NOT stand in the street.
Cabs that are available will have the light atop their cars turned on. Raise your hand as the cab approaches to gain the driver's attention.
If cabs are unavailable or if you have difficulty finding one, call a cab company and give them a pickup location (i.e. a nearby address or intersection).
HOW TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CAB FARE
Most cabs can accept credit card payments. That said, it's wise to ask your driver ahead of time, particularly if you're not carrying enough cash to cover your fare.
Cab fare in Chicago starts at $3.25 as soon as you enter the vehicle. From there, your fare will increase $0.20 for every 36 seconds of elapsed time. A clearly displayed meter is a fixture of every cab, which allows you to monitor fare increases.
Most cabs charge flat rates for transportation downtown to and from the airports (O'Hare and Midway). Typically, these rates are posted in your cab.
If you're sharing your cab with one passenger, there is an additional $1 charge. For each passenger extra, there is an additional $0.50 charge.
To compensate for rising gas costs, a new city ordinance allows a surcharge of $1 to be added to all fares when the average price for a gallon of gas exceeds $3.20 in the Chicago area for seven consecutive business days.
It's standard to tip the driver about 15 percent of your total fare. If your driver helps you with your baggage, and additional $1 or $2 per bag can be added.
FINDING TRANSPORTATION FOR VISITORS WITH DISABILITIES
Minivans equipped with wheelchair-accessible ramps, securements and seatbelts are offered by man cab companies in Chicago
To order an accessible taxi, call the toll-free centralized dispatch service at 1.800.281.4466
Chicago's public transportation system is available for individuals with disabilities and offers a reduced fare. For accessible trains and buses and to plan an accessible route, visit http://tripsweb.rtachicago.com.
Tipping is customary, but not necessary if you feel you've been mistreated or received particularly poor service. Ask to speak to a supervisor first, skipping a tip is sometimes perceived as insulting.
In restaurants: tip servers 15-20% of the bill. Bartenders should receive roughly $1 per drink with extra compensation for specialty cocktails. In self-serve food establishments, tipping is optional. If you're receiving food that is delivered, a suggested tip is around 10% of your bill.
In hotels: if the concierge arranges tickets, a dinner reservation or another specific service, tip a minimum of $5. Valet drivers should receive $2 or $3 and the doorman should be given $2 for hailing a cab or assisting you with luggage.
As spas and salons: Leave a 20% tip for your stylist or service provider.
In the United States, drive on the right side of the road.
16-years-old is the legal driving edge. Car rental companies rely on a different standard of minimum age, often requiring renters to be 21-years-old with surcharges for people under 25-years-old.
If driving a private vehicle, you are required to possess a valid driver's license and insurance. International driver are not required to carry an international driving permit in the U.S., but must possess a photo ID along with their native driver's license.
Speeds are measured in miles-per-hour and speed limits are clearly displayed by signage along streets and roadways.
In Chicago, talking on your cell phone while driving a car is illegal. Fines range from $50 to over $200.
Consuming alcohol while traveling in a vehicle is illegal for drivers AND passengers. Specially chartered vehicles like limousines and particular kinds of buses are an exception.
It is illegal to transport alcohol with a broken seal. If you're transporting alcohol with a broken seal, open bottles should be stored in the trunk. Violators face fines up to $2,500.
Carry a copy of your prescription for any or all drugs you are taking in the U.S.
Some drugs that are common or legal in other countries may require a prescription or could be totally illegal in the U.S.
You are required to report all imported medications to U.S. Customs
Carry all prescription medications in their original and intended containers.
A 9.5% tax is applied to all non-perishable goods. A 2% tax is applied to grocery items and medical supplies.
An additional 1% tax applies to food and beverage purchases in the downtown area of Chicago.
Car rentals in Chicago are taxed at a rate of 20%
Hotel rooms in Chicago are taxed at a rate of 4.5% of the gross rental or leasing charge
Soft drinks in Chicago are taxed at a rate of 9%
Bottled water carries a tax of $0.05 per bottle.
CELL PHONES & OTHER ELECTRONICS
If you're visiting Chicago from another company, many of your electronics may require an adapter to operate with the 110 voltage socket in the U.S. Many of these adapters are available at airports and electronic stores.
Without an international plan, many cell phones will not work in the U.S. Check with your service provider before visiting Chicago.