Depending on where you are traveling there most likely will be different options to get from the airport to your hotel. A few minutes of research before your trip can help you to get the best choice for you without overpaying, putting yourself at risk or just being stuck in traffic since you chose wrong.
At many airports you might find people soliciting you inside the terminal. Often these solicitors look and sound official but are usually not licenses and your fare is most likely going to be the most expensive option. Knowing how much a cab fare or other other transfer options to downtown costs ahead of time gives you the upper hand.
Most airports have the following transfer options:
Some hotels offer free transfers
Sometimes longer wait because of infrequent schedule or because you have to call on arrival to request transfer
If the hotel doesn't offer free transfers this option is usually more more expensive then other transport options
Usually flexible and widely available
Safe if choosing a legitimate company
Can be slower than public transportation in some areas depending on time of the day
Usually the cheapest option
Sometimes faster then other transportation during rush hour
Inconvenient with big bags
Inconvenient if hotel isn't close to public transportation
Might encounter pickpockets or other Safety concerns in some areas
For bigger groups it might be cheaper than a taxi
Convenient if you having somebody wait for you
More expensive for individuals or small groups
Less cumbersome than public transportation since it is door to door service
Usually cheaper then a taxi and a good option for solo travelers
Might take longer to get to your hotel if other passengers will be dropped of before you
Additional things to consider
What time are you arriving?
Not all airports are operate 24/7. This means public transportation might be shutting down as well. If your flight arrives late you might not have the same transfer options you would have during the day. If you are traveling alone you might be better off arranging some pick-up for safety reasons.
How many people are traveling with you?
If you are traveling with a group of 2 or three you might be able to share the cost of the taxi making it cheaper or at least the same cost compared to taking public transportation or a share van.
How much luggage do you have?
If you have lots of luggage public transportation can be cumbersome especially if you have to change buses/trains during rush hour.
How far is the airport from the city
Airports can sometimes be quite far from your hotel making Taxis an expensive choice. In some places public transportation might actually be a better choice because roads are congested and you'd be stuck in traffic when taking a cab.
What's your budget?
Public transportation is usually your cheapest option (short of a free transfer your hotel might offer). Taxis are usually the most expensive choice.
- Print Directions
- Always go on google maps and print the directions to your hotel before you leave. Don't expect the cab driver to know the location of your hotel. It happened several times to me where the cab driver wasn't able to find the Hotel having to stop multiple times asking for direction or having to call the hotel for directions (the fare was negotiated ahead of time so he didn't try to take more money but really didn't know!). You would think in times of GPS this isn't a problem but unfortunately it still happens.
- Take a photo of the license plate
- If you are arriving late or alone take a photo of the taxi/license plate and send it to somebody before getting into the cab (or just pretend you are sending it to somebody if you don't have reception). This might be enough to keep the driver honest. In China it worked well for me to take a photo of the cab drivers license which is usually displayed inside if one is trying to take you the long route.
- Enough Cash for the Transport
- Make sure you have enough cash in the right currency on arrival to pay for your transportation. If you arrive late exchange offices at the airport might be closed or the ATM isn't working.