Getting to the Airport and Beyond on a Budget

There is nothing worse than getting ready to go to the airport and then realizing you have to spend a fortune to get there. Not everyone is lucky enough to have someone to drop them off and pick them up and usually at the other end you do not have either of those options. A taxi is usually the quickest and easiest option, but depending on where you are and how far you are going, it can cost way more than you want to spend. If you can rent a car for cheaper than you can take a cab, it is not a deal. So, besides hitchhiking to your hotel or signing over your first born, what other options do you have that will save you money?

The 5 Most Overcrowded Airports

Airport and hotel shuttles – Many hotels offer free shuttles to and from the airport, if they are close. If they are not, you will probably have to pay, but shuttles can be really inexpensive compared to your alternatives. In fact, if you book ahead and also book a round-trip, you often can get an even better deal. Unlike taxis, shuttles can be a lot roomier and perfect for families of four or more that cannot squeeze into a cab or hold all that luggage, even if it is only carry-on. Another great thing about shuttle service is that you can set it up in advance, confirm it the day before and get wherever you need to be at a specific time. The services will work off your arrival and departure times to get you there ahead of schedule.

Public transportation – Yes, it does not always seem all that convenient to jump on the bus with all your baggage, but if you are a light packer, taking the bus or subway can be super handy. It is affordable and runs on a schedule. You never have to make any arrangements to get picked up or dropped off and when you make it to a new destination city with a great transportation system, it can allow you to see the sites while also saving you some money for the rest of your trip.

What Passengers Are Looking for in Airports

Drive and park yourself – If a short trip is in your future, look into the costs of short-term parking at or near the airport. Rates can run as little as $6 per day and many times if you pay ahead of your trip, you can get a discount. It may turn out to be a low-cost option for you, especially if you are not worried about your car left in a lot for several days. Remember to put all your valuables out of sight or, better yet, take them all out of your car before you leave the house.

Rent a car – Got a lot of things planned where you are traveling and need more flexibility? Then a rental car could really help you out in more ways than one. You can easily pick up your rental at the airport or nearby location and then drive yourself to and from your hotel and everywhere else you want to go. This is a perfect choice for when you have several day trips planned as well.

How Early Do I Actually Need to Arrive at the Airport?

Of course, there are many places were taxis are cheap and easier to get around in than renting a car, like in Quito, Ecuador. The rates are a small fraction of what they are in the U.S. and drivers know their way around the city better than a foreigner, which means you almost certainly will not get lost. Make sure to research your destination before you take off, so you know the best options available to you for getting to your hotel and around the city. You are bound to find the best choice for your itinerary and your wallet.


About the Author

Shereen Rayle is author of the blog Shereen Travels Cheap and two budget travel books, including Secrets to Summer Savings. For years she has been planning her own vacations using the Internet to extend her limited budget as far as possible and shares the tips and tricks she has learned, along with useful sites like, to help others get the most out of their travel dollars. And to further inspire budget travelers everywhere, she finds terrific travel bargains and posts them each day on her Facebook page.


Published: July 25, 2012