Getting to and from the Airport
By Debra L. Karplus
You have your trip planned. You were able to find good deals on airfare. Lucky you. Maybe that fare is from your hometown airport, or possibly in a neighboring town. Now it’s time to figure out how you will get to and from the airport in both directions without spending a fortune. Sometimes an airport shuttle can actually be booked at the same time that you pay for your air ticket. It may be a good deal, but not always, so be sure to explore options.
Obviously, the cheapest way to get from your home to the airport on the outbound trip and then from the destination airport to the place where you’ll be staying, and then back again on your return rides from your destination lodging to the airport, and then from your local airport to home is to have some helpful Uncle Larry or your generous friend who offers to give you a ride. But you can’t always count on that happening, especially on flights that are either very early or very late in the day, or during rush hour.
The cost of your rides will be dependent on a few variables.
First, how many of you need the ride to or from the airport; is it only you, you and a spouse, or several family members. Related to number travelling may be number of bags that your group will be bringing. Some airport transportation companies will differentiate between carry-ons and checked bags, others may not. You’ll also want to calculate the approximate distance from the airport to your departure or arrival spot, also.
Your outbound airport transportation will be easier to play because you are on familiar turf.
Possibly the simplest way to get to the airport on your trip away from home is to drive your own car and park it at the airport. Be sure to price the cost of airport parking. Many of the larger airports have economy parking lots farther from the airport than the pricier parking lots, but offer a free shuttle bus to travelers who are using that lot. Often, you can order and pay for this airport parking in advance via the Internet. Additionally, you may find in a coupon offering a discount either online or in a local magazine or newspaper.
But if your travel is during the winter, and you live in any area where there may be snow or ice, you might consider an alternate airport ride than driving your car and parking at the airport so that you don’t return tired from your travel and need to dig your car out from inches of snow. And don’t count on five, ten or thirty day weather forecasts. The chance of accuracy is relatively slim. When planning your trip, call or look online for prices of taxis, limousines, shuttle busses or even local busses. Many communities have exemplary bus service that goes out to the airport several times daily. Check it out!
Transportation to and from your destination airport might be trickier.
The first thing you need to determine is if you’ll need a car while on your trip. Depending on the number traveling in your group, the activities you have planning for the trip, and the options for getting around in your destination city, renting a car could possibly be the best option. You’ll need to play around with the calculations to decide if a rental car is the way to go. Most airports have a selection of well-known rental places that rent low budget compact cars as well as larger minivans.
If you decide you and your family can get around using public transportation while on your vacation, you can save quite a bit of money by avoiding a rental car. Walking or using city buses while away is typically the most cost effective way to get to places while travelling. And you’ll get the bonus of some needed exercise to work off the extra calories from trying new and interesting dining spots while on your trip.
But, you still need a ride to and from your destination airport. Many of the airport shuttle companies offer affordable rides. If you are willing to share your shuttle with a half dozen or so other airport travelers, and have a ride that makes a few stops, you can save money. One woman recently visited grandchildren in Los Angeles, flying on American Airlines. En route she perused the in-flight magazine, American Way, and found a coupon for the Super Shuttle for ten percent off. She had used this shuttle before, and always with excellent service including punctuality and courtesy. She was able to easily book it online at www.supershuttle.com, before her return flight, paying only $16.20 from Culver City to LAX. While ordering this shuttle, she noticed that Super Shuttle services a large number of cities around the United States.
Travelling is not without its stresses. But you can take away some of the potential headaches of your trip by planning ahead how you will get to and from the airport in both your departure and arrival city. There are often many choices, so take you time to see what’s available.