Frugal Foo

Foo Thinking Money"Money can't buy me love"... But everything else is in this blog.

Airport Transfers - Cheaper Alternatives to Taxis

Airport shuttle buses and public transport are alternatives to expensive taxis and are conveniently available in more places than you might think.

Planning the final leg of the journey from the airport to hotel is often left to the last minute or overlooked completely. But with airports popping up further and further away from town, and taxi fares on the rise, researching the airport transfer to your hotel is just as important as finding the cheapest airfare when planning your trip.



For example, if I fly from Sydney to Melbourne on a cheap airfare, the taxi fare from the airport to the hotel in the city almost doubles my door to door cost. The taxi driving style may well have been imported directly from down town Bangalore, but the $53 taxi fare is very much Australian.  That final 22 km from Melbourne airport to a hotel in the CBD by taxi will amount to approximately $2.40 per kilometer with tolls and other charges, compared with my cheap airfare cost which works out to be approximately 8c per kilometer to fly all the way from Sydney.

John Travolta may be on to something. He has a runway in his backyard and flies his own jet airliner. But for the rest of us planning the journey from the airport to the hotel is an important part of planning any trip involving air travel.

Here are some airport transfer options with useful links to consider when planning your trip.

Hotel Courtesy Bus. Hotel transfers are often (but not always) free and are usually the cheapest option. It’s common for hostels and some hotel chains to offer airport transfers, but you need to confirm this when planning your trip and make arrangements. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could click a check box when searching online for accommodation to find places offering a free airport shuttle service? Well wotif.com have at least made it a little easier with their listing of Airport shuttle accommodation.

Public transport. In Australia, most major cities run a bus or a train to the airport.  Despite this relatively cheap and accessible option, travelers rarely consider this as a first option. For the lone traveler this is often the least expensive way to and from the airport.  The trade off is time.  Public buses and trains may be time consuming if relying on neighbourhood timetables and indirect routes. Also it’s important to check that the stop is easily accessible to either the domestic or international terminal which you will be using. Lifehacker’s Australian Airport Public Transport Guide covers all the airport public transport options for Australian capital cities.

Airport shuttle buses are more expensive than public transport but less expensive than a taxi if on your own. Airport shuttle buses will drop you off at a central location, or may offer to drop you at your accommodation for an additional charge which is often almost as expensive as a taxi. Find airport shuttles anywhere in Australia and compare prices at http://www.airportshuttlesaustralia.com.au.

Stay at a hotel at the airport and save time and money on the commute to the hotel. This only makes sense if you don’t intend visiting downtown on your trip. If arriving late at night, and you are planning to hire a car during your trip, it may be more cost effective to stay at an airport hotel on the night you arrive, and then hire the car from the airport the next morning, saving 1 day of car hire cost.

Hire your own car and drive yourself.  This is the most expensive option but worth considering if touring further.  Book in advance if planning to arrive at regional airports since the car hire desks are not continually staffed unless a booking has been made.  If your flight is delayed they should know automatically that you will be late to pick up your vehicle but it's best to keep in touch with the car hire company if anything changes, especially if your flight is canceled or something arises which places you on a different flight code.  You don't want to arrive only to find a closed desk, no keys and no cars.

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Debt Consolidation

When debt is out of control, consolidating all your debts into a single loan, may help manage your way back into the black. Today I have posted an interview with Marlon Powell of Debtcc to answer some questions about debt consolidation. Marlon shares his knowledge in various online forums and I am delighted to have the opportunity to pick his brain on this topic.

1) Foo: What are some of the early warning signs people should be aware of that may be falling into a debt trap?

Marlon: The first sign may be when you cannot make more than minimum monthly payments on your bills/debts and when you use one card to pay off the balance on another card. You also tend to forget the due dates of payments when you have multiple debts, which is another reason to incur late fees that in turn, may lead to debt problems.

2) Foo: In your experience in this field, what are some of the typical reasons people fall into the debt trap?

Marlon: I am sure many of you will support me if I say that one of the major reasons for falling into debt problems is excessive use of credit cards. Apart from this, many people also fall into debt after the festive season (Christmas and New Year), and if laid off or experience a medical emergency.

3) Foo: How does debt consolidation help repay debts?

Marlon: When people opt for debt consolidation, the major benefit they can enjoy is the opportunity to pay back multiple debts just by making single monthly payments. One can choose from consolidation program, balance transfer method or a secured/unsecured loan for the purpose of debt consolidation.

4) Foo: What types of debt can be consolidated?

Marlon: Most of the unsecured debts can be consolidated such as, credit card bills, medical bills, utility bills, store card bills, etc. However, you’ll not be able to consolidate your federal student loans with the help of a consolidation program; but you can always take out a consolidation loan to pay off your federal as well as private student loans.

5) Foo: Are there online tools available to help people better manage their own debt?

Marlon: Yes, there are a number of online tools such as, personal budgeting software, which you can use absolutely free of cost to manage your finances relatively better. You can also use specific debt calculators to work out necessary figures which in turn, can help you take out a suitable loan or plan your best repayment schedule. One is attached here -





6)Foo: What do I do if I think I need professional help with my debts?

Marlon: When you decide to get professional help, you can browse online to choose a suitable debt consolidation and/or settlement company, get online quotes and select one that you think will best suit your purpose. While doing so, it is advisable that you choose a reliable organization which has sufficient (at least 3 years) experience of providing services in the relevant field of expertise.

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