Frugal Foo

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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 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

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.




Airport Taxi said...

Hiring a car and drive yourself is not only expensive but also tiring. So its better to have a cab out there.

23 January 2012 at 22:35

Unknown said...

Although a lot of the time there are cheaper options, none of them are as reliable as a airport taxi. I prefer using them to anything else except maybe a full on car rental.

15 October 2013 at 03:16

Unknown said...

In short: The only way that Airport taxi can be better is if they provided entertainment and wore a suite with a black limo. Holiday Airport Transfers

10 December 2013 at 17:13

Unknown said...

I think cab is the best option for airport transfer. I always prefer to hire a cab instead of other means of transportation.
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6 June 2014 at 20:43

Smith @SilverservicecabsMelbourne said...

Taxis are the best way for comfortable traveling & I usually hire a taxi if I want the best & comfortable transportation service.

13 June 2014 at 16:55

Unknown said...

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9 October 2014 at 20:44

Proud to be Pakistani said...

cabs are the best way for comfortable travelling no need waste time
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16 October 2014 at 18:36

Bailey Barnett said...

I completely agree with this. Thanks! Traveling from one place to other needs a lot of arrangements. In fact, traveling from the airport to the hotel, needs a good alternative like, luxury transportation which helps the passengers to travel comfortably. Now a days, you can find airport transportation services in Miami, that provides the service of airport arrivals and departure services, meet and greet services, green transportation options etc.

5 November 2014 at 22:02

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11 January 2015 at 20:13

Anna Schafer said...

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13 January 2015 at 16:19

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Travel and Tours said...

I hope you update with the directed graph version and organize it not by centrality but by time: influences being placed to the right of the influence. That would be a great resource to go along with books like Russell’s History of Western Philosophy.

21 October 2015 at 05:15

Unknown said...

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22 March 2016 at 14:31

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17 August 2016 at 21:19

Unknown said...

I think cab is the best option for airport transfer. I always prefer to hire a cab instead of other means of transportation. Cabs London

18 August 2016 at 23:27

John sadreson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

19 August 2016 at 00:04

John sadreson said...

Thanks! As we know that travelling from one place to another takes many problems, I suggest always hire a trustworthy cab service for in time and comfortable journey.cabs london

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11 May 2017 at 01:21

Diana said...

I always use shuttles.

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