After a long day of travel, the last thing you want to figure out is how to get to your hotel from the airport. These are the 5 options for the easiest transportation from airport.
Booking a trip comes with a lot of planning: where to stay, what to do, and when to go. One thing I seem to overlook until the night before is planning our transportation from the airport to the hotel! We gathered our best tips to ensure you can make the best choice for your trip, even if it is the night before.
Each country and city will always have its own options and no two will be the same but these 5 options will help you start your search for any transportation from airport.
This post is all about transportation from airport.
1. Transportation Provided by Accommodations
(Our top recommendation)
This is a big one and can save you a lot of time and hassle. Before doing any other research, you should check if your accommodations provide any transportation to/from the airport. This may be included in the rate you already paid or at an additional cost.
Hotel Airport Shuttle
If you are staying in a hotel relatively close to the airport (5mi / 8km) then likely the hotel will have an airport shuttle. This information is often posted on their website but you can also call the hotel for further clarification.
Be sure to double-check that the hotel has an airport shuttle and not just a regular hotel shuttle. These are very different. A regular hotel shuttle will only transport you to local eateries and attractions within a 5mi (8km) radius of the hotel. They will not include an airport pickup or dropoffs. This is either because the hotel is too far from the airport for it to make sense for them to provide transportation or they don’t have proper permits required by the airport.
If the hotel you are staying at does have airport transfer you are in luck! It is something you will have to schedule ahead of time and/or call once you are ready to be picked up. Be sure to check your hotel’s specific guidelines for using their shuttle. Guidelines include:
- Hours of operation
- What to do if your flight is delayed
- The amount of baggage allowed
- Number of guests allowed
As always, be sure to tip anyone that helps you with luggage and the driver!
Airbnb Included Airport Transportation
There have been some Airbnb’s that include transportation from the airport to the Airbnb location which is amazing. As with hotels, this is typically only possible if the property is close to the airport (5-10mi/8-16km). If the host does mention or offer transportation, be sure to clarify if the rate is included or at an additional cost.
Ask your Accommodations for Recommendations
If your hotel or Airbnb does not have an airport shuttle, no worries! Check the additional options below or ask your hotel or Airbnb host for what they recommend. They likely live in the area and speak with many of the travelers coming through. They will know what the best option to get to their property will be.
It may be more expensive than planning your transportation alone, but it will also save you a lot of hassle. They will have a trusted transportation contact that they work with that will be reliable on arrival, take great care of you, and know exactly where they are dropping you off (which can be tricky with some Airbnbs!). It is worth the cost and then some.
2. Public Transportation
This is one of the most popular methods when arriving in large cities (think: New York, Kuala Lumpur). They have specific airport lines on their subway and train lines taking you directly into the city.
They usually land you at a big hub where you can connect to other trains to get you closer to your exact destination.
If the city has a good public transportation system, then this is often a great option. Take Kuala Lumpur for example. It has The KLIA Ekspress and will take you all the way to downtown KL in 30 minutes’ time. Unfortunately, we opted for rideshare, and it ended up taking us 2.5 hours due to a flat tire and heavy rush hour traffic. The train would have bypassed all of this.
Public transportation is fairly cheap, especially when traveling solo but can add up when traveling as a couple or family.
You will need to think about your luggage with public transportation more so than with any other option (unless you are the type of person packing a separate bag just for shoes and always need to think about it, hey, no shame). If you are traveling during rush hour, it’s going to be difficult for you to bring on a roller suitcase and not get dirty looks or hold on to it. The same goes for a large backpack unless you can get a seat.
Check the Schedule
You will also have to account for the time of your flight’s arrival as that can change availability, safety, and cost.
If your flight lands in the morning or early afternoon, then there is relatively no need to worry. I would just check the schedule for how often the train comes. Usually, during the day, you will see every 15 – 30 minutes. This could change for weekends and holidays, though.
If however, you are landing in the middle of the night, you will need to think about a few things. First check hours of operation and how often the train comes around the time you are coming. If the train only runs every hour after a certain time, you could very well be waiting until the next one for an hour or more.
You will also want to think about safety. Some cities are far safer than others. But it boils down to how confident you are to travel on public transportation in the middle of the night. If you aren’t, then don’t. Take another option! There are plenty more listed below.
3. Rideshare Service
Rideshare services are a great transportation option in most cities and established vacation spots. These services include Uber, Lyft, Grab, and any other reputable rideshare service.
If traveling internationally, you may need to do some research as to what service is available in your specific city and at your airport. Depending on the airport you are flying into, they may or may not allow rideshare options to pick up at the airport. If they do, we highly recommend that you download, register, and add your payment option to the app BEFORE you leave. It just makes things so much simpler when you get to the destination airport.
On a similar note, you have to have an internet connection available to use the app. The airport may have free Wi-Fi but it may or may not be difficult to connect to.
The benefits of using private rideshare services include:
- Cheaper if traveling with 2+ guests
- No need to check directions or stops
- Call when you arrive – great for delayed flights
- Know exactly who is picking you up with the license plate and photos
- Know what you owe beforehand
- Pay and tip with a credit card via the app
- Ability to review individual drivers
Some airport routes even have set prices to the city. This was a huge money saver for us when we were in Kuala Lumpur. We were stuck in traffic for two hours and our price didn’t go up from when we originally booked. We tipped him extra though for his time!
4. Rental Car
This is an easy one. If you are renting a car for your stay, you are likely going to be picking it up from the airport. Just be sure to have directions ready ahead of time or get a SIM card so you can have GPS the whole time.
5. Airport Transport Bus / Shuttle
This is a great option when scheduling ahead of time as you will need to book tickets in advance. Since you are paying per person, it is better for solo travel but has it’s advantages for couples as well.
We recommend looking into this option if there are stops near your final destination or get you significantly closer for cheaper.
The best times to use these are if:
- Public transportation doesn’t reach the airport
- You arrive late at night and public transportation is not a viable option
- The airport is too far from the city center and rideshares or taxis cost far too much
I used this service with National Express when traveling solo from Gatwick airport in London to my hotel late at night and it worked out perfectly. The ride was too far for me to book a taxi or use Uber and it was too late at night for me to feel comfortable taking public transportation.
BONUS: Local Taxi Service
As we all know, this is the most widely available means of transportation from the airport to your destination. While most widely available, we recommend it as a last-ditch option.
Cabs tend to have the highest fares out of all the options listed here. With that said, sometimes they are the only available option for you.
If you do decide to take a taxi, we recommend scheduling them ahead of time and preferably through your accommodations recommendation. This will be a trusted service or driver and you can rely on them to show up on time and safely getting from point A to B.
As with most items in Southeast Asia, we found that taxi drivers are willing to negotiate prices. They are either negotiable for a flat rate or metered. Be sure to be absolutely clear before getting in the cab, which payment method you will be using.
Either way, you should have done some research as to how much the ride should cost from the airport to your accommodations. This is a great question to ask your accommodations what the average rate should be. It is also not a bad idea to ask someone at the airport how much a cab should cost from the airport to an area near your hotel.
This way you know if you negotiate, you will get a fair price, and if you choose to meter, they won’t take you through “the scenic route.”
This is not necessarily a common means of transportation from the airport in every country, but it does happen, especially in Southeast Asia.
How do we know? Well, we got a little surprise when we were picked up by one when we landed in Cambodia. We had pre-arranged this transportation with our Airbnb, but there was a line of tuk-tuk drivers waiting outside the airport as you would normally see with cabs.
In areas where there may be less traditional forms of transportation, we would recommend the same strategy as with a cab. That is, know what it should cost before you arrive and schedule a trusted one ahead of time.
Just be sure to be transparent about the number of guests and suitcases as there is not too much room!