“An airport is a place where you go through hell to reach your alleged paradise.”
After a while, many Fifty-Plus Nomads may find that they get tired of getting to and from airports. Here are six simple tips to reduce your frustration:
Airport Parking, Getting to Faraway Airports
- If you need to park your car at the airport for several days, consider renting a room for the night and asking the hotel if they’ll let you park your car until you come home. Usually, they will charge you more for the night’s accommodation than you’d pay otherwise, but it still may be less than it costs to park your car at a lot near the airport. Parking a car near the airport usually costs $15-30 a day for a lot next to the airport and $6-15 a day for a lot two to five miles away from the airport. (Note: you can make parking reservations online. You will be shuttled to the airport from the parking lots that are away from the airport.) A hotel room, with parking included, usually costs $100-150 a night. Sometimes, however, the free parking is only available for a limited period (most commonly, one week). If you park for more time, you may have to pay extra (usually less than you’d pay at an airport parking lot). Generally, inexpensive hotels charge less for parking and will allow you to park for a more extended time for no additional charge. (It is rare that you can park a car for more than two weeks without paying an extra fee). For more information on these parking/room specials, check out www.parksleepfly.com.
- If you are planning to travel for less than a couple of days, you may be able to park your car at a suburban train station or a park-and-ride lot for free (or low cost) and take the train or bus to the airport and, thus, save the high parking costs. Check websites or call the station for details. Be careful since this option is not available from every station/park and ride lot and you could come home to a hefty ticket if it is prohibited.
- If you need to travel to an airport that is far from home to pick up a flight, you may want to consider renting a car and driving it to the airport rather than taking a shuttle. Usually, there is no drop-off fee (drop-off fees typically occur when you rent a car from one location and drop it off at another location) for bringing a vehicle to a major airport. Sometimes if you are leaving from a more off-the-beaten-path destination, the rental fees can be very reasonable.
Transportation to and From the Airport
- You can travel by public transportation to the airport and bypass paying parking fees altogether. Yes, in many suburban and rural communities, it may take several hours. However, there is almost no home in the US that is completely inaccessible by public transport, and even if you have to make many transfers, you’ll eventually get to the airport. (I think public transportation is available easily between almost every large central city and the airport. Buses, for example, go from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to Los Angeles (LAX) every thirty minutes and from Seattle’s airport (Sea-Tac) to downtown Seattle every 10-20 minutes. Subway trains serve San Francisco airport (SFO), O’Hare in Chicago (ORD), Washington-National (DCA), Logan Airport in Boston (BOS), etc.
- Trains and buses also provide connections from downtown to most major airports in Europe and Asia. I have never had trouble getting to the airport in Europe and Asia by public transportation even when I needed to get an early morning flight.
- After a long flight, I consider taking a taxi or Uber from the airport to wherever I am staying to be a wonderful luxury. For many years, I tried to save money by using public transportation to get from the airport to somewhere near my hotel and then either walking or taking a taxi to my destination. Sure I used to save $20 to $30 this way and, as I used to tell myself, I got right away into spirit of the destination. But, about eight years ago, I realized that all I really did was arrive at my destination tired and frustrated. (Just buying a train ticket often felt like work after a long flight). Nowadays, I am more than happy to pay for a taxi. (For some reason, in about 75% of all cases, I spend around $40-$50 for the taxi from the airport to my hotel). If you are going to Europe and want to take public transportation to or from the airport, consult Rick Steves’ guides for excellent advice. (Here is a link to useful information from Rick Steves about European airports),
Some Additional Transportation-Related Posts
- Lessons From An Express Kidnapping in Puebla, MexicoIn January 2020, I was a victim of an express kidnapping in Puebla, Mexico. I discuss what happened to me and what I learned about travel safety from the incident.
- Extra Fees: What are Ancillary (Extra) Fees and Why Are They Increasingly Becoming A Travel Industry Lifeline?More and more the travel industry depends on the sale of other products to expand and maintain its profitability. Expect to be bombarded with hints to buy other things (ancillaries) on your next cruise, flight, etc.
- Why the Sharing Economy Has Become So Popular in the Travel Industry?The sharing economy like Uber and Airbnb has made a major influence on the travel industry and will continue to affect the industry far into the future.
- Taxis, Ubers, and Tuk-Tuks 101: A Guide to Safe, Inexpensive, and Trouble-Free RidesDiscover multiple tips to help you avoid being ripped off or worse while using taxis, tuk-tuks, or Ubers.
- Car Rental 101- How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off at the Car Rental CounterRenting a car is probably the travel decision most fraught with potential problems. Long-term travelers should ask themselves if a car rental is really necessary. They should also watch out for car agency rip-offs and other problems.
- Getting to the Airport Trouble-Free: 6 Simple TipsGetting to and from the airport and airport parking will be easier if you follow the six simple tips in this post.
- Public Transportation 101: A Guide to Finding the Best Options Around the WorldA basic primer on finding the best transportation options for travelers. Learn how to avoid costly mistakes and potential safety issues with buses, trains, and subways.