How To Get Around Your Destination After Arriving
How To Get Around Your Destination After Arriving

7 Ways To Get Around Your Destination When You Travel

Planning your transportation is crucial, but it’s equally important to figure out how you will get around your destination. For seasoned travelers, this is second nature, but for someone who is new to traveling, you may not know what your options are besides renting a car. Knowing how to get around without a car is a valuable and cost-effective skill that you can develop.

Background of how to get around your destination article

A Facebook follower, Sue (a fantastic person and past co-worker), asks me how she can get around after arriving at her destination. I never considered explaining this topic because it’s second nature to me now. Sometimes, I forget that what is second nature for me is new and possibly confusing for others.

After reading her suggestion, I thought, Sue, what a great idea.

Arriving at your destination

The advantage to traveling by train is that many train stations, like Chicago or Philadelphia, are in the city’s heart, while others, such as Charleston, SC, are like airports and nowhere near the city center. Fortunately, some large and small communities connect their stations and airports via rail or bus public transportation.

Airports are rarely everywhere downtown, and not all have adequate public transportation to and from there.

Option 1: Rides from your friends and family

Ride with Paula
My sister and me. Friends and family are excellent sources for rides!

Having friends or family pick you up is an economical way to get around, and it can be fun, well, depending on your friends or family. Since my sister married, she has not lived in Wisconsin, so now I have to travel to visit her. Over the years, she and her husband have been kind and generous, picking me up and dropping me off at train stations or airports.

Tips To Make Everyone’s Life Better

Dates & Schedule

Confirm dates and schedules before booking to avoid confusion and ensure everyone is on the same page. I like to do this more than once; it can be annoying, but then you know everyone is on the same page.

By doing so, you might be able to learn about rebooking or changing fees for your ticket. Reminders help to ensure everyone shows up when they should. That is why I like to involve the person picking me up in the planning and booking process whenever possible.

How You Can Share Your Details

Electronic calendars such as Google Calendar or other apps that work for you can help ensure everyone has their dates correct. Then everyone can check when they want, but ensure you keep them up to date, or this is no longer a great plan.

smart phone

Besides dates and times, route numbers for buses and trains or flight numbers can help the other person know if you are running on time. The same is true if you are flying.

The Amtrak website and app can let everyone know if the train is on time or use a third-party Amtrak tracking website. You can use the Amtrak text or email alert system to alert others if your train has significant delays. If you fly, you can use FlightAware.

A small gift or offering to buy a meal, coffee, or drink can help improve the inconvenience for the other person.

Option 2: Walking

Kev walking in New York City
Kev walking in New York City

Walking is my first choice when traveling because it is cheap, good for you, and helps familiarize yourself with your surrounding area faster.

What goes into my decision to walk

The main factors determining whether I walk are distance—additionally, weather, how safe I feel, and how I physically feel at the time.


Killer Po-Boy
An omelet po-boy from Killer

I took the Amtrak’s City of New Orleans from Chicago to see New Orleans. After arriving, I stepped off the train station and entered my hotel using GPS, turned on some tunes, and started walking to my hotel.

I was almost at The Hotel Daulphine when I noticed a restaurant I wanted to visit, Killer Po-boy.

Granted, once I got to my room, I could have found Killer using Google Maps or other means. Seeing Killer on my way sealed the deal that I wanted to eat there. Sometimes, deciding when and where to eat is the most challenging part of travel.

Before long, I had a Cheese Omelet (with bacon) Po-boy in front of me with a little Crystal Hot Sause and a cold brew to finish the deal. Instead of wasting time in my hotel trying to decide where to eat, I quickly agreed because I saw how close I was to it.

Keeping your eyes open may find a great “hole in the wall” you might miss when you get a ride.

Side note:  Killer Po-Boy’s Cheese Omelets is an excellent choice; here is the Killer Po Boy menu (just in case).

Option 3: Public Transportaion

My second choice is public transportation. Over the years, I have gathered a few transportation cards from cities nationwide. It’s not a bad collection; it saves me time and money when arriving.

Having my cards loaded beforehand allows me to start my experience once I hit the ground and look less like a tourist.

Initially, public transportation can be intimidating when getting around your destination, but you will be a pro after a few uses. Before traveling to a new city, you can often find a YouTube video or website discussing the public transportation system in that area and the information you need to ride.

Option 4: shuttles

MKE Shuttle
This shuttle runs at the Milwaukee Airport, taking passengers between the airport, parking lots, and the Airport Amtrak Station.

Hotels often offer free or economical shuttles. Check with your hotels to see if you need to make reservations for the shuttle service. Hotel shuttles may pick up at airports and train or bus stations, but check with the hotel.

Sometimes, you can hire shuttles, too, like GO Rightway in the Midwest. Other shuttle services offer rides to airports and stations. Check to see if there is a service in your area.

A hotel or hostel may also have suggestions if they do not offer a shuttle. These services can be a little pricey, but these shuttles specialize in transporting travelers.

Travel tip: Reserve early and confirm your reservations a day before your ride. If there are delays, let the service know as soon as possible. That way, no one has to wait for you when you are not going there when you originally booked.

Option: Taxies and rideshares

A lit Taxi sign
Taxis and rideshares are a quick way to get around town

Hire a driver; this could include Uber, Lyft, taxi, rickshaw, horse & buggy, or whatever else may be around.

I have only hired a taxi once and used rideshares a few times.

Taxies: taxis often wait at stations and airports; if you are in a hurry, these could be a great choice. Often, taxis are waiting for people and are available 24/7. Cabs may not be the cheapest, but the service may be available when rideshares are not.

Rideshares: Uber and Lyft are the two leading rideshare companies. For a ride, you use an app to request a car, and someone will pick you up and take you where you want to go.

Option 6: Renting a car

Car keys
Sometimes renting a car is the best option for getting around.

Rental companies are often at many major airports and train stations. Some companies, such as Enterprise, will pick you up with your rental car (some restrictions apply and are unavailable in all areas).

A car has advantages, like going where you want, but downsides.

There are downsides to renting a car.

  • Renting cars can be expensive.
  • Parking can be outraged in large cities and may be more expensive than the rental cost.
  • Hidden taxes and fees

When to rent

  • If you have mobility issues
  • Extended day trips that other transportation options may not be available
  • Rural areas

Beware that some hotels do charge for parking. I have heard of this happening in New Orleans and San Fransico. Some hotels do not have parking, so you may need to use the street or a nearby parking ramp.

Parking in cities like Chicago costs upwards of $40 plus a day. Before renting a car, do a little research on what it will cost you. You might find public transport, rideshares, or taxis cheaper in the long run.

One way to save money on car rentals is to batch your destinations together. Instead of renting a car for the whole trip, you only rent the vehicle when and as long as needed.

Option 7: Bike rental

A great way to get around town

For some, this one can be an excellent compromise for getting around your destination; it is less expensive than car rentals, faster than walking, and more flexible than public transportation.

Many of the major cities now have a bike rental system.

The way these bike rentals work (in a nutshell)

  • Sign up for a membership
  • Go to the rental location and pick up a bike.
  • When you finish, return the bike to any of the rental sites.

Hostels (if you stay at one) or local bike shops may offer bike rentals. A quick Google search will help you find a bike in no time.

How To Get Around Your Destination Wrap-Up

I hope this article on getting around your destination helps you with your travel plans. I like to walk because it is good for me to get out and save money.

You can find community services with little effort, from public and private transport car rentals and lodging. With tools such as Google Maps, it’s easy to figure out distances between where you are and where you want to go.

Travel tip: If your destination is a smaller town, be aware that there might not be a car rental agency where you need one. If this is the case, consider getting off a stop before or after your destination and then driving where you need to go. Or see if the rental company will deliver to your location. Then, you can rent a car and drive the rest. This suggestion may not always be feasible, but it can be practical in some cases and worth checking out.

We only have so much travel money; let’s use it wisely!

Safe Travels!


Kevin Monteith

Kev Monteith has been traveling on Amtrak since 2012. With over a decade of experience, he has been on over 800 trains, covering over 200k miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by providing support and information. Outside of travel, Kev enjoys making music as an organist and outings with family.

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