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Getting Around After Arriving at Your Destination

You booked your transportation, reserved hotel rooms, and maybe even packed a bag, but wait, how are you getting around once you arrive at your destination? If you have traveled for a while, you may have already figured out your transportation comfort zone. But, if you are new, here are a few ways to get around after arrival.

Knowing how to get around without a car is a valuable and cost savings skill.

Background On This Article

A Facebook follower, Sue (a fantastic person and past co-worker), asks how she can get around after arriving at her destination.

I never thought of explaining this topic because it’s second nature for 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

Many train stations are in the city’s heart, like Chicago or Philadelphia, while other stations, such as Charleston, SC, are like airports and nowhere near the city center.

Fortunately, some large and small communities connect their stations and airports with public transportation by either rail or bus.

Ride with Paula
Friends and family are excellent sources for rides. (That is my sister carting me around.)

Getting Rides From Friends And Family

Having friends or family pick you up is an economical choice for getting around, and it can be fun, well depend on your friends or family.

My sister lived in Charleston, SC, and Omaha, NE, where Amtrak serves but does not connect service to the areas where she lives. Because of this, she has offered to my and folks’ chauffeur.

Tips To Make Everyone’s Life Better

Dates and schedule

To make life better, confirm dates and schedules before booking, so everyone is on the same page. Reminders sometimes help to make sure that everyone shows up when they should. Before making changes, make sure they work with the other person.

Using electronic calendars such as Google Calendar or whatever app works for you can help make sure that everyone has their dates correct.

Share your details

Besides dates and times, route numbers for busses and trains 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; this website also works. Amtrak allows you to sign-up for texts telling you how the train is doing.

The best app/website to keep track of planes is FlightAware.

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

lady walking
Once you arrive at your destination, your next adventure begins

Option 2: Walking

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

What goesn into my decision to walk

The main factors that determine if I walk or not are how far away places are, the weather, how safe I feel, and how I physically feel at the time.

Storytime:

Killer Po-Boy
An omelet po-boy from Killer Po-boy

A few years ago, I took Amtrak’s train, The City of New Orleans, from Chicago to visit New Orleans. After arriving, I stepped out of the train station and entered my hotel into GPS, turned on some tunes, and started to walk to my hotel.

I was almost to The Hotel Daulphine when I noticed a restaurant I wanted to visit, Killer Po-boy. Granted, I could have found Killer by using Google Maps or other means, but seeing Killer on my way to the hotel sealed the deal for me and made it easy to find when I went to eat.

Before long, I had a Cheese Omelet (with bacon) Po-boy in front of me with a little Crystal Hot Sause on top and a cold brew to finish the deal. Instead of wasting time in my hotel trying to decide where to eat, I could make a decision quicker.

By keeping your eyes open, you 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, their menu (just in case).

Public transportation can be an effective and economical way to get around.

Option 3: Public Transportation

My second choice is public transportation. Since I started traveling, I have gathered a few transportation cards from cities around the country. It’s not a bad collection, and it saves me time and money when I arrive.

By having my cards loaded ahead of time, I am prepared to start my experience and look less like a tourist.

Public transport can be intimidating at first, but after a few uses, you will be a pro in no time.

Before traveling to a new city, you can often find a Youtube video or website talking about the public transportation system in that area and the information you need to ride.

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

Option 4: Hotel And Other Shuttles

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.

Other shuttles services, like GO Rightway in the midwest,  offer rides to airports and stations. Check to see if there is a service in your area. Hotel or hostel may have suggestions as well if they do not offer a shuttle. These services can be a little more pricey, but these shuttles do specialize in transporting travelers.

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

Taxis and rideshares are a quick way to get around town.

Option 5: Taxies And Rideshares

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

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

Taxies: Taxis are often waiting at stations and airports, and 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. For more information, check out this article to give tips on using this service.

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

Option 6: Renting A Car

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 not available in all areas).

There are advantages of having a car, such as 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 cost of the rental.
  • 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 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 that public transport, rideshares, or taxis are cheaper in the long run.

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

Option 7: Bike Rental

biking
A great way to get around town

For some, this one can be an excellent compromise, 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 works (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 are staying at one) or local bike shops may offer bike rentals. A quick Google search will help you find a bike in no time.

Wrap up

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

Today with little effort, you can find what services communities offer, from public and private transport, car rentals, lodging. With tools such as Google maps, it’s easy to figure distances between where you are and where you want to go.

Travel tip: with a smaller destination, 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 of the way. This suggestion may not always be feasible but can be practical in some cases and worth checking out.

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

Safe Travels!

Kev

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Kev

Kev has traveled over 125,000 miles on over 660 trains all around the United States aboard Amtrak. When he is not moving, Kev enjoys making music as an organist.

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