Getting Around After Arriving at Your Destination
You booked your trip, hotel rooms are reserved, and maybe you 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 already figure 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 useful and cost savings skill.
Background On This Article
A Facebook follower, Sue (who is an awesome 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 what is second nature for me is new and confusing for others. Thus, after reading her suggestion, I thought, hey Sue, what a great idea.
Arriving At Your Destination
Many train stations are in the heart of the city like Chicago or Philadelphia, while other stations, such as Charleston, SC, and airports, are nowhere near the city center.
Fortunately, some stations in both large and small communities connect their stations and airports with public transportation with either rail or bus.
Option 1: 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.
There is only one place where this was my best option, and that was my trip to Charleston, SC. Because of the location of the station, Paula, my sister was the best option.
Tips To Make Everyone’s Life Better
To make life better, coordinating schedules and communicate any changes as soon as possible is always the best.
Using electronic calendars such as Google Calendar, or whatever works for you. Using e-calenders allows everyone to view the schedule at their convenience, and everyone kept updated.
Along with dates and times, vital information to give the person picking you up is flight info, train number, or bus route; that way, if there are delays, your “driver” can keep track of your progress even if you cannot connect with them.
A small gift or buying a meal can help make your stay or ride more tolerable for the other person.
Option 2: Walking
Walking is my first choice for a few reasons:
- it’s cheap
- Good for you
- It helps to familiarize yourself with your surrounding area faster.
The decision to walk depends on:
- And how I am feeling at the time
On a visit to New Orleans, I took Amtrak’s train, The City of New Orleans from Chicago. After we arrived, I stepped out of the train station and entered my hotel into GPS, started 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.
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. Instead of wasting time in my hotel trying to decide where to eat, I was able to make a quicker decision.
By you keep 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).
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.
Often before traveling to a new city, you can find a Youtube video or website about the public transportation system in that area and the information you need to ride.
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.
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 leading two 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.
Option 6: Renting A Car
Rental companies often located at many major airports and train stations. Some companies such as Enterprise will pick you up with your rent a car (some restrictions apply and not available in all areas).
There are advantages of having a car such as going where you want, but there are downsides as well.
There are downsides of renting a car
- Renting cars can be expensive
- Parking can be outraged in large cities and may be more expensive day 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 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
This one can be an excellent compromise for some, less expensive than car rentals, faster than walking, and more flexibility 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 also may offer bike rentals. A quick Google search will help you find a bike in no time.
I hope this article helps you with your travel plans. I like to walk because it is good for me to get out and saves money.
Today with little effort, you can find what services communities offer, from the 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 that could be necessary for your trip. If this is the case, consider getting off a stop before or after your destination. You can always see if a 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!
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