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Save time and money on your next airport trip

SmarterTravel

The next time you fly into another city, remember that the car rental desk isn’t your only option for getting to and from the airport. You’ll save time, money, or both by taking public transportation, a shared van, or a taxi, and you won’t have to worry about high gas prices or the headaches of driving in an unfamiliar town.

Can’t convince your friends or relatives to drop you off or pick you up, and don’t want to park your car at the airport? See below for important tips about these methods of transportation, and advice about when you should consider using each.

Vehicle What you need to know When it’s right for you

Bus or train
  • Public transportation is generally the cheapest way to get to/from the airport
  • Many airports have their own stations, or free shuttles to the closest one
  • Discounted weekly passes are usually available
  • You have plenty of time to spare
  • You know how to get to your destination
  • You’re traveling light; don’t try this with lots of heavy bags

  • Shared van
  • Less expensive than a cab
  • Make reservations for trips to the airport at least 24 hours in advance
  • Sometimes you’ll have to wait for the van to fill up; other times, you could get the van all to yourself
  • You’re unfamiliar with the city you’re in, but can’t afford a cab
  • You don’t mind waiting for other passengers to be picked up/dropped off
  • You’re traveling light or with a medium amount of luggage

  • Taxi
  • Quickest, easiest; throw your suitcase in the trunk and tell the driver where to go
  • Usually more expensive than the other two options
  • You can split fares with other people if you’re traveling in a group
  • You’re in a hurry
  • You’re traveling with lots of bags
  • You’re traveling with friends
  • The amount you’ll pay differs from city to city, so we’ve compiled details about these three modes of travel that can help you plan if you’re flying to/from seven major metropolitan areas. Plus, click on the links to the individual airport websites, so you can do more research on your own.

    Learn more about your travel options in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, or Washington, D.C. Or, for more information about public transportation schedules and fares for the city you’ll be visiting, go to the American Public Transportation Association website.

    City Public transportation Shared van Taxi
    Boston:
    Logan
    Plan to ride the subway to and from the airport; a free shuttle bus ride between the terminal and the airport train station will give you access to the entire city. Each ride on the subway costs $1. Three bus lines operate to and from the airport, also for $1, or you can take a water taxi to downtown for $10 each way. Expect to pay around $10 for the first person, plus $5 for each additional traveler, for a shared van ride from Logan to downtown Boston. Prices can go as high as $45 if you’re traveling to the suburbs. Traveling within a 12-mile radius of Boston will cost you a metered rate that depends on how far you go; the base fare to get to Boston hotels ranges from about $10 to $25. Plus, you’ll also have to pay for tolls across the bridge; trips to Logan cost an additional $2.25, while trips from the airport incur a $6.00 fee.
    Chicago:
    Midway
    O’Hare
    A one-way subway ride from either Midway or O’Hare to Chicago’s downtown costs $1.50; add an additional $0.30 if you’re transferring to a bus. You’ll pay $12.50 for a shuttle ride from Midway to the downtown area, and you can expect to spend close to $17 from O’Hare. Expect to pay about $19 for a cab ride to downtown Chicago from Midway airport, or $35-$40 from O’Hare.
    Dallas:
    Ft. Worth
    Love
    From Love airport, you’ll pay $1.25 to get to downtown Dallas on one of two bus lines. From Ft. Worth, you can take a bus for $2.25, or a train for $2.25 if you plan to go east toward downtown, or $1.25 if you’re headed west. Several vans service each airport. A Super Shuttle ride from either airport to downtown will cost between $15 and $20, plus $7 for each additional person. A cab ride from Ft. Worth to downtown Dallas will set you back about $40.
    Los Angeles:
    LAX
    From LAX, you can take a free shuttle bus to the L.A. bus center; it will then cost you $1 to get anywhere in Los Angeles (but it may take a while). Super Shuttle rides to destinations in the Los Angeles area cost $31 to $57. Cabs cost a flat rate of $30 from LAX to downtown.
    New York:
    JFK
    LaGuardia
    Newark
    Free shuttle buses will get you from each airport to public transportation. You can expect to pay $2 if you take the bus or subway to downtown Manhattan. Super Shuttle rides from all three airports to Manhattan range from $13 to $22. For LaGuardia, expect to pay $16-$26, Newark fares range between $34-$55, and you’ll be charged a flat rate of $35 to/from JFK; none of the prices include tolls and additional fees.
    San Francisco:
    Oakland
    SFO
    BART, the Bay Area transit system, opened an SFO station on June 22; if you’re heading to downtown San Francisco, you can expect to pay $4.70 from SFO, or $2.85 from Oakland airport. There are a variety of van services operating between SFO and downtown San Francisco; prices range from $10 to $17 per person. Super Shuttle rates from the Oakland airport to San Francisco start at $25. You’ll pay $29 to $44 for your trip from SFO to downtown, plus a $2 exit charge for trips from the airport.
    Washington, D.C.:
    Baltimore
    Dulles
    National
    Metro fares between National and downtown locations start at $1.20 during off-peak hours. Buses are available to/from Baltimore and Dulles, or you can take Amtrak or Metrorail from Baltimore to D.C. Super Shuttle operates to and from all three Washington airports. Prices start at $22 from Dulles, and vary by destination zip code from Baltimore and National. Taxi rides to downtown Washington start at $9 from National, $44 from Dulles, and $55 from Baltimore, not including additional fees.

    Another option

    Many airport hotels offer complimentary courtesy shuttles to and from the terminal. If you’re only spending one night in town or have an early morning flight, paying a low rate at an airport hotel and taking advantage of the free shuttle service can help keep both your lodging and transportation bills down.

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