One of the challenges for the travellers is the transfer from the airport to the hotel. It depends on the place and on the country, but in the main cities there are many options and it can be difficult to choose the proper one. It is not a matter of price, even if it counts. Buses and trains are cheaper but they have a lot of stops and they are not going directly to your destination. There are some exceptions, as it happens for example in Budapest where you can go on a minibus that does a tour of the hotels, according to the passenger needs.
The taxi is a good option to go faster, but if you are a tourist and you are not prepared in some cases the driver can cheat on the price. It happens also to find fake taxidrivers. The best solution? I do not have the answer but in many cases I use the rent with driver. It is not always convenient, it depends on the city, but in most of the cases is the faster option with a well proportioned cost.
When I visit a new place I check on internet the transfer options via airport website, if available the dedicated section. Especially I search about the rates in order to not waste money. I mean I like luxury and I am available to spend more for a good service, but not to spend more than what is normal according to the country that I am going to visit. Often I travel for work reasons and I need to save time and to go directly to my destination. That is why I try the fastest solution and also to move with comfort.
What are the options? Call the hotel booked and ask for a transfer from the airport, in case you did not get a complimentary one included in your room rate. Generally hotels have their own cars or they have deals with some agencies. The cost is higher than a direct booking with those service providers. This procedure will cost you around 30% more.
With a taxi you have the direct connection with your hotel, but the driver can choose a longer way to get more money and the risk is to find a fake taxi that will cost even more. It is not valid every where because there are honest people and also in some places the rates are not so higher and there are not different alternatives to be fast and to have a comfortable trip from the airport.
Private car with driver
If you have a bit of time to organize your transfer (I suggest you to find it) you can search the agencies that rent cars with drivers. They have luxury car and fixed prices according to the trips. To connect the city with the local airport there are usually competitive prices, meanwhile to go in different cities the cost can be quite high. Anyway it is a luxury transfer and you need to keep it into consideration.
It is not hard to find the various transfer service providers online, in some cases there are already showed the rates, otherwise you can ask via phone or email. It is a good idea to contact directly the agencies, so you can compare the offers. I suggest you also to ask precisely what type of car they will send to pick up you, because there are companies that use not huge and luxury car but they ask the same price of who is going to send Mercedes Class E or S, Bmw and so on. For an higher prices it is available also Rolls Royce.
The advantages of the rent with driver compare with a simple cab are:
- a fixed price that does not change in case of some road traffic or deviation;
- the driver waits for you at the arrivals;
- the car is comfortable and clean, also inside;
- the driver already know the destination and he or she already planned the best way, according to the road works and to the traffic, to arrive to your hotel;
- especially in summer and in most of the cases but not all, there is a fresh bottle of water waiting for you on the car, so you can drink during the transfer.
Of course it is always good to check and then to evaluate the service, so if you will be back in the same city or you are using some company that is present in more cities and countries you know if you can call it again or search another one.
Just to give you a better idea on how it works I write some examples of what happened to me in years of travel. There are also some tips related to the transfers in some cities that I visited in recent time. Starting from Italy I can say that in Rome: the cost of a car with driver from the airport is the same of a taxi, but you can have more comfort and the driver waits for you at arrivals. The company that I chosen for my trips generally call me via phone when I land and we find a meeting point to be fast.
In the Italian capital the distance from the airport to the city centre requires around 45 minutes by car and the cost of the ride on the luxury car is about 45-50 euro. With the taxi you can even spend more, also because it is necessary to add a fee to carry the luggage. The situation is different among the cities, infact in Naples you can find a similar offer, also if the airport is about 20-30 minutes far from the centre. Anyway the rent with driver cost generally 40-50% more than a taxi.
Of course you have advantages, but it can be a bit much. If you choose the taxi in Naples do not forget to choose the fixed rate. The taxidriver always ask to you and it is better than to use the taximeter because he can prefer a longer way. The price from the airport to the centre is around 20-25 euro. If they ask more it is wrong. Keep in mind that they usually ask a couple of euro as tip, it is not mandatory, but it is up to you.
If you go to Sofia, Bulgaria, you will find as it happens in many places, a lot of people ready to offer you a ride, but they are fake taxi. So at arrivals you can directly go to the taxi reception. A girl will ask you the main information and she will give you a code and you can go out and find your taxi ready and especially legal. In Tirana, Albania, there are some companies at the airport, as Avis, that provide cars with driver.
The same in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, with some local companies. If you go to Bucharest there is, like in London, the black cab, the taxi company with luxury cars available for the transfers from the airport and as well to take people around the city. It costs more than a taxi but it offers a very professional service, with more clean cars and well equipped.
These are just few example on how you can move with rent with driver around Europe, but anyway I suggest you to check before to leave. In Turkey for instance in the airport managed by TAV offer different services, included the transfer. It works very well and they operate with huge Mercedes and BMW with professional drivers and they also proposed the transfer perfectly coordinated with the meet and greet service inside their airports, starting from Istanbul. There is also the option with the speedboat for the transfer via sea.
The evaluation of the service
How to evaluate the transfer service? This is the last question that can help you to choose the best company. First of all it is important to check how fast they are in answer to the request. Also it is possible to verify the information, if it is complete, and as well the courtesy used. The it comes the way to book, you control if it is easy or not. Naturally comparing the services you have the chance to check the price according to the service proposed.
After the first contact you can evaluate the transfer answering to these questions: was easy to find the driver? Was she or he on time? How was the car in term of comfort and cleaning? Was the driver kind? Did you arrive at destination without problems? The questions are covering the main elements that you need to consider to decide if the service was good and if you will use it again calling the same provider.
I had the chance to use different transfer services in Italy and abroad and always I use those questions to make a check and select the best ones. Going to the conclusions I want to make a couple of examples more. Once in Rome a driver during the trip from the airport started to talk about a person, telling me name and surname, who had bad habits. He told me almost everything about the trips of that guy, for 40 minutes… Well better have another driver, don’t you think so?
In New York I had a tour of the city in a limousine and after that the driver proposed to me to follow my movements for all my stay for a better price. He wanted to deceive the company and he sent me a friend of him. It was impossible to meet each other on time and in the place where I needed. The service was the worst one. This happens especially when you don’t need only a transfer, but a car with driver to go around in the city, so be careful when you say yes to a better price with a sub-agreement.