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- An airport transfer can get you from the airport to your destination - and back - with the minimum of hassle
- The options you’re offered will depend on your destination and group size
- If available, you'll see a selection of private or shared transfer options to choose from
Your holiday’s all booked and you can’t wait to get to the hotel and ditch your suitcase - but have you given any thought to how you’re going to get from airport to accommodation?
It’s no fun trying to negotiate public transport when you’re exhausted, jetlagged, hot and have a hefty suitcase to grapple with, so booking an airport transfer in advance is a smart move... it could save you time, hassle and money.
Types of airport transfer
You'll have to choose an airport transfer that suits your budget and the size of your group.
Shared airport transfers
The size of the vehicle will vary and includes people carriers and large minibuses. In general, larger vehicles with more people sharing tend to be cheaper per person.
The main drawback of shared airport transfers is that they'll usually take a little longer to get you to your hotel.
Firstly, the transport has to wait for all the booked passengers to collect their luggage, get through the airport and find the transfer bus.
Secondly, there might be a long list of hotels to drop off at, one after the other. That’s not a problem if you’re the first on the list, but if your accommodation’s last you could find it’s quite a?roundabout journey around town.
You’ll be given an idea of the journey time when you book though, and shared transfers are still a pretty efficient way of getting to your hotel, as well as usually being a great money saver.
Did you know...?
- If you're travelling as part of a large group, you might find it's cheaper per person - and a little faster - to book a private minibus transfer
There are two main types of shared transfer:
- Minibus transfer - this is sometimes also called a shared shuttle, or shuttle bus transfer. It'll collect a number of different parties and may stop at several hotels
- Speedy shuttle max four stops - this is also a minibus transfer, but it will only drop off at a maximum of four hotels, so can be quicker
Private airport transfer
If you’re happy to spend a little more, you can be whisked speedily from the arrivals hall to your hotel in a private transfer. This will typically be a taxi or private car, or perhaps a minibus or people carrier for larger groups.
If you’re travelling with a larger group, perhaps of five-to-10 people, you might even find it’s cheaper to book a private transfer rather than a shared transfer, as well as being quicker. For smaller groups it can prove more expensive, as you’ll be paying for any empty seats in the car.
For those who really want to start their holiday in style, it’s possible to book executive transfers and luxury transfers, which will offer you a higher class of vehicle. The most expensive will generally be a chauffeur-driven limo - perfect for that special romantic getaway.
There are three main types of private transfer:
- Luxury vehicle transfer - sometimes also called a private luxury transfer or executive transfer. It'll be for one party only and you'll travel in a high-class vehicle
- Private minibus transfer - instead of booking several private vehicles, larger parties can book a minibus to themselves
- Private transfer - this could be a car, a taxi or a minibus, depending on the size of the party
Advantages of airport transfer
There are lots of good reasons to pre-book an airport transfer:
Worrying about finding a taxi when you touch down can stress you out on your flight - it’s reassuring to know you’ll have a car or bus waiting for you on arrival.
At some destinations, taxis charge an inflated price for picking you up at the airport or dropping you off there.
Pre-booking a transfer means you can know the exact cost and pay for it in advance. It also means you’ll have more chance of finding the most cost-effective vehicle, whether that’s a shared bus for lone travellers or a private car for a family of four.
If you don’t know where you’re going and you’re disoriented by a long flight, booking a transfer means you’ll be dropped off at the door of your hotel, negating the risk of accidentally finding yourself wandering around at night on the wrong side of town.
If you check your vehicle choices in advance you’ll be able to select exactly how you want to travel, whether that’s in style in a private limo, or a bargain seat in a shared shuttle bus.
Finding your transfer at the airport
How you find your transfer will mostly depend on whether you’ve picked a shared or private vehicle.
Drivers for private vehicles will usually wait at the arrivals gate with a notice with your name on it, before showing you the way to their vehicle.
For shared transport like minibuses, you might need to find your way to a pre-agreed meeting point outside the airport building where the bus will be waiting.
Check your booking documents carefully beforehand for instructions on finding your transfer and keep a copy in your hand luggage so you can check it again upon arrival.
On the return leg, your transfer should pick you up at a pre-appointed time from your hotel, but some shared transfers may have arranged a central meeting point instead, so check your documents carefully.