Skip to Content

Top 5 Most Creative Ways to Get to the Airport on a Budget

In Luang Prabang in northern Laos, you can take a moto-rickshaw to the airport (photo: Dave Lee)

In Luang Prabang in northern Laos, you can take a moto-rickshaw to the airport (photo: Dave Lee)

I'm often surprised by how easy airports make everything. It can be your first time in an enormous airport and finding your way to the gate won't be that bad.

They're set up in a way that facilitates the traveling experience. I am someone who takes advantage of this and doesn't expect delays or loss of luggage.

This could be because when planning a trip, we often get so excited about our destination, we leave the question of how to get to and from the airport for last.

“They'll have plenty of options,” and “I'll find transportation it's not a big deal,” we'll think.

We might not consider the amount of money we'll have spent at the end of our trip on, say, delicious food or elaborate necklaces that, let's face it, we'll never wear.

So, what if you're on a budget? Suddenly, the possibility of airport transportation digging a hole in your pocket on the way is a very real, worry. But worry not, here are five creative ways to get to the airport on a budget.

1. See if a Couchsurfing host or friend can meet you

If you're into Couchsurfing, or happen to be staying with a friend you've met in the course of your travels, see if it'd be convenient for he/she to pick you up at the airport.

During Dave's 2007-2009 trip around the world, his Couchsurfing host in Tahiti greeted him at the airport.

Later on the same trip, a South African friend he made in Koh Phangan, Thailand met him at the Cape Town airport and gave him a ride to The Backpack, a hostel he recommended.

Not only are these scenarios free, but you'll have some quality time to catch up during the trip.

2. Use the shuttle provided by a hostel

This one is not “last-minute” and not always available. However, some hostels offer airport shuttle transfers for free, or if you're staying a minimum number of nights.

This could mean that you're staying in a neighborhood you didn't plan on staying in, like a more touristy area, and that you'll have to have this detail sorted out before you even land in the city.

3. Ride local-style on a moto-taxi

See what the locals do that's within your budget. That could include a taxi-style motorcycle or “moto-taxi” offered in many countries, such as Thailand.

These taxis are less conventional than the cars, but can be a real thrill. Hop into the backseat of a motorcycle, and have an eccentric ride to your flight.

4. Gather other travelers and make luxury affordable

If you're all about simplicity and quick execution, ask around at your hostel to see who's heading to the airport when you are and book Blacklane's airport transfer service together.

They have luxury vans and SUV's to accommodate up to five passengers with their bags, allowing you a chance at a comfortable ride on a budget.

Blacklane is available in over 180 cities around the world. Unlike other services, you can book ahead and schedule a day and time when you'd like to be picked up. You can also choose the car that best fits your crew and budget.

Trip planning can be hectic, so they'll remind you on the day of your flight via e-mail and SMS.

5. Take the train

Some cities, like Vancouver and Tokyo, have an airport train station that connects directly to the train/subway/buses in the metro area. This makes going to and from the airport simpler and more affordable.

You'll have to remember to plan ahead as waiting times and train schedules could delay your arrival. City maps will usually help you when finding of the correct stations and transfers.

With these tips, suddenly you won't feel so bad about the eccentric souvenirs you purchased; you'll soon be on your way home.


This story was brought to you by Blacklane.

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends: