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Landing First time in USA – Airport to Home/Hotel ? Taxi, Bus, or Airport Shuttle ?

If you have not traveled internationally and traveling to America for the first time by yourself and especially, if you do NOT have anyone to pick you up from airport like in F1 Visa – Airport Pick options by university,  you might have many doubts like how would I get to Hotel or Home from Airport, what are my options, etc. This article will focus on helping you address that concern.

Do Homework – Find out options to Travel from Airport to City

If you are going to land in America on your own, without any help from your employer or friends, you need to do some homework. It does not take much effort, just search on the internet (Google) on options to Travel from Airport to City.

The Airport Website : You can check the website of the airport you are landing in on various options to travel from Airport to City.  If the website is not clear, just search on the internet. You would most likely have all or some of the below choices

  • Airport Taxi :  Every airport would have this option, but this would be the most expensive option for you to go to hotel or home. This is your first and maybe last resort.  Never go to the counters inside the airport, where they will have limo and other fancy taxi operators, they will just price you very high and you lose money. If you have to take a taxi, ask for the general Taxi Stand, and you can go there to pick up a taxi. It will be much cheaper.  They will use meter, just go by meter.
  • Airport Shuttle of Hotel  : If you are going to stay in a hotel, check with the hotel, if they have an airport to Hotel Shuttle provided by the Hotel. Good hotels offer this service, it will be complimentary or paid. Verify it, if it is NOT complimentary do NOT take it, it will be expensive. You are better off taking a regular taxi or taking the general Airport Shuttle Service.
  • General Airport Shuttle service  :  If you are staying  in a hotel and the hotel is not giving any complimentary shuttle, your next bet is look for the General Airport shuttle. Many airport have this service, they will pick up about 20 to 30 passengers in a small bus or shuttle van and take you the respective hotel. It will be very  cheap. In Orlando, we ended up getting from Airport to Hotel using a shuttle like this for $20, which is very cheap.  Check the airport website or in general search on internet for Airport Shuttle services.
  • Train Service :  Depending on the city you are landing in, there would be a train service from Airport to different parts of the city. The service would be named differently depending on the city like AMTrack , Transit Authority, Subway, etc.  This would be the better choice to take the train service from Airport to the City center or the nearest station to your hotel or Home location. You can take a local taxi from the train station. It will be cheaper. But, the challenge is taking your luggage and managing it. Be careful, it could be difficult, if you are carrying a lot of luggage.
  • Bus Service :  Most of the airport have bus service from Airport to City. You need to find out which bus will reach your location. It is pretty easy, just use Google Maps or similar service, it will tell you. This probably would be the cheapest of all the services, the problem is having a bus to the hotel or route you need to travel to.  Do NOT take this option, if you are going to change buses or your home/hotel is far from bus stop…it is not worth your time.

Ask help of your Employer or Friends

If you are landing in US on a visa, you would have some sort of contact, who is already in US in that place or who can help you with information. Ideally, if you are traveling on H1B visa or L1 Visa, check with your employer, they would suggest you the best option. You can check with your friends or colleagues, they can help you as well.

Word of Advice

In my view, you should take the least complicated option as this is your first time in USA and you are not used to the system. General Taxi or Airport Shuttle is your best bet to avoid complications.  With all the luggage in your hand, it may not be a bad idea to pay some extra bucks. If you are traveling as a group of people, you can explore the above options as you would have people to help each other…

What was your experience, landing in America for the first time ?  How did you get to home or hotel ? 


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  2. Good article,

    I personally always check out with Google Maps. There you can let them to find public transportation from A to B. So I always use public transport for price issues.

    You can find that f.e. from airport JFK it will take: 1) airtrain, 2) subway F, 3) subway A to get you to the center of the city and then 4) subway C to get you to the hotel.
    Then the only thing you need to do is to ask locals for help. Americans are very nice people and will advice you. It’s not recommended to travel with a huge luggage after 10PM. The streets can be dangerous by the time.

    • we went to new York on site seeing. We used the general shuttle to go to the hotel after searching in web. As we were 3 in number, it would have been better to have engaged a taxi. We had to search for the area and to make the call then the shuttle appeared and it waited for other passengers and dropped one by one to the hotels.


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