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The Best Way Into the City From 35 of the World’s Biggest Airports

Travel Insider Guides Airports + Flying
by Matthew Meltzer Jan 23, 2019

You know what’s fun after flying halfway across the world on a hot plane with limited legroom and electrical plugs that go out halfway into your pre-downloaded season of Narcos? Trying to figure out the best way to get from a strange airport with signs in another language to your hotel. Should you struggle with your bags to save a few dollars on a train? Or try and find the often-elusive rideshare zone? Or just say eff it and go all backpacker on the bus?

Variables like the size of your group, how much time you have, and whether or not you’re on an expense account go into making this decision. But to help you along the way, MyVoucherCodes found the average travel times and costs of taxis, buses, rideshares, and trains at 35 of the world’s biggest airports, then ranked them all by ease of travel. We took a look at those numbers and, in the name of making your post-flight life a little easier, found the best options for transfers from all of them.

1. New York — JFK
Best option: Train — 50 minutes, $7.57

Much like with pizza, bagels, and… pretty much everything else in New York, the train system is painfully overrated, only finding its way to JFK a few years ago. That said, it’s far and away the best way to get into Manhattan as the fastest AND cheapest method. Taxis and rideshares take an hour, costing between $50 and $72, respectively. And the bus will take you an hour and a half in traffic.

2. Bangkok — Suvarnabhumi
Best option: Train — 30 minutes, $1.34

This train may not be fast, but driving into the city center from Suvarnabhumi Airport takes 45 minutes on a good day. Though the ride will cost you fewer than $7, it’s still about 15 minutes slower than the train, and may or may not include the slightly terrifying experience of having mopeds dart in front of you every 50 feet like they have a deathwish.

3. Chicago — O’Hare
Best option: Train — 45 minutes, $4.89

The ride on the blue line into the Windy City can be interminable and cold, but it’s still faster than navigating the car-filled expressways. Taxis and rideshares will take the same amount of time to the city center even in minimal traffic, costing $34 and $48 respectively. And it can take literally hours on a bad day. The CTA bus is your cheapest option at $2.20 but literally takes twice as long. And in the winter it’s one of the more miserable public transportation experiences in America.

4. London — Heathrow
Best option: Train — 50 minutes, $9

Heathrow is a bit of an exception to this matrix because if you’re willing to spend the $30 or so to take the Express train into London you can get there in 15 minutes. It’s still a far better deal than taxis and rideshares, which run $56 and $41, respectively. The London Underground — the train we’re referring to here — is slightly faster than the 55-minute shuttle bus. Plus it gives you the fun of giggling every time they say “Cockfosters.”

5. Singapore — Changi
Best option: Taxi — 30 minutes, $21.29

If you’re going to Singapore, chances are you’re not scraping by on backpacker money, which is why despite costing a full $20 more than the train, the time savings of a taxi make it the clear cut winner. You’ll get from Changi Airport to the city center in less than half the 66 minutes the train ride takes, and at just over $20, it’s not an enormous price for that kind of efficiency.

6. Dubai
Best option: Rideshare — 46 minutes, $18.64

Though riding Dubai’s futuristic metro system is a must on any visit — especially into the area around the Burj Khalifa — after a long flight it’s an experience best left for morning. The train won’t usually take you right to your hotel, necessitating another taxi or rideshare. And at under $20, the door-to-door rideshare option is easy and efficient. Taxis run around $35, however, so the train may still be a better option.

7. Toronto — Pearson
Best option: Train — 25 minutes, $9.11

The relatively new UPExpress train has changed the way Torontonians travel. Once they lowered the price, that is. It’s far and away the most efficient way of making the long 19-mile haul from Pearson into the city, which is a 42-minute ride that costs $55 in a taxi and $30 in a rideshare.

8. Paris — Charles De Gaulle
Best option: Train — 35 minutes, $12.59

CDG sits nearly 20 miles from the city of Paris, and though MyVoucherCodes put the drive at an average of 40 minutes, trips over an hour aren’t at all unusual. The train trip isn’t much better, clocking in at nearly the same amount of time. But it’s less than 25 percent of the $55 a taxi or rideshare will cost you, and it’s far less susceptible to traffic jams.

9. Rome — Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino
Best option: Train — 30 minutes, $12.15

The adventure that is riding with an Italian cab driver isn’t always the best way to start off your Roman holiday. Or at the very least it’s best left for once you’ve gotten into the city. Taxis from FCO to the center cost about $44 for a 40-minute trip, nearly double the cost of a rideshare.

10. Istanbul — Ataturk
Best option: Taxi — 45 minutes, $12.15

Istanbul’s train is a fantastic bargain at only 89 cents per ride, but when measured against the aggravation of hoisting your bags, finding the train line, and getting from a stop to your hotel, it’s hardly worth the $11 difference to save five minutes. Especially if your group has multiple people. The traditional taxi takes only 45 minutes to cover 14 miles and is over $7 cheaper than a rideshare.

11. Hong Kong
Best option: Train — 24 minutes, $13.73

Close call in Hong Kong as rideshares take only half an hour and typically cost under $30. If you’ve got more than one person, they’re probably the best option, but traveling solo, the train still gets you the 19 miles to the city six minutes faster. Taxis, however, can top $50 and are best to be avoided.

12. Dublin
Best option: Bus — 30 minutes, $6.63

Admittedly, there is a special novelty to riding in a cab that drives on the left side of the road. That novelty is not worth $34 and 10 extra minutes in traffic, however. The Airlink Bus — aka Route 747 — takes 30-40 minutes, stopping at the Busaras bus station, O’Connell Street in the city center, and the Heuston train station. Rideshares are an even worse deal than taxis, charging over $60 — or nearly 10 times the cost of the bus.

13. Prague — Václav Havel
Best option: Taxi — 38 minutes, $3.40

Since Prague is one of the most affordable capitals in Europe, getting from Vaclav Havel airport to the city center is astoundingly cheap whether you opt for a bus, taxi, or train. The train is a fat 85 cents cheaper and saves you 13 minutes over a taxi ride, but that time and money likely get eaten up getting from the station to your hotel. Opt for the taxi here, as rideshares average $16, a 500 percent markup for the fun of getting a ride from your phone.

14. Oslo
Best option: Train — $21.83

It’s not even a small exaggeration to say you’ll spend more on a rideshare from the Oslo airport than you did on that dirt-cheap Norwegian Airlines fare to get there. A ride into the city costs a whopping $164.27 via rideshare, making the $81 cab fare seem like a downright bargain. Do yourself a favor and skip them both, as even the bus takes only two minutes longer than a car and costs only $20.

15. Budapest — Ferenc Liszt
Best option: Bus — 35 minutes, $3.09

Eastern Europe has its old-world, untouched charms to be sure. The downside to that “rustic” charm, however, is that some places are a little behind the rest of the continent. Take Budapest, where Ferenc Liszt International doesn’t have a train nor does it have rideshares. With a taxi ride costing almost $25 for the same 35-minute trip, the bus is easily your best bet.

16. San Francisco
Best option: Train — 30 minutes, $9.44

The sticker shock of a $10 ride on public transportation is a nice “Welcome to San Francisco” for Americans used to hopping on the local light rail for $2. But it’s a far more palatable welcome than the $47.74 you’ll get in a taxi. Rideshares here aren’t a bad option if you’re in a hurry or have multiple people, running under $30 for a 28-minute trip. That’s assuming no traffic on the 101 North, though, which is kinda like assuming your plane won’t be delayed by fog.

17. Zagreb — Franjo Tuđman
Best option: Taxi — 28 minutes, $16.60

Check the rideshare prices when you arrive in Zagreb, Croatia, since the average isn’t much more than a taxi at $17.98 and may sometimes be cheaper. The airport doesn’t have a train (there’s that Eastern European charm again) but if you’re traveling solo on a tight budget — or think transportation money is better spent on beer — the train is only $4.46 and takes 40 minutes.

18. Las Vegas — McCarran
Best option: Rideshare — 21 minutes, $15.59

You’re going to drop a ton of cash in Vegas anyway, no need to start at the baggage claim. Literally, since the rideshare zone is a long walk through the hot desert sun to a garage across the street. It’s worth the walk, though, since cabs to the strip can run $50, there’s no train, and bus rides should really be left for your hungover, defeated trip home.

19. Helsinki
Best option: Train — 30 minutes, $6.08

Like its Scandinavian neighbors, nothing in Finland in cheap, an especially obvious fact when you learn taxis and rideshares run around $55 to cover the dozen miles from HEL to the city center. They may be five minutes faster than the train, but unless you’re in a massive hurry and the company is paying, you might even be better off taking the 45-minute bus ride for $7.51.

20. Orlando
Best option: Rideshare — 26 minutes, $25.05

Orlando is an interesting airport to analyze since most people arriving here aren’t going anywhere near the city center. Assuming you’re here to see the Mouse, your best option is to rent a car. But if you’re not up for dealing with Florida drivers on your trip to the happiest place on Earth, you’ll still need to get a taxi or rideshare. Orlando has no train to the airport, and though the bus is cheap do you really wanna ride a public bus with two kids screaming, “When do we see Mickey????”

21. Berlin — Brandenburg
Best option: Bus — 37 minutes, $3.09

You may be shocked to learn the famously efficient Germans don’t have a train to their most tourist-popular airport. Once you’ve recovered from this pain, in true Berlin underground fashion, the city hits you again with the pain of a seven-mile taxi that costs $28.70. Then AGAIN with rideshares at $35. Whew… ok that was intense. Anyway, the 25-minute car rides save you 12 minutes over the bus, so if you’re in a hurry to get to said Berlin underground, or are doing it with a group, a taxi might still be your best bet.

22. Krakow — John Paul II
Best option: Rideshare — 28 minutes, $9

Krakow, Poland, is nothing if not consistent as the 6.8-mile trip from John Paul II Airport to the city center takes between 26-28 minutes regardless of how you go. Rideshares run a couple dollars cheaper than taxis though during a price surge taxis will be better. The train and bus are delightfully cheap as well at $2.31 and $1.02, respectively. But with door-to-door service only a little extra, you may as well splurge.

23. Stockholm — Arlanda
Best option: Bus — 45 minutes, $10.65

Stockholm is like the Mrs. Robinson of airport transfers; any way you look at it, you lose. The bus is the only method that’s not making you post-date your rent check at $10.65 a ride, but it takes over twice as long as a 20-minute train ride. Taxis and rideshares hover around $60, so if you’ve got two people, that’s probably the best move. Traveling solo, the bus wins out based on cost alone, though you’ll probably blow that savings the first time you order a beer.

24. Los Angeles
Best option: Rideshare — 23 minutes, $27.27

Either the good people at MyVoucherCodes haven’t spent a good deal of time driving through Los Angeles, or they consider LA’s “city center” to be the 405 onramp at Olympic Boulevard. Though a 23-minute trip from LAX to downtown is laughable, and rideshares are a confusing, soul-crippling fustercluck, they are STILL the best way to get wherever it is you need to go in the City of Angels. Cabs run twice as much, the train hasn’t made it to the airport yet, and unless Sandra Bullock is driving, LA city buses don’t move too fast.

25. Edinburgh
Best option: Bus — 30 minutes, $5.63

Perhaps if you’ve got a whole troupe of fringe theater performers, a rideshare might be a better option as it’s still a reasonable $25 for a 25-minute ride — almost half what a taxi costs. That said, the bus is only an additional five minutes and saves you about $20, and with no train option, it makes the best sense.

26. Barcelona — El Prat
Best option: Train — 20 minutes, $4.64

If you’re going on a cruise or anywhere other than the traditional tourist hotspots, you may want to look into a taxi as they’re cheaper than rideshares and offer better precision than the train. That said, the train takes you within a short ride of pretty much anywhere in the city for less than $5, and even with a group of three to four people, it’s the more economical option. Even the Airport Aerobus — at about $6.50 — costs more and takes 35 minutes.

27. Vienna
Best option: Train — 15 minutes, $4.53

You know who makes the Germans look about as organized as a Caribbean police station? Austria, which managed to create a train that takes you from Vienna International to the city center in just over 15 minutes. That’s 10 minutes faster than any taxi, rideshare, or other automobile that’ll take 25 minutes in light traffic. And charge you $35 for the pleasure.

28. Miami
Best option: Rideshare — 17 minutes, $18.44

Miami is another interesting case, as ostensibly the Metrorail would be the best option at a scant $2.20 for a 15-minute ride downtown. The problem is, who goes to Miami to go downtown? So while the train is best if you’re a lawyer or want to hit a Heat game during a layover, a rideshare will be the best way to get you to the beach. It’s typically half the cost of a cab, and in a city where the busses are about as reliable as the local politicians, it’s the best way to get around.

29. Brussels
Best option: Train — 17 minutes, $9.94

Brussels transportation covers the 13 miles between the airport and the city better than almost anywhere in the world, where even plodding city buses get you into town in half an hour for $3.31. Though the train is triple the cost for only half the time, the difference between speeding on a train and stopping every three blocks on a bus is worth $6. Not worth it, however, is the nearly $50, 26-minute ride in a taxi. Or the $35 option in a rideshare.

30. Copenhagen — Kastrup
Best option: Train — 15 minutes, $5.61

Though not as jaw-droppingly expensive as taxi rides in the rest of Scandinavia, a 20-minute ride from CPH to anywhere near Tivoli Gardens is still costing you $37. The train is actually five minutes faster and costs one-seventh the price. Copenhagen doesn’t have rideshares, which might be part of why taxi prices are so high.

31. Boston — Logan
Best option: Rideshare — 12 minutes, $12.88

The Big Dig may have royally screwed Boston traffic for years, but now that it’s over, the Ted Williams tunnel makes for a quick, efficient trip out to Logan. Far more efficient than the T, which runs 35 minutes. You should also check rideshare prices when you arrive, as if you show up on Sunday right after yet ANOTHER last-second Tom Brady drive to glory, surge pricing might make taxis cheaper. Though you’ll still have to listen to the driver talk about the Patriots.

32. Lisbon — Portela
Best option: Rideshare — 16 minutes, $13.25

Lisbon might have the best-situated airport of any European capital, a brief 3.5 miles from the city center and a less-than-10-minute ride if you’re trying to catch an early morning flight. The 25-minute train ride might be cheaper at $1.55, but for 12 bucks, the extra time you’ll get in the city and reduced aggravation is absolutely worth the rideshare.

33. Amsterdam — Schiphol
Best option: Train — 17 minutes, $4.75

Once you get into Amsterdam, you’re almost always best to traverse this city by bicycle. Just not from the airport. Since the city is expensive, you’ve gotta save everywhere, and the extra two minutes a train takes versus a taxi or rideshare is minuscule compared to the $30-$40 difference in price. Taxis run about $43 and rideshares $35, and the bus, though about 15 minutes slower than the train, is still somehow more expensive.

34. Sydney
Best option: Train — 13 minutes, $13.29

The train into Sydney is both faster and cheaper than any automotive option and gives you the added bonus of getting to ride upstairs on a double-decker train! Even if your inner five-year-old isn’t leaping at this opportunity, your inner broke-ass-23-year-old will be because the ride costs about a third of a taxi or rideshare. And allows you to sit back and listen to dozens of sexy Australian accents the whole ride in.

35. Geneva
Best option: Train — 7 minutes, FREE

Switzerland might be the most painfully expensive place to visit in the world, but one thing the Swiss don’t hose you on is public transportation. If you stay at a hotel, hostel or campsite (see: NOT Airbnb) you get a free Geneva Transport Card, which lets you ride the trains and buses at no cost. Yes, your lunch of tomato soup and water will still cost $28, but at least you didn’t have to pay for your ride to get it. Take the victories where you can.

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