Thursday, June 24, 2010

Travel Question: What are "transfers?"

A very common question keeps coming up so I felt I should do my best to explain what is meant when I or any travel agent includes “transfers” in their vacation package quote.

Whether it is a cruise vacation or a trip to South America or Europe, unless you plan on renting a car while at your destination or driving to the cruise port, you will need a transfer. A transfer is the round trip transportation from your hotel to the port or the airport to your hotel etc. They are a part of the true costs of any trip that has to be factored in and can vary widely in cost.

For example...if you were to be spending the night in Miami the night before your cruise, you could arrange what they call a “shared van transfer” which could cost as little as $10 per person each way. The cost is low due to you sharing that shuttle van with several other people. The benefit is really just the cost. Some shared vans make multiple stops and you may be the first stop out of 4 on its way to the port which means that you may be on the van a while and it can get quite crowded. Shared vans or shuttles also dictate to you when you need to be ready to be picked up at your hotel so you are less in control of your schedule.

Or you could choose to take a “private transfer” which can run as high as $40 or more per person each way depending on the distance. The benefits are that you are more in control of when you want to be picked up and the vehicles tend to be nicer and more comfortable.

Those same classifications of transfers are the same no matter if you are leaving your hotel for your cruise or flying into Mexico or Honolulu or any other land-based destination. You will be able to choose between shared or private transfers. When taking a land-based vacation, something you should consider is whether the shared transfers will make several stops at various resorts along the way to yours. For Cancun, if you are staying down in the Riviera Maya area, your shared shuttle may stop again at 5 resorts and yours may be the very last stop. When that happens, your transfer time can be as long as 45 minutes to an hour once you are in the van. But if you opt for a private transfer, your shuttle time could be as short as 20-30 minutes and much more comfortable. If you are like me, when you arrive at your destination, you are just ready to get there and get your vacation started so you might consider a private transfer the next time you book a vacation.

I hope this short answer helps you better understand what is meant when your travel agent discusses the various “transfer options” that might be available to you. As always, please feel free to ask any question or leave a comment. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

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