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Forget It. I’m Booking a Limo Instead of a Taxi.

  August 22

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booking a limo instead of a taxiThe following is a guest post from fellow personal finance blogger Femme Frugality. If you are interested in guest posting on Budget Blonde, please e-mail me at Cat [at] BudgetBlonde [dot] com.

Booking a Limo Instead of a Taxi

I love traveling to new places.  The sense of anonymity and the anticipation of adventure is what I live for.

What I don’t live for is smelly taxis with fares that change mid-trip.  What I don’t live for is standing in line for half an hour waiting for one to pull up to the terminal while I disappear behind twenty other people that were on my flight (and that’s if it’s not a busy time at the airport!)

I used to accept all that as a part of travel, until I found this hack: reserving a town car or limo can be just as affordable as getting in a taxi if not more so.

It’s Not Just For Celebrities

When we think of limos or town cars, we think of celebrities, proms, weddings, and CEOs.  We think of hourly rates and huge costs.  There are, however, certain companies that offer airport transportation to hotels and other major attractions at a flat rate, and in a lot of cities that flat rate is either comparable or less than a taxi.

Here are Some Examples:

Let’s say you’re flying into LaGuardia and are trying to get to your hotel in the city.  A cab is going to cost you about $40, while the rental of a town car is about $42.  Only $2 more?  I’d splurge on that luxury!  Pretend you’re going from LAX to a hotel downtown.  A cab costs about $58, while a town car costs about $60.

Sometimes this doesn’t work to your advantage. For instance, if you were to come visit me in my hometown of Pittsburgh (I live in the actual city,) a cab from the airport to my house would be about $40 whereas the town car service would be about $90.  In this case, I’d just call the taxi service ahead of time and ask for a cab to specifically come for you so you don’t have to wait in line.  (Or you could just call me up and ask what kind of friend I am that I’m not even willing to drive out and pick you up at the airport!)

But What about the Limos?

These are the best for people traveling in large groups, whether it be family or a business function.   Say you have 6 people.  That would require at least two taxis depending on how much luggage everyone brought.  Two taxis from LAX are going to cost you about $58/piece, or $116 total.  Or, you could get a stretch limo for $135, have leg room and luxury, and only pay about $22/each, which is a $3 increase per person.  If you have a group of 10 at LaGuardia, you’d be getting at least three taxis for a total of $120, or you could share a stretch limo for $127 and pay $0.70 more per person to get that extra feeling of luxury, not have to wait in that taxi queue, and all arrive at your destination at the same time.

Depending on the city, you might as well ride in style.  So, d0 some research before you go and you could have a lot more fun on that post-flight trip to the hotel.

Let’s pop the bubbly and enjoy.

Femme Frugality writes awesome money saving advice for students, parents, brides, and Pittsburghers.

Editors Note: Thanks so much for the great post F.F.! I would have never thought reserving something as swanky as a limo or town car could actually be affordable!

Readers, have you ever ridden in a limo? Would you ever book one to pick you up from the airport?

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons

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39 responses to “Forget It. I’m Booking a Limo Instead of a Taxi.

  1. I’ve never thought about looking up cab fares before travel. Do you just google or is there a specific resource you recommend for comparing fares?

  2. I was traveling for work once into a smaller airport and my final destination was another 100 miles away. The shuttle I had booked didn’t run that late, and all the rental car agencies would be closed when I landed. I had to choose between a cab or a town car – town car was much cheaper! And when it showed up, it was actually a limo. The town cars all being otherwise occupied that night. So I arrived in style, and had a fun time explaining the charge for the limo when I submitted my receipts for reimbursement. =)

  3. In DC, Uber flat rates to Dulles (IAD) airport are basically the same price as taxis and much more comfortable and reliable. I’ve never thought about calling the car services directly, though it would make sense that it might be cheaper… cutting out the middle man and all?

  4. Interesting. I don’t travel enough to know about this kind of stuff. Most of the time there is a free shuttle to the place we’re staying when we travel, but that’s probably because we’re in a more exotic location. I would totally upgrade if it was just a few bucks more.

    1. That’s really great…free and direct! I’ve taken buses before when I’m in locations like that, but that’s only because they were charging for the shuttle.

  5. wow, I didn´t know the price difference was that low!
    I´ve never been in a limo, not sure if I ever will.. perhaps if I go to Las Vegas or something;-) I usually use airport transportation like trains and busses when I travel, as it´s usually only a fraction of the cost of a taxi.

    1. Those are great options. I try to use them when they’re available. Typically in my experience they’re more scarce in the states. 🙁 Hope you make it to Vegas someday!

  6. I never would have thought that getting a town car or limo could work out much the same price if there’s a group of you. I definitely would prefer the luxury option! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Whenever I went to conferences in LA with some fellow ministry people, we would always get a towncar or limo to take us to the airport and back. It’s way more convenient than waiting for 5 different taxis to pick us all up!

  8. Sadly, I’ve never been on a limo before. All my bosses book town cars for their trips though. Their fare is pretty high – between $120 – $140 for two people, and they aren’t going *too* far. Whenever I go to the city it’s insane how many people are gathering about for a taxi. It feels nice just walking away; I’m sure booking ahead of time allows for a more relaxing start of your trip.

    1. Sounds like irresponsible corporate spending! Hourly rates can get out of hand, but there are some companies that do to/from type pricing…you should check it out! It’s a fun experience.

  9. I love this. Sometimes in being frugal I try to just do the cheapest thing, but most of the time I have this mentality. Searching for the best deal and looking up different options. If one is so much more enjoyable than the other and I can afford the small increase in price, why not? As long as “Why not?” doesn’t become something I say every single time.

    1. Absolutely. $0.70 to $3 isn’t likely to break anyone’s budget. But the “Why not?” mentality has to be used responsibly or it could turn into a slippery slope!

  10. IT is crazy how expensive car service can be. This even extends into parkiing… I found out that for a 4-5 day weekend trip, it’s actually cheaper round trip or about close to the same price to drive an park at LGA or JFK vs. taking a car service. I’d rather have the convenience of my own car waiting for me at the airport!

  11. Hi Femme Frugality,
    I’d never really considered a limo or a town car but the next time we’re in need, I’ll do some comparison shopping. Nice tip.

    Oh, and I grew up in the South Hills (Bethel Park)…always nice to see another yinzer in the PF world. Cheers!

    1. No freaking way! I have a family member that lives out in those parts nowadays! We’re in the city for right now, but we’re thinking about moving to another school district. Let’s go bucs!

  12. This is actually really interesting and would have never thought about this! In Romania, especially for foreigners, taxi rates can change multiple times during a ride if you’re unlucky, so having a set fee ride makes a lot of sense. And indeed, sometimes an extra price for comfort is totally worth it.

    Me, for example, I travel a lot by train in Romania and it was always economy class. Trains in Romania are pretty crappy, air conditioning is not working well, they are crowded, there’s a funny smell and it was always a pretty bad experience for me. Last time I decided to pay 8 extra bucks (yes, 8!) to upgrade my ticket to first class and guess what: I got a lot of extra leg space, air conditioning was working, there was no funny smell and I arrived at my destination 5 hours later fresh and happy. It was totally worth it!

  13. Hi FF,

    Great idea. I’m guessing that shuttle buses would usually be cheaper, but if they are not running (or there is a large group as you say) this is definitely worth considering.

    Not even my level of frugality (tightness) would stop me paying an extra $0.70 for a limo!! 🙂

    1. Two things about shuttles, because you’re right…they are cheaper and I take advantage every time I have a chance. The first thing is that I sometimes fly at really weird times so I can get awesome ticket prices. The downside to that is that the shuttles seem to take a break at night (at least in the few experiences I’ve had…I’m sure every airport/shuttle service is different.) The second thing is that there’s sometimes, like you said, where you’ll fly to an airport without one, or without one that’s headed to your destination. It’s all about planning before going, I guess. I love Stefanie’s idea for a website that would help people do that easily.

  14. When we worked at a mortuary, they let us use the limo all the time.. When we would fly somewhere for a work conference, they even had someone take us to the airport and back in the limo. I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty nice.

  15. This post is so funny. I work for a nonprofit (read: very limited budget) and we had to book travel for 12 people to and from the airport. Originally we were going to try to get 2-3 taxi vans, but the cost was outrageous, so the company suggested we just book a limo instead. The kids were SO surprised when a swanky white limo pulled up to the high school at 4am to whisk us away on our trip!

    Not only was it more affordable, but it also made an extra-special memory.

  16. Hey, nice article. Hiring a limo can be cheaper than taking multiple taxis. For example airport transfers, with luggage, taking a big limo like the 7 or 13 seater limo is much more worth than multiple taxis. It’s also better to sit in one vehicle with everyone than getting separated.

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