Don’t Get Taken For a Ride: The Skinny on Airport Transfers

Updated: Oct 10th, 2016

You’ve  finally landed – and then been violated by a customs machine…..what’s next?

You run the Timeshare Gauntlet……and then push through the airport doors out into that warm, humid vacation air….

Damn…..I love that…..

The next thing you realize is that you are staring into a sea of faces and waving signs.

What do you do?

The DO’s and DON’T’s

First, the Don’ts:

  • DON’T – worry if your flight was delayed – Transfer companies monitor all flights and will know about your delay – you don’t have to do anything.**

Now, the DO’s:

  • DO – bring a printout of your transfer confirmation.
  • If your flight was cancelled, DO – contact your Transfer company – they need your new flight number.**
  • DO – reconfirm your RETURN transfer to the airport the day BEFORE you leave – the best way to do this is through the Transfer Company’s on-site representative (most all inclusive resorts have an area in or near the lobby where the transfer and tour companies have desks setup) BUT they often have limited hours – check when you arrive what their hours are, and be sure to reconfirm your departure during those hours.

**Transfer companies adjust their schedule to your arrival.

Recap:  Your Transfer van and driver is located OUTSIDE of the airport – you must run the gauntlet of timeshare sharks ‘vacation club’ sales reps who are INSIDE the airport, their job is to waylay you by pretending to be who you’re looking for (yes, they are very aggressive and will work hard to convince you that ‘they’ are your transfer company – damn liars! it’s not true!)…….just ignore them and keep going!

Your driver will be looking for you, but pay attention to their shirts – if you don’t see someone wearing the logo of your transfer company on their shirt, go to the information desk in your pickup area and ask where your transfer company parks their vans. The transfer information rep is generally multi-lingual and will help.

Pssst – the REAL reason they like to take you back three hours early? Sure, it’s true that often the lines to get through security can be long, but really it’s so you have time to spend some money in the Duty Free shop!

Tell us about YOUR airport transfer experience!

About Jake Johnson 172 Articles
Jake Johnson is a full-time travel bum, who prefers warm climates where the women wear less clothing. We've tried to teach him things like manners and diplomacy, but we've given up and simply rely on our editors to remove the most offensive bits from his articles. We take no responsibility for his inane ramblings opinions - they are his own.


  1. Well, my experience with ground transport in Mexico is next to nothing, so I am relying on my all-inclusive resort that I have booked with to provide me with that. However, I do have a question about tipping the driver. Should that be done when I arrive or is it added to my overall bill? If I tip, do I do so with local currency or US dollars? I always feel it’s best to pay for service when the service is rendered. Do you agree?

    • Yup….I agree…..
      Tip your driver in USD after he unloads your bags (at either the hotel or the airport). $1 or $2 per bag is adequate. Transfers, for almost all resorts, are provided by outside contractors so they don’t share in the tips the resorts provide to their staff. So they appreciate your generosity.

  2. I know this question has nothing to do with airport to resort transportation but, do you know are there scheduled transports or buses from the resorts to local areas for shopping and site seeing?

    • Yes, a quality all inclusive resort will have transportation to shopping and sightseeing.

      The cost and convenience depends on where your resort is located. If you are in a downtown resort (like in Cancun/Cabo etc) and your resort is on the bus route then you can ride the bus for a very small fee (like 50 cents).

      If you are not on a bus route then you can always grab a cab.

      When you check in, go to the Concierge Desk and get the skinny on the best way to get around.

      For a small tip they have the inside scoop on everything ….. :-)

  3. Have you found the cab drivers to be knowledgable about the area and able to converse in English? Would it be safe as a woman to go shopping on my own, using a cab?

    • Hi Shelly,
      Yes, the cab drivers are some of the most knowledgeable people you can speak with…..they hear it all….the Good, the Bad and the especially the Ugly.

      Do cab drivers speak English…….Some do…….but most will only catch part of what you say……So speak slowly and use proper English…….you will lose them if you start throwing slang their way or speak very fast.

      And your final question……Is it safe for a woman to jump in a cab to go shopping alone?……Hmmm…….You did not specify if it was day or night……My opinion is you are safe 99% of the time during the day…….I would never suggest you cab alone in any city in the world at night unless you know the cabbie. Why don’t you head to the bar, make a friend and take them shopping with you…..

  4. Thanks for the reply. I like your idea about making a friend and taking them shopping. It’s always more fun to shop with someone.

  5. Hi, I have a question along Shelly’s line about the cabs. I’m traveling with my family of 5, my mom, dad and two sisters. We prefer cabs to buses. Are the cabs big enough for the five of us? Any London Cabs? Thanks

    • Typically no, most cabs aren’t designed to accommodate that many people, however in tourist areas, you’ll sometimes find small SUV-style cabs……the key is to arrange your cab in advance and tell the concierge that you need ONE cab large enough for all of you (it may or may not be possible)….the downside is that you could get to where you’re going okay, but then be stuck with two cabs for the ride back to the resort. You can also arrange with your concierge for a private-van to pick you up…’s not cheap, but if you arrange it in advance you can get a van and driver for the day – shopping, lunch, wherever…..if you do that, be sure to calculate a tip for the driver on top of the van company’s fee.

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