I’ve flown into more airports in my lifetime than I can remember. Sometimes I even refer to cities by their respective airport codes. Newark is EWR, Los Angeles is LAX, etc. The one goal I usually have once I arrive in any given city is to avoid taxis. Normally the first bits of advice about ground transportation in a new city will be about cabbie scams. That and it is usually the most expensive option. Trams, subways and shuttle buses have always been my first choice. Relatively inexpensive and simple.
After reading up on arriving in Budapest I was hesitant about public transport simply because I was arriving in the evening, it sounded slightly confusing and most of all it was going to be cold, very cold.
I succumbed (a rarity) for the taxi option. I was just too tired and cold. I checked my hotel address on my iPhone so I would have it handy to give to the driver. On the hotels website they offered a pickup from the airport for only a few bucks more than the average taxi fare. Why not? I sent them an email with my flight number and arrival time. After landing and quickly clearing customs I headed to the arrivals hall. There was a guy standing there holding a sign with my name on it, rockstar style! I have passed thousands of these guys in the past. Holding up these signs for the stranger they are awaiting to chauffeur to their destination. This time I was stranger in a strange land with his name on the sign, sweet.
Feel good? Hell yeah! I admit it felt good to have someone waiting to pick me up when you are in a city you’ve never been to. Still, I am going back to the buses and subways for now. I will continue to travel on a budget and some costs are easier to cut than others. But, for one day, I got “special treatment”.