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Ashwin Sriram
24 Oct 2014 898 3 mins Share

Airport pickup options for international students

This article helps international students decide on the various on-arrival pickup options available for them

24 Oct 2014 898 3 mins Share
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You must be all set with your luggage and flight plans. Having come this far, there is now just a small matter of finding a ride to take you to your accommodation after you land abroad.

It could be daunting to step out of the airport and find yourself in a whole new country. You may not know a great deal about the locality or how to find your way around town. Luckily, there are on-arrival services that you can avail, to make your life easier.

You could have your University arrange a vehicle to pick you up from the airport. Here’s a look at your options.

Free rides

Although many Universities charge international students a certain amount to pick them up at the airport, there are still some Universities that offer the same service for free.

Reputed foreign institutions like the University of Melbourne, the University of South Australia, the University of Wollongong, RMIT University, Deakin University, the University of Sunderland, Queen Mary University of London, the UWE Bristol and Monash University all offer free pickup services for international students.

In order to avail this service, you need to inform the University representatives well in advance. Many Universities today allow you to register for this service online. You can book a ride from the airport by filling up a form at the University website, at least 72 hours before you land abroad. Some Universities require you to coordinate with their representatives either via email or phone to set up a pickup vehicle.

Paid service

Some international Universities will charge you a fair amount for the pickup service. A few private institutions abroad may charge you a price that is substantially higher than a regular city cab fee. This is largely due to the fact that they outsource the pickup service to third-party travel agencies that have their own rates. 

Before you decide on a pickup vehicle, examine the average cost of a cab ride per kilometre in the city. Do the math and see if the pickup vehicle your University can arrange is substantially more expensive than a typical cab ride in the city. Some of these University pickup services charge on the basis of the passenger count; so if you are planning to travel with your family then you may have to pay more. 

Save some money

The cheapest option is to pick a cab at the airport or a public transport nearby and head to your accommodation. Most of these pickup services tend to be expensive when compared to a regular cab service. Take a regular cab if you find that the pickup services offered by the University are unreasonably expensive. Just ensure that you don’t book a pickup vehicle first and then cancel the plan at the last minute. This could cost you a sizable cancellation fee. 

Map out the accommodation area, your University campus and the general locality. Mark the distance between the airport and your accommodation location. Thanks to Google Maps, you can do this with a click of a button. Find out the local cab fares and see if the total cost works out for you. By doing your research before you travel to your study destination, you could easily find your way around the area without having to spend extra for a pickup service.

Take a bus

Some Universities will inform you about airport shuttle services. These are usually buses that pick up passengers at specific hours of the day and drop them off at various destinations in the city. You will need to coordinate with your University representatives to see if your arrival time would coincide with the schedule of the shuttle service. These services usually charge passengers a very nominal fee. The only downside is that if you are carrying a lot of luggage, then you might find it difficult to move around with it on a bus.


The free pickup service is your best option. The paid pickup service can be quite expensive. Look into the local cab fares and see if it’s considerably cheaper to travel in it. Avoid the bus and other forms of public transportation if you are carrying a heavy luggage. 

If you are comfortable navigating around the new city on your own, inside a public transport, then you can save a lot of money. However, if you are looking for convenience and are willing to pay for it, then you should take up the pickup services offered by your University.

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