Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

6 Reasons Why I Usually Prefer to Stay at Hotels Near Airports

recently posted a stay at a hotel property located near the airport in Madrid; and although it was neither a positive stay nor a favorable review, there are 6 reasons why I usually prefer to stay at hotels near airports.

1. No Travel Upon Arrival

Sometimes the last thing I want to do is first travel to a hotel room after a long flight. While there is something to be said for getting that travel out of the way so that I am near where I want to be the next morning, there is also something to be said about the convenience of relaxing in a hotel room — and perhaps enjoying a meal while a restaurant or room service is still in operation — shortly after the conclusion of a flight.

2. Fewer Obstacles to Arriving On Time for a Flight

As happened to me when I was in Seoul, I dread having to wake up at approximately 4:00 in the morning — or earlier — before the sun rises to first travel to the airport while it is still nighttime so that I may catch a flight; and in that case, I finally arrived at Incheon International Airport an hour later — only to find out that my flight to Manila was canceled.

Ugh. I could have stayed at the hotel and slept longer.

Conversely, it is nice to wake up later in the morning and have breakfast like a human being at an airport hotel before going to the gate and catching my flight. I do not have to worry about impediments which could potentially derail my plans in getting from the hotel to the airplane — such as traffic, train and bus schedules, and inclement weather.

Better yet, there are even some hotel properties which are located within or physically connected to the airport where you do not have to walk outside or take a shuttle vehicle to the terminal.

3. Complimentary Shuttle Service

Many hotel properties located near an airport will offer complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport. To save money on a rental car, I may stay the first and last nights of a trip at a hotel near an airport, which can shave off two days of renting a car — depending on the times my originating flight arrives at the airport and my departing flight leaves the airport.

At the conclusion of the first hotel stay, I simply use the hotel shuttle to take me back to the airport, where I can catch the rental car shuttle to pick up my rental car. When the duration of the rental of the car concludes, I drop it off at the airport facility, catch a shuttle to the hotel where I have a reservation for my second stay, and spend the night there before I depart the next day.

Do not automatically assume that a hotel property located near an airport has complimentary shuttle service. Check the description of the hotel property at its official Internet web site; or contact an employee at the hotel to confirm what shuttle services are available. Some hotel properties which offer complimentary shuttle services are stringent pertaining to their schedules; while others will be flexible in terms of schedule as well as having the shuttle transport passengers anywhere within a certain area — such as a radius of five miles from the hotel property, for example.

4. Considerably Less Expensive

More often than not, the room rates at hotel properties located near an airport can be considerably cheaper than at a comparable hotel closer to the central area of a city — and can potentially be substantially less expensive than a comparable hotel located in the center of a city.

Before your book your reservation, ensure that the lower room rate at the airport hotel does not equate to reduced amenities which matter to you — such as no swimming pool or access to a health club, for example.

5. Not as Inconvenient as You Might Think

If the hotel is located near a major airport, chances are that there is public transportation available nearby or taxis waiting outside of the hotel; and if one option of public transportation is by rail, the train will typically whisk me to the central part of the city within 30 minutes — depending on the city, of course. Copenhagen, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. come to mind as examples.

For cities such as New York, bank on approximately an hour depending on the airport — and despite that, I stayed at a hotel property across the Grand Central Parkway from LaGuardia Airport earlier this month and used public transportation.

6. Soundproofing

Attempts to minimize the noise created by airplanes as they take off and land at the airport near the hotel property also usually help to minimize the noise within the hotel property as well — including in the rooms immediately adjacent, above and below the room in which you are staying. Let that couple in the next room do their thing.


There are certainly times where I would rather not — or cannot altogether — stay at a hotel property located near an airport. There are also disadvantages to doing so: distance from the center of town; location in an industrial area; nothing located nearby; and noise not minimized enough are four possible reasons which come to mind.

Do you prefer to stay at hotel properties near airports and have reasons which I have not imparted here? Do you avoid hotel properties near airports at any cost? Please express your thoughts and experiences — as well as your reasons — in the Comments section below.

Thank you.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

  1. I would only agree with this IF you are checking out of the hotel next morning to catch another flight. Otherwise, I would stay where the action is since if I am visiting a new place I want to get to know it and not stay close to the airport.

    1. I would typically agree with you, Santastico — but what if you could stay at an airport hotel for a room rate of $100.00 per night less than at a comparable hotel property closer to the action?

      I could spend some of that money on the action — perhaps dining an a great steakhouse; or for admission to an expensive attraction…

  2. i stayed at airport hotel at BRU (which was weird because i didn’t fly in and out of the city), but it saved a lot, and the airport rail to downtown is only 15 mins

    if you’re at Tokyo and stay near Narita, prepare for that long expensive ride into the city every single day. no thanks.

    my personal preference is staying either (1) near the main town square (like what I did at ATH or AMS), or (2) near the main/central train station (like what I did at MEL or FUK).

    1. Tokyo is definitely one of the exceptions of which I was thinking, patricia. I once stayed at a hotel near Tokyo Disneyland; and although that was manageable, it was still somewhat of a trek into central Tokyo.

      Staying at a ryokan in the Asakusa district was a better option…

  3. I agree with your points and have stayed, for example, three nights at the Hilton Garden Inn near Rome airport even though we went into the city most of the time. The combination of easy public transport and much lower prices compared to city-center hotels was a no-brainer.

    1. I stayed at that hotel on my last night in Rome several years ago, 02nz. It is a good hotel which was very convenient. I would recommend it.

  4. Hey Brian,

    Nice post. I agree with you for the same reasons. I have on a few occasions spent the night at the EWR Marriott because I had a 6AM flight out the next day. When I am looking forward to a trip to Hawaii for 6 months, the last thing that is going to derail that is a missed outbound flight because my car decided not to start, you get flat tire on the way to the airport, construction, or a car service that forgets to show up. When a trip is costing several thousands of dollars (or using valuable hotel points and air miles) a $150 room at the airport the night before in my opinion is “insurance” well spent.

    As far as your trip to LGA, what did you think of that airport? Personally I despise it as I am coming from NJ and would prefer EWR but I prefer AA so sometimes I bite the bullet and fly from LGA. The central terminal in my opinion is a dump but I would like to ask what you think.

    1. Your “insurance” is something I have done on occasion, Captain Kirk — and it is an excellent idea. That should qualify for the Stupid Tip of the Day series — meaning not that the idea is stupid; but rather it is so obvious that it can be hidden in plain sight and could help other fellow travelers; and that someone like myself would not even think about imparting it as a tip because it may seem so obvious.

      I usually use Terminal D at LaGuardia Airport, which has been renovated in recent years; so I actually do not mind using that airport. I do despise the lengthy delays which seem to occur regularly, however.

      There was a time when I had the highest elite level status on Continental Airlines and therefore used Newark Airport often. I have not been there lately; but while I liked using Newark Airport, there were some things about it which irritated me — such as the cost of going into New York from there, as crossing the Hudson River is usually more expensive than crossing the East River…

  5. i have the same concern for my upcoming europe trip in in AMS and OSL. AMS i’m landing in the morning, and next full day, then flying out on 3rd day morning. For OSL, arriving by train in the afternoon, have 1 full day then flying out 3rd day morning again. Really struggling to stay near AMS or OSL airport, and/or near AMS/OSL central train station. I’m still 50/50.

    1. It really depends on what your transportation patterns will be — as well as your subjective definition of convenience and cost, Jen.

      I stayed at a Holiday Inn in Amsterdam near the airport…

      …and although it has a complimentary shuttle bus, I walked to the airport because I waited a long time for it. It was a long walk; but I did it anyway.

      If you can get a hotel near or at the airport with inexpensive room rates which has free and convenient access to the airport, it is only a 20-minute train ride to Amsterdam Centraal train station; and then you can pretty much walk central Amsterdam from the train station. It is actually quite easy.

      I have never been to Oslo; so I cannot comment on that. Hopefully I will be there one day soon…

  6. I’ve stayed at the Hilton ORD a few times when i have a late inbound flight and a morning flight out the next day. Pretty convenient, and sound proof rooms, public transportation etc.

    1. I have stayed there too, Alex H. It is a good hotel; but if I recall correctly, the time using public transportation is approximately 45 minutes or so to get to The Loop — and for some people, that could be a deal breaker in terms of inconvenience.

  7. Completely agree with everything in this article. The other benefit is the airports are usually in more “local” areas so restaurants are cheaper than in the downtown areas. I always look for the travel passes that offer reduced costs on public transportation as well. I just like being near an airport for stays that are less than a week. and even then, I always tend to go to an airport hotel the night before my flights to avoid the issues you mentioned in your story.

    1. That is true that establishments such as restaurants tend to be less expensive — but not necessarily of a lesser quality — than their counterparts in downtown areas, Robbo.

      Travel passes can be a good idea; but I caution anyone considering purchasing one to do their homework. Often — for me, anyway — the cost of travel passes and what is included in them wind up being costlier for me than if I simply went “à la carte” and paid for everything individually, as travel passes often include items which are of no interest to me.

  8. This probably doesnt work for Airports like Dubai which are primarily transit airports so the demand for hotel rooms near the hotel is higher than in the city. In dubai its cheaper to go to an in city hotel even if you are staying only one day as a stopover.

  9. Thanks for sharing that one of the reasons why it is convenient to stay near an airport is that it helps us to save money on travel expenses. The other day my sister said she is going away on a business trip. I will encourage her to stay near an airport and book a shuttle service as it will be cheaper.

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