Your #FinCon14 Transportation Guide (Includes Taxi Share Document and Uber/Lyft Credits)
Editor’s Note: Here’s an awesome transportation guide for #FinCon14 provided by Harry from Your PF Pro.
I’ve been blogging about personal finance for a few years now but for some reason I’ve never made it out to FinCon.
When I heard that this year’s conference was going to be in New Orleans, I knew I had to be there. To put it mildly, I’m psyched to be attending! Anyways, you guys might know me from my personal finance blog Your PF Pro, but today I’m coming to you as The Rideshare Guy!
Although I love blogging about personal finance, I’ve always wanted to take what I’ve learned over the years and apply it to an emerging niche. As most of you know, there are already a ton of awesome well established personal finance bloggers out there and that can make it tough to really stand out. My finance blog has always been more of a passion than a business and that’s why I’ve been patiently searching for a new niche where I could really do some damage.
Carving Out My Rideshare Niche
This past year I think I finally found that niche: rideshare. For those who don’t know, rideshare is basically the cool, convenient new way to call a taxi using your smartphone. Everything from requesting a driver to paying for the ride is done via the app. But instead of calling a taxi, you are actually calling a driver who is an every day person like you or me.
That’s right people, in addition to my full time job as an aerospace engineer and my blogging duties, I’m also a driver for the two biggest rideshare companies: Uber and Lyft. I actually started off my rideshare journey as a passenger though.
I used to abhor taking taxis for all the reasons that many of you probably dislike them: they’re expensive, they only take cash and they don’t treat customers very well. Lyft and Uber pretty much provide the opposite experience though since they’re clean, affordable, convenient and the drivers are super friendly people just like me.
Sounds pretty great doesn’t it? I’m a little biased, but I think rideshare is awesome. The only problem with it though, is that rideshare is still banned in just a couple of cities and guess what, New Orleans is one of them. So even though there aren’t any true rideshare options in NOLA, when PT asked me to come on the FinCon blog and talk about all of the transportation options I felt like it was my duty. After all, I am The Rideshare Guy!
Getting To/From The Airport in New Orleans (MSY)
The New Orleans Marriott (the official FinCon hotel) is located about 13 miles from the Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY). For those who are flying in, you won’t be able to take an Uber or Lyft but there are a few other transportation options out there. The cheapest option would be to take the public bus, but depending on your arrival time, it could take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. The fastest option is a taxi but that will cost you $33 plus tip for 1 or 2 passengers and $14 per passenger for 3 or more passengers.
The easiest way to figure out the public bus schedule is to go to Google Maps and enter your destination and origin. You can then switch to the public transit option and select a date in the future. I was able to lay out a sample itinerary on Google Maps for a traveler departing the airport at 2:30 pm on Wednesday 9/17 and heading to the New Orleans Marriott. You can see that at this time of day there is a direct bus line (E-2) that goes almost all the way to the hotel but it will take just over an hour. The cost is $2.00.
If you’re traveling solo, there is a discounted FinCon shuttle rate for $20 or $35 round-trip. The normal cost for the shuttle is $22 according to the airport’s website and advanced reservations are required (24 hours or more). Shuttle service will be a little more direct than public transportation but remember you might get dropped off first or you might get dropped off last.
The easiest (and in my opinion the best) way to get to/from the hotel is an airport taxi. Taking a taxi is pretty straightforward and it will cost you $33 for 1 or 2 persons and $14 per person for 3 or more. The nice thing about an airport taxi is that you won’t have to worry about hauling your luggage around and the final price. Since it’s a fixed fare, you know what price you’re going to be paying ahead of time. Depending on traffic, it should take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to get to the Marriott.
If you can share a cab with just one other person, the taxi option will save you money and a lot of time compared to the shuttle service. Since there a lot of bloggers coming in from all over the country at various times of the day, we thought it would be nice to make a handy google spreadsheet that allows you to find someone to share a taxi with.
You can find the spreadsheet linked above, just be sure that you don’t delete or edit anyone else’s information. The easiest way to find someone arriving around the same time as you is to sort by flight arrival time and then by arrival date. For departures, sort by ‘Leave the hotel‘ time and then by date.
Getting Around NOLA
According to local insiders (aka my friend who lives in NOLA), taxis are extremely unreliable around the downtown area. Your best bet is to walk or use public transportation to get around. But if you are intent on taking a taxi, there is an app called Curb that makes calling a taxi from your smart phone a little bit easier.
There is even an option to pay with a credit card through the app but the app doesn’t work anything like Lyft or Uber. And in the reviews online, there seem to be a lot of glitches when trying to pay this way. I would recommend using the app to hail a cab since it is connected to all of the cab companies in the area but then paying with cash.
Editor’s Note: Pedicabs (shown above) are also a good option when getting around Downtown and the French Quarter.
Getting To/From The Airport in Your Hometown
Even though I won’t be taking Uber or Lyft in New Orleans you can bet that I’ll be taking it to/from the airport in Los Angeles. Right now is a great time to be a driver but it’s an even better time to be a passenger since fares have never been lower. As part of your FinCon benefits package, we were able to secure some great discount codes for new riders.
If you’re really up for saving some money, you can actually get a free ride to and from your hometown airport. Here are the custom “FinCon” codes for all that are interested, just make sure you enter the code before you request a ride:
Uber: New Uber passengers get $30 off their first ride when they sign up using the code: Uberfincon
Lyft: New Lyft passengers get $25 off their first ride when they sign up using the code: fincon
Alright guys, I hope you enjoyed this FinCon transportation guide. I know there is a lot of other more important stuff to think about during the week so I wanted to lay out your transportation options as clearly as possible. It’s always a hassle showing up to a city you’ve never been to before and figuring out how to get around. But my hope is that this guide will be a resource that saves you money, helps you meet a cool new carpool buddy and gets you to your destination on time!
If you’re interested in learning more about my rideshare blog and podcast, you can find me at www.TheRideshareGuy.com. Otherwise be sure to say hi on my personal finance blog www.YourPFPro.com. I can’t wait to meet all of you people in person at FinCon, you will find me at the bar! Come say hello 🙂
Image Credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans