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Transportation to and From McCarran International Airport

To rent a car, or not to rent a car. That is the question.

By Kate Silver

Airport Location: 5757 Wayne Newton Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Main Phone Number: (702) 261-5211
Lost and Found: (702) 261-5134


There are several transportation options from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas: rental cars, taxicabs, limos, buses, the monorail and old-fashioned walking. To decide which is best for you, first consider how much traveling you'll want to do once you get to Vegas. If you're staying on the Strip or downtown, then renting a car may be more of a hindrance than a convenience, but if you plan to sightsee around the city and beyond, a rental may be the way to go. Keep in mind that all of the hotel-casinos offer free parking, so you won't have to shell out money there.

Regardless, you'll need to know how to get to and from McCarran International Airport. The options include taxis, rental cars, limos and shuttles and, if you're extra patient, the bus (the monorail doesn't travel to the airport, and walking is not recommended).

Be aware that traffic around Las Vegas can be pesky. Because it's a 24-hour town with shifts ending throughout the day and night, you never know when you're going to hit a jam. Generally speaking, the freeways and major streets are busier from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.; allow extra time to reach your destination during those hours.

The businesses listed below are a few of the available options; for more, visit the McCarran International Airport website.

Taxis
Taxis are the fastest way to get to your hotel (in 30 minutes or less). There's no shortage of cabs in Las Vegas, as you'll see when you exit baggage claim at Doors 1 to 5. Though there's sometimes a line for cabs, it moves quickly and will be less of a wait than the other available modes of transportation.

The rides aren't cheap: There's an initial charge of $3.30 plus an additional $1.20 when you're riding from the airport, and then $2.20 per mile. That means if you're traveling to a property on the south end of the Strip, expect to pay around $11; central Strip will average $14, north Strip will be around $16, and downtown will cost close to $20.

Checker/Yellow/Star
(702) 873-2000

Desert Cab Company
(702) 386-9102

Western Cab Company
(702) 736-8000


Rental Cars

The McCarran Rent-A-Car Center (702-261-6001) consolidates all of the car rental companies into one giant building, about 3 miles from the airport. A free shuttle to the center departs the airport every five minutes from Doors 10 and 11. Each rental agency has its own kiosk, and people are generally in and out efficiently. Still, the process will easily take 30 minutes, even on a good day.

The airport is next to two major highways (Interstate 15 and Interstate 215), and it's simple to navigate to your destination. Getting around Las Vegas is also simple - it's a grid.

Alamo / National
(800) GO-ALAMO / 1-800-CAR-RENT

Hertz
(800) 654-3131

Thrifty
(800) 367-2277

Shuttles/Limos
Shuttle and limousine services are often offered by the same company. Catch them on the west side of baggage claim, outside Doors 8 to 13.

Shuttles tend to be the most affordable option; it's $5 or $6 to Strip hotels and a few dollars more for downtown and off-Strip hotels. Also, check with your hotel to see if it offers its own shuttle service (often free). But be prepared to wait: The buses generally don't leave until they have a worthwhile load, and the wait can be up to an hour.

Limo services can be surprisingly affordable, considering they charge by the hour (from $42 up). If you have a long trip, a limo may be cheaper than a cab. Plus, if you order one ahead of time, a limo driver carrying a sign with your name on it will meet you in baggage claim, and you'll likely be whisked from the airport more quickly than in a cab.

Bell Trans
(702) 739-7990

Executive Las Vegas
(702) 646-4661

Grayline/Coach USA
(702) 739-5700

Buses
Las Vegas is not a town that's big on public transportation. Even locals generally take the bus only by necessity. That said, two Citizens Area Transit bus routes transport passengers from the airport. Route 108 follows Swenson Street to the Las Vegas Hilton, and Route 109 travels up Maryland Parkway. Though bus travel isn't recommended (particularly with baggage in tow), it is an option. Bus fare is $1.25, and you must have exact change.

No CAT bus travels directly to the Las Vegas Strip or downtown. But once you get to the Strip, you'll find the double-decker Deuce Routes 301 and 302 running from the south end to downtown. Tickets are $2 each way, or you can buy a 24-hour pass for $5. For more information, visit the Regional Transportation Commission's website or call (800) 228-3911.

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