Hi, I will be taking the Prague/Budapest tour in October. This will be my first time on a RS tour and having to get from airport to the hotel is a bit intimidating. I have traveled along on tours before but I was always picked up at the airport. The times I have traveled without a tour I have been with someone. Does anyone have any advise as to is it easier to just take a taxi or the recommended shuttle.
thrust, they will give you guidance and direction to first hotel in the documents they send you for the tour.
When arriving to Hotel Metamorphis (is that your hotel?) for a tour starting in Prague, I considered the shuttle bus very easy to use and the tour department's step-by-step walking instructions easy to follow. I fancy myself pretty good at reading maps but didn't use the map in this case. In addition to your guidebook, you could also print out a more detailed map from Google.
Not sure where your hotel is, but here's the transport map from the airport. Looks like they have airport express buses that connect to the transit network.
Thurst, It will be in your Tour Portal and you will get the information about a month before your trip starts.
The easiest (although not cheapest) is to find the official taxi line at the airport. This will be marked, go to ground transportation. Read online or in Ricks guidebook what a normal fare would be and make sure the meter is on (assuming these are metered taxis, they are in most cities).
Get in the cab and tell them your hotel. It can help to have the address and name printed out in case of language difficulties. Show the printout to the driver if he doesn't understand where you want to go.
Public transit is cheaper, but depending on the city may be more challenging on low sleep after a flight!
Some cities have a cheap shuttle to a central point downtown, then you can walk or take local transit from there. I like these, but a taxi is still much easier. Sometimes the convenience is worth the cost.
Thank you all,
I have received the step by step directions. I guess my question was more along the lines of which is best considering I have not done this type of travel and am a bit apprehensive about doing it alone as a single female traveler. Your comments have helped allay my apprehensions.
I have sent you a private message about this.
I have never had a problem following the directions provided by the RS tour folks and have used their recommendations for both taxis and public transportation. My selection usually depends on cost and my attention span (jet lag?). You will soon find out how intuitively obvious and easy to follow the RS directions are, both the ones from the travel desk and those contained in his guide books. On almost all of our RS tours we have had single women and I have never heard any of them complaining about getting lost when following RS directions.
If you are apprehensive, then take a taxi from the airport. I do that from/to the airport in Paris and just figure it in my budget. I'm jet-lagged and I don't want to deal with it! You will probably need some local currency for the cab.
The hotel that we stayed in Prague was Hotel Hastal which was the Eastern Europe RS tour this summer. The website for the hotel stated that they provide pick up service from the airport to the hotel for a small fee. We made arrangements with the hotel to pick us up and gave them our flight information. There was a person waiting outside of baggage with our last name to pick us up. This took all the stress away because we did not have to worry about getting a taxi or other transportation when we were tired. Please check with your hotel website to see if this service is provided.
As the others have mentioned, you'll receive concise directions from the tour department (it sounds like you now have those). I don't know what the preferred method is for that particular tour, but a Shuttle is probably the best cost/time option.
If you haven't already booked flights, I'd suggest arriving a day or two early in order to get over jet lag and provide a "cushion" for any unexpected flight delays. You would of course have to pay for the extra pre-tour nights in the hotel.
I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time on the tour, and by the end you'll be an "old hand" at getting around in Europe.
I agree that you can wait until you arrive to make a final decision. If you're feeling energetic and "ready to go," follow the RS directions for a shuttle. If you're feeling tired, nervous, or stressed, just take a taxi.
Remember that lots of people (including me!) have arrived in Prague and followed Rick's directions to their hotel without any problems - you'll be fine.
It's OK to be anxious. If you are at all nervous, just take a taxi. It is less stressful and it is lovely to be driven to the hotel door after a long flight. It is fairly inexpensive in Prague anyway. Taxis can be your best friend when tired and traveling solo, IMO. You'll have a great trip, I'm sure of it.
The shuttle will be cheaper than a taxi, but will probably take longer because  it will wait for a minimum number of passengers before leaving and  stop at the closer hotels first. You may be the last in and first out, but you could also be the first in and last out. Along with the directions to the hotel the RS information should list the approximate travel times and prices for each option. One is probably as easy as the other.
Either way, don't forget to get some Czech koruna at the airport first.