When it comes to budget travel, a big expense can be car-parking costs at airports. In this article, we look at what to look out for when booking parking and money saving tips on airport parking.
Firstly, do you know the company you are booking your parking through? Take a minute to check out the ‘about us’ page. Reputable companies will tell you about themselves so you know who you are dealing with. There are literally hundreds of companies reselling airport parking so it is worth finding out who is actually providing the service. You don’t want to get back from holiday to find your car has been accidentally lost!
Booking you car parking at a certain time during the day can save you money as prices fluctuate daily. If you spot a bargain, reserve your parking space right away
If you know your holiday or travel date well in advance, book your parking in because you can save up to 25% on early bookings. Many car parks offer advance purchase prices and the earlier you book the more likely you are to find them. If you do find one, book straight away because these prices are withdrawn as you get closer to the departure date and are subject to availability.
Transfer times and frequency of transfers are very important as you want to be able to catch your flight with minimum hassle.
One choice worth considering is looking at staying the night before you travel at a nearby hotel and leaving your car in their car park for the duration of your holiday/travel. Check the cost of a hotel with a parking package compared to airport parking. You may well be surprised to find out that it is cheaper to stay in a 4 star hotel with breakfast including 14 days car parking than airport parking alone. Compare the price of airport parking with the price of a hotel packaged with parking. At certain times of the year, especially August and September, parking packaged with a hotel can be up to £20 cheaper than parking on its own. If you have an early check in, staying overnight takes all the stress out of getting to the airport on time. Compare the prices on the parking results page. You can click straight through from parking to hotels.
It’s recommended that you never turn up to an airport without pre-booking your parking. Airport car parks charge a premium for turning up on that day which can be up to 60% more than our internet prices, even if you have left your booking until the last minute! You can still save even if you only book your parking on the day of travel. If you see someone putting money into a parking machine at the airport, tell them to pre-book online next time!
There are 3 main choices of airport parking and your choice depends on budget and whether you need to park your car for two weeks or just a couple of days
This refers to parking within the airport boundary. Airports, however, are generally big places so always check the transfer times and distance to the terminal. In general the closer you are to the terminal the more you pay for the convenience.
This means it is located outside the airport boundary. Ironically, the transfer times for off-airport car parks can sometimes be less than the on-airport times, due to their location, so make sure you check.
Valet or Meet and Greet Parking
Arguably the most convenient option for parking at the airport; this service means you are met at the terminal by a driver who will collect your car and take it to one of the on or off-airport car parks leaving you free to check-in. When you return, your car will be delivered back to the terminal for you. This is great for large families with loads of luggage. There are some variants on this service so be sure to read the details.
12 Questions to ask to save you money on airport parking
Airport parking can be expensive but asking the following five tips could save you money:
1. Use discounts offered by online airport parking websites. Keep an eye out for offers as many airport parking sites offer seasonal discounts.
2. Ask if the airport parking lots have different rates for long-term/short-term parking. Many airport parking lots charge more for lots closer to departure gates than for parking lots a considerable distance away.
3. Determine whether your membership with the AAA or other organizations offers you any advantages as far as airport parking lots are concerned.
4. Consider parking at an off-site airport lot. You will save a lot of money and be able to use a shuttle service run by the parking lot to the airport. You will also save considerable time and effort by not having to lug heavy bags across parking lots.
5. Use a comparison website of different on and off-site airport parking sites and their costs as well as pros and cons such as distance, transportation, safety, time saving and so on.
6. Collect parking coupons from operations near the airport. Look for discount rates offered say mid-week and offers of one extra day’s free parking if you book x number days. Some sites even have what is termed as a “free day” of parking.
7. If you are a frequent traveller, consider staying at a hotel near the airport overnight and use their car parking facilities. Most hotels allow guests staying at the hotel to park their cars for a limited period free of cost.
8. Plan to travel during the week and not at weekend when prices are higher.
9. When booking your flight or holiday, ask the travel agent or airline whether they offer pick and drop services.
11. Consider taking a taxi to the airport it may be cheaper than parking. This would of course depend on the distance you will be travelling.
12. Find out if you can buy parking coupons at a bulk rate. This will be a saving if you are a frequent flier.