There are many logistical considerations when planning a trip. Even experienced travelers often end up caught off guard by smaller issues. Most travelers are aware of the standard issues, such as getting to the airport with enough time to go through security, or showing up early to pick up your ticket. One area that is easy to overlook is parking.
In the past, there were a limited number of parking options at airports. In most cases, you need to get an outside ride to completely avoid the issue. Airports recognized this was becoming the standard and gradually started to offer updated parking services. Other companies also seized on travelers’ frustrations with limiting parking and came up with their own solutions. Today, there are several different options for airport parking. Listed below are all the options, general tips for parking at an airport and some of the top companies or websites you can use to find parking.
Short Term Airport Parking
Short term airport parking is available in nearly all airports across the world. These parking locations are near the airport, typically a few minutes away from the terminals. Short term parking is intended for at most an hour. They are intended for passengers who are being dropped off at the airport. In most cases, the parking spot is only used for a few minutes. There are additional options to park hourly. Hourly parking rates vary depending on the airport. Because short term parking spaces are so prioritized, you can expect to pay much higher rates to reserve one for longer than necessary. While some airports allow you to reserve a short-term spot in advance, the majority use a first-come, first-serve policy.
In most airports, you do not have to pay for a short-term parking space as long as you are using it to drop someone off. The exact amount of time you have varies depending on the airport, but most provide at least 15 to 30 minutes before you are charged.
Typically, the only time you pay for a short-term parking lot is if you are unable to get a ride to the airport directly, but someone agrees to pick up your car. In this circumstance, you can temporarily reserve a parking spot to store your car. Do not leave your keys in the car. Either provide whoever is picking up the car with a spare set, or speak with the airport to see if they have a service available to safely store the keys.
Daily Parking Lots
Another option for parking is daily lots. Some airports have daily parking lots attached to the airport, while others are outside garages or lots located close to the airport. Most outside locations are only a short drive to the airport. Typically, locations provide free shuttle rides as part of the service. Because there are so many daily parking lots, the hourly rates are normally low, with some costing only a few dollars each hour. Because they are meant for daily use, there may be a maximum limit on how long you park. Additionally, some companies charge a minimum number of hours. Even with a minimum charge, it is typically less expensive than renting a short-term location at an airport.
Some daily parking lots require you to book a spot in advance. Others will accept drivers at the door, but charge an additional fee for same day parking. Another consideration with daily parking lots is when shuttles are available. Because it only takes a few minutes to transfer from the parking lot to the airport, there is rarely more than a short wait for a shuttle. However, shuttles may only function during certain hours. If you show up too early or late, the shuttle may not be available, or you may be charged a fee to request one.
Long Term Parking
While some airports offer long term parking, it is most common with private parking lots. Long term parking is located further away from an airport than other parking options. Some locations still use hourly rates, but most charge by day. Depending on the distance from the airport, there may be a shuttle available or similar transport service.
While larger airports often have multiple spaces reserved for long term parking, smaller airports may only have a few locations, or not provide long term parking at all. Make sure to call the airport in advance, and ask if there are any limitations on how long you can park. Most limits are typically generous, lasting up to a week or 10 days.
Online Airport Parking
The best way to find deals on airport parking is to use a website. There are many sites that function as a search engine, letting you find all the parking services near your chosen airport. A popular website is the aptly named Cheap Airport Parking. The website prioritizes not only affordable locations, but also parking lots with video surveillance and free shuttle services. The website also lists the total cost based on how long you stay instead of making you add up the rates. You can also extend your search to other nearby parking locations, such as hotels.
Another parking lot locator is Way. Way has a simple interface, but features more search options. In addition to parking, you can look up nearby restaurants, hotels and other establishments near the airport. It also includes directions to both the parking lot as well as the airport.
If you want more detailed information about parking spaces, consider Airport Parking Reservations. While it offers the same diverse search options as other sites, it also lets you look up reviews of the parking lot. As of writing, there are over 600,000 customer reviews. Unlike other sites, Airport Parking Reservation focuses almost exclusively on parking services. There are options to search for hotels located at the airport. They also have a separate search option for cruise parking.If you need a ride to the airport, you can find shuttle and ride services from Go Airport Shuttle. While this may seem unnecessary, it is important to note many airports do not allow rideshare services at the terminal. This includes larger services, such as Uber and Lyft.