Sure, you’re savvy when it comes to finding cheap flights, but do you know how to save money on airport parking? If you’re one of those travelers who simply park and fly then continue reading because this article will certainly help you out.
On average, most airport car parkings charge something between 20 to 50 usd/ day, sometimes even more: Madrid’s Barajas airport charges 23 Euros per day, JFK charges 18 USD/day and London’s Heathrow short term parking airport charges a whopping 180 USD for 48 hours and 90 USD/ each additional day! If that’s not extremely expensive then I don’t know what is. The solution? Look for alternatives, and mind you there are several: from using parking discount websites (like those for Heathrow airport parking) to using other methods of transportation there are several ways you can save your cash.
How to save money on airport parking
1) Use public transportation like subway or bus, not taxi. This is my preferred option by far, and has saved me hundreds of dollars with time. Every city has buses with several lines that go to the airport, and many big cities have metro lines as well. Why not use any of these? The metro will certainly be faster, comfortable, and although buses are usually slower I find it much more pleasant when somebody is driving than having to do so myself. If it’s raining or there are no stops near your house you might want to get a taxi to the nearest stop (bus or metro) and continue from there. Do the numbers: I’m sure that this is cheaper on 90% of occasions.
2) Use long term parking lots. These are usually further from the terminals, but who cares? When flying from Zaragoza (Spain) to Dublin (Cork) we discovered that the long term parking lot, which was only a 500 meter walk away, was free! Similarly, when flying from Gerona (Spain) to Bratislava (Slovakia) we found that there were a few long term parking lots that only cost 6 euros per day. We were off for 3 days, so I can certainly handle that. Check online (Google “long term parking *your city*”) to see if your airport has long term parking lots, and if it does I think it is a no brainer.
3) Check airport hotels. Many airport hotels offer free parking for the entire duration of your trip as long as you spend one night with them. This not only saves you a good chunk of money but if you have an early morning flight getting to the counter will be a breeze. You might also want to check on their parking fees- some hotels offer parking services even if you don’t sleep there, and they could be cheaper than the airport’s parking rates. This can be a very good option when airport parking is as expensive as in London, thus Heathrow airport hotels, could well be what you need.
4) Have somebody drive you. A friend, a family memeber, carpool with work colleagues, it doesn’t matter.
5) Use private shuttle buses if traveling solo. They are usually not worth it if any of the other options are available, but if out for an extended period of time and and want to be at your destination shortly after landing this is a better than getting a taxi. Melbourne’s (Australia) airport would be a good example of where this is the best value
6) And last but not least, use online airport parking discount websites. If you really want to drive and park yourself no matter what (say you’re traveling with children, elderly, or there is no public transportation at that time of the day or night), you should then book your space though a parking discount site like holidayextras.co.uk. Using such websites is very simple, and you will know how much you’ll be paying even before you leave and will be getting much better rates than the standard. You make an upfront deposit with a credit card when booking, and pay the rest when leaving the lot after returning.
As you see it is not necessary to pay the standard rates at airport pakings around the world. From using public transport to making reservations on airport parking discount websites there is a way around the standard fare.
Which one do you use? How do you usually get to an airport? Any other tips you know of? Please share them in the comments section below, and this post too if you think others might find it useful!
[Some of these links might be making us some money, however we wouldn’t include them if we didn’t think thet can be helpful to the traveler. Photo credits @ Flickr: Shangai daddy, r4vi, oran viriyinci]