Just like the flight and accommodation, one of the first plans you need to make ahead of any trip is where you will park your car. Most airports have a plethora of parking options and reserving the right one for your specific trip is hugely important.
There should be several factors that will affect your decision on airport parking, including the cost, the safety, and the length of time you will need the space for, and the proximity to the airport. Once you have weighed these up, the right lot should be clear to you.
Identify Your Needs
What is your schedule? Do you have the time to arrive at the airport early with plenty of time to spare? How long do you need the space for? Is it a peak travel time?
If you have the time to spare, you can include parking lots that are perhaps cheaper but may require you to take a shuttle bus to the airport terminal. However, if you don’t have the flexibility, you may have to select a parking option much closer to the terminal. Similarly, if you are travelling during rush hour, a shuttle may take longer than usual and you may have to allow extra time.
Short Term or Long Term?
As a general rule, long-term parking applies to parking facilities which allow a car to be left for more than 5 or 6 days, although this varies depending on the airport. Long-term parking options are generally further away from the airport, however, offer a cheaper per day rate than short-term parking options.
Short term parking is usually located much closer to the airport. It may have an hourly rate and a rate per day. Generally, these day rates are much higher than those in the long-term parking facilities, however, for short trips, it may be cost-effective.
Determine a Budget
If you are more concerned about keeping costs down, it will likely be more economical to park in a long-term facility even if the trip is just for a couple of days. There are also off-site parking options for people looking for an even cheaper option.
Consider Reserving a Spot
You don’t want your vacation or business trip delayed by parking inconveniences. Airports are stressful at the best of times, and you don’t want the added stress of finding parking. Once you know what lot you want to park it, inquire as to whether you can reserve a place. If you can, this is always advisable.
This is also an opportunity to inquire about the safety precautions in place at the airport parking and provides the opportunity to ask for specific directions to the parking lot itself. You may also want to take the opportunity to ask about payment methods, so you can arrive prepared.
If not… Have a Backup Plan
If you can’t reserve a spot at the airport you are flying out of, make sure you have a backup plan for what to do if there is no parking left available. Find the addresses of several lots and consider public transport options to avoid parking altogether.