Four tips to help you choose the best airport parking option

So you’re off on an overseas trip – perhaps on holiday, maybe for work. You’ve booked your flight, checked your visas, and now you just need to work out how you’ll get to the airport.

If you don’t live on a direct (and convenient) public transport route, or your flight is at an awkward time, you may decide to drive there. But this presents a new problem: where can you park?

Airports today offer many different parking options – each with their advantages and disadvantages. And to help you decide which one is the best choice for you, here are four simple tips.

1) Research all your parking options

In order to work our which is the best airport parking for you, you need to know what choices you have. So your first action should be to research all parking options at your departure airport. Some of the facilities they may have include:

  • Short term
  • Daily
  • Long term
  • Valet
  • Off-airport

Good research options for your particular airport include the airport website, parking comparison websites, and a good, old-fashioned online search.

2) Book early 

The most expensive way to park at an airport is to just turn up. So, when making your parking option choice, check what rates you can get when booking early. (This is also an important reason why you need to plan your parking options as soon as you can – don’t leave it until the day you fly.)

3) Consider the safety of your car

That cheap parking option won’t feel like such a bargain if you return from your trip to find your car stolen, broken into or damaged. So take into account your car’s safety and security when making your choice.

Considering, as an example, the size of an airport like Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. When parking at Washington Baltimore airport, don’t be tempted to choose a slot too far from the terminal. While you might have to pay more to park closer, it’s much more preferable (and cheaper) than coming back to a costly and unpleasant surprise.

4) Book a hotel near the airport

Some hotels close to large airports have ample parking, with the option to leave your car there during your trip for a usually modest fee (this is added onto the cost of your stay). Many also make use of a shuttle bus service to transport you to and from the airport for your flight.

This can be a particularly attractive option if your flight is in the early hours of the morning. No need to set your alarm for a horrific time at home, and stagger sleepily into your car (hopefully having remembered, in your tiredness, to bring all your cases and your documentation), drive to the airport and park.

Instead you simply check in the night before, enjoy a leisurely meal, and wake a few hours before your flight and jump in a taxi or on the shuttle bus – with the peace of mind of knowing your car will be safely waiting for you when you return.

Photo by Karl Köhler