When planning your dream vacation, usually the last thing on your mind is airport parking. But with charges sometimes running $20 a day or more, airport parking can eat up a good bit of your travel budget for a long trip. I’ve compiled this list of a few tips and tricks to save you time, money and aggravation.
1. To help you remember where you parked you could: take a photo of the parking area sign, text the parking space number to a friend or relative, or use an app such as Google Drive.
2. Always keep your parking ticket stub above your visor. This will save you from a frantic search and hefty lost tickets charges.
3. Compare the cost of parking at hotels near the airport. They often will allow you to park there for much less than the airport will charge. Find one that has free shuttles to pick you up and drop you off at the times you need! On our last trip we saved over $200 by parking at a hotel next to the airport.
4. Check out commercial off-site parking services such as Park ‘n Fly. Although you are farther from the airport, one major benefit is you can reserve and pay for your spot in advance. Guaranteed parking = peace of mind in peak travel season.
5. Some cities have airport shuttle services and you can leave your car at home. A shuttle from Naples, Florida to the Ft. Myers airport (30 miles) is about $80 each way.
6. Airlines often require you to be 2 or more hours early for your flight. Be sure to allow time for parking — especially during busy holidays — so that you are not rushed.
7. Pay close attention to the lot you choose at the airport. The rates for different lots can vary dramatically — leading to a big surprise when you return from your trip. Visit your airport’s website in advance to determine the rates and location of parking areas.
8. If cost isn’t an issue, some larger airports have valet parking. If you are running late and about to miss your flight, the $30+ per day charge to valet park may very well be worth it. For an additional fee, you can often add perks — like having your car washed or oil changed while you are gone.
What airport do you think has the best or worst parking?