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Are you looking to park your vehicle at the airport, but aren’t quite sure how to do it? Airport parking can be very convenient. Parking at the airport means you get to avoid taxis, busses, and other forms of transportation.
Plus, when you return for your trip, you’ll be able to quickly hop in your car and drive home.
But, parking at the airport can sometimes be complicated. Check out these airport parking tips that every traveler should know.
1. Understand the Different Types of Airport Parking
First things first, you need to understand the different types of airport parking. Most airports in the US have three main parking options:
- Airport-owned and operated parking lots
- Hotel parking near the airport
- Privately owned airport parking lots
Airport-owned parking is typically right on the airport grounds, and it’s usually pretty close to the terminal. While onsite parking is the most expensive, it’s definitely the most secure place to park your car.
Most airport parking lots have security cameras as well as security guards circling the lot 24/7. If your terminal is far away from the parking lot, you can sometimes catch a shuttle to your terminal from the lot.
Airport parking is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, meaning you can’t reserve a spot. Usually, you’ll pull up to the parking area and take a ticket from an attendant or from an automated machine.
When you leave the parking lot, you’ll hand the ticket to the attendant or insert it into a machine. The price of airport parking is based on the number of hours or days you were parked there. Typically, you’ll need to pay with a credit or debit card.
Most airports offer hourly parking rates for those who are picking up and dropping off passengers. If you plan to leave your car at the airport for a few days or more, short-term and long-term rates are available.
Privately-owned, third party parking lots are offsite, yet in close proximity to the airport. They’re more affordable than onsite parking, but still more expensive than parking at a hotel near the airport.
These lots are generally fenced in and relatively secure. Oftentimes, third-party parking lots offer other amenities such as shuttle services to the airport. Other amenities they may offer include:
- Indoor parking
- Covered parking
- Bottled water
- Luggage assistance
- Electrical charging stations
- Cleaning off your vehicle in case it snows
Some of these lots even offer some fee-based amenities, such as oil changes, car washes, and valet parking. If you plan to park in a third-party lot, you’ll want to reserve your spot ahead of time to ensure that there’s space.
You can also park at a hotel a short distance from the airport, which will be your most affordable option. However, parking at a hotel is also the least secure option, so make sure you don’t leave any valuables in your car. Some hotels also offer shuttles to the airport, so make sure to look into this before you park.
Typically, you can make an advanced reservation to park your car in a hotel parking lot. However, if you choose to park your car at a hotel, make sure to leave yourself plenty of time, as the shuttles to the airport can sometimes be 30 minutes or more apart.
2. Leave Home Early
Whether you plan to park at the airport or somewhere else, make sure you leave your home plenty early.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to find a parking spot at the airport, and since you can’t make a reservation, you may have to spend some time driving around the lot before you can find a spot. We suggest cushioning yourself an extra hour to take care of parking and transportation to the airport.
3. Check the Airport Map
Before you leave home, it’s also very important that you check the airport map. As we mentioned earlier, the parking lot is sometimes on the opposite side of the terminal, and it may be a bit of a hike to get to your terminal.
If you have a lot of luggage, it’s going to take you even longer. This is why it’s so important to check the airport map and understand how long everything is going to take you before you head out.
You should also make sure there isn’t any maintenance or construction going on around the airport parking lot, as this can also slow you down.
4. Download the Right App
As we mentioned earlier, most airports don’t allow you to reserve a space ahead of time. However, there are some airports that work with mobile parking apps.
Through these parking apps, you can reserve a parking space hours or even days ahead of time. All you need to do is download the right app, type in the airport you want to park at, and then search for available spaces after inputting the dates and times.
If you have specific needs, such as covered parking, you can also search for this within the app. These apps make parking at the airport a lot easier, so make sure to download an app and reserve your spot before you head out.
Airport Parking: Are You Ready to Park at the Airport?
Now that you’ve read this guide on airport parking, it’s time for you to pack your bags and head to the airport. By using the above tips, you won’t have to stress out about parking and you’ll be able to focus on your trip!
Be sure to check back in with our blog for more travel-related tips and tricks.