Simply turning up at the airport in your car and hoping for the best could cost you dearly for parking, while a bit of forethought and planning could save you big bucks. Airports can make more money from passengers parking their cars than they get paid by the airlines who transport them so you have to watch out for sky high charges. Carrying out a bit of research before you start your journey can help you find cheap airport parking in advance.
The first factors to take into consideration include whether you require long or short term parking, then there is the ease of access to the airport terminal itself, would you prefer a site that is outdoor or undercover and the level of security that is provided. While your car is not required how about making use of the down time and book it in for a detailed clean or even a service, that way you can be sure that you are returning to a clean vehicle that is running sweetly. Check out all the available options up front and you can be sure of making an educated decision.
Turning up at the airport on the day with no prior booking will normally result in the most expensive parking charges. Booking in advance can save a considerable amount on Melbourne Airport parking for example but if you leave it too late you may be stuck with a considerable bill for your stay. At some airports simply booking before you leave your house can save you money, or even as you travel in if one of your passengers has a smart phone, though generally, the earlier you book the bigger the saving.
One of the most cost effective solutions to finding cheap airport parking is to pick a local car park firm that specialises in flight passengers. These companies have secure parking facilities which will give you peace of mind, and they can deliver you straight to the terminal with your entire luggage in plenty of time to catch your flight. When you arrive back at the airport the same shuttle will pick you up and deliver you back to your car, without you having to remember where exactly you parked it. Not only does this make your trip easy to plan and remove a number of the usual parking worries, it can also save you a lot of money on parking booked through the airport itself.
You will often find entrepreneurs with a bit of spare land close to an airport who will undercut all the competition to offer the cheapest parking in the area. That may be your choice but then you get what you pay for. These parking spots are not custom built and are often poorly lit with no security. If there is a criminal element in the area then these can become hotspots for crime and vandalism, with no comeback on the facility owner who will be uninsured and have a disclaimer handy.
There are alternatives to taking your own car to the airport but they can come with downsides. Booking a taxi to the airport might be economical if you live close enough and can shop around for a good price, but for the return journey you are at the mercy of the airport, which often have an exclusive deal with one taxi company that charges over the odds to cover the commission they have to pay. Some travellers even book a private parking space for their stay in someone’s driveway, but then there are insurance cover and security issues to consider, along with getting to the terminal building.
One final note, if you are booking your parking in advance to save money, check if there is cancellation cover. As with other travel insurance it might be worthwhile making a small additional payment just in case your plans change at the last minute.