The easiest part of traveling is actually boarding the plane. That’s when we can unwind. Organizational stress comes before and after.
From packing to getting to the airport without having to take out a loan, traveling involves a lot of logistics and hidden costs. And airport parking makes for a surprisingly big travel expense.
Fortunately, there are ways to bypass paying upwards of hundred dollars.
From airport parking deals to last-minute airport parking and apps, we're listing 10 ways you can save money, and spend it on cocktails instead.
1. Choose your airport wisely
Even though the average airport parking starts at $21/day and can climb up to $61/day, there are still oases.
For example, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower airport offers reserved parking at almost unbelievable prices. Not only is the first half an hour free (for when you want to say goodbye to your friends and family, and promise you’ll bring souvenirs), but you also have 4 cheap airport parking options to pick from.
Rates start at $3/hour, with $8 being the maximum daily price you’d pay for parking your car at Wichita airport. The shuttle runs often and it’s included in the parking rate, so you can get from the parking lot to the airport terminals faster.
Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower is just an example of cheap airport parking you can get as soon as you move from the less-frequented airports. St. Cloud airport in Minnesota even offers free parking.
So if you have the option of flying from a huge airport that charges an arm and a leg for a day’s worth of parking, or from a smaller airport nearby that offers better airport parking deals – check if there’s a price difference, and start off your trip in style.
2. Find competition-based airport parking offers
After airline fees, parking is a big source of revenue for airports. Ever since Uber and Lyft got into the game, people don’t have to drive to the airport to arrive there on time, so airports have been losing money.
Understandably, they want to motivate passengers to keep using airport parking, which is exactly why they often offer deals and loyalty programs.
For example, Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport introduced a dynamic pricing model. Airport parking charges change with demand, so if the demand is low, you can get a 50% discount and park for $12 per day.
3. Follow airports on social media to get parking discounts
The same Dallas Fort-Worth Airport also offered free parking for the first 1,000 cars during holidays, and announced it on social media.
It pays off to follow the airports you usually travel from on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. They often have promotional discounts and holiday extras that can help you cut back on travel costs, and avoid having to use the public transport.
4. Find the cheapest airport parking online
When in doubt, go online. There are a lot of websites who aggregate airport parking conditions, offers and deals, so you can find the best solution for your budget.
Our favorites include:
These aggregators let you view rates, compare different prices and book parking spots with up to 70% off standard rates, meaning you’ll get the cheapest airport parking available.
You can use pre-booking, which is particularly useful at airports with dynamic parking pricing.
For the most stress-free experience, CheapAirportParking helps with shuttles and transfer from the parking lot to the airport.
5. Get a hotel + parking package
You can get much better airport parking deals when you mix & match with other services.
This is especially true with airlines who frequently operate out of one airport, and have a partnership with them (like in Minnesota St. Cloud airport).
Airport Parking Reservations also help you get the most value for your money if you book parking and a hotel stay. They’ll calculate your rate and apply a discount for selecting two services instead of just one.
Another good option for bundles that’ll get you more services at a discounted price is Park Fly Sleep. If you book plane tickets, a hotel, and parking through them, you’ll get a much better deal than if you booked everything separately.
6. Frequent flyer? Get a custom solution
Most airports have special airport parking deals for customers who fly often so instead of paying a high daily rate, you can get in touch with the airport and ask them about their long-term parking deals.
In some cases, you can even share your parking pass with friends and family.
7. Want free airport parking? Use TravelCar
It’s absolutely possible to get free airport parking, but only if you’re okay with strangers driving your car.
TravelCar pays you to leave your car at the airport, and they have a $1mil in liability coverage just in case something goes wrong. You’re paid by the mile driven, and you also get free airport, seaport or city center parking. It’s a win-win.
8. Get a credit card that loves airport parking
Some credit card companies offer cards that reward you for parking at airports. And since you have to pay for airport parking anyway, you might as well get something out of it.
Select Chase and Citi cards give up to 3 times the points per dollar spent.
9. Public transport
If all else fails, use public transport.
In case you live far from the airport, you can also use aggregator sites to find parking lots closer to the airport.
While they’re not on-site parking, they're still close, and you'll save both time and money.
We can’t always get what we want, but we can cut back on the expenses.
Instead of going for a taxi (which sometimes charge more when traveling to/from the airport), get an Uber or a Lyft ride.
And if you have a friend who’s available, you can always ask them to drive you. You just might bring them a little something from the trip as a thank-you.