Airport parking is notoriously expensive, and it can be extremely difficult to find a spot that’s both affordable and convenient.
The airports themselves will often jack up prices to park around peak times like Christmas, with one report revealing that Luton Airport near London increased parking fees by 42% to over £120 for 24 hours. However, this still means that a short stay will set holidaymakers back almost £86 to park in a bay for the same amount of time.
Of course, many opt to forgo these parking costs altogether, often choosing to get a taxi before flying out. Airports are becoming increasingly accommodating to PCO drivers, with Hirebrid noting that the majority of major airports in the UK have Authorised Vehicle Areas, which are designed to “keep [taxis] separate from personal vehicles.” These are often located closer to the main entrances and exits to the terminals.
Likewise, park and ride schemes remain popular with those travelling abroad. However, those who insist on driving to and from the airport will be understandably eager to cut their parking costs by as much as possible. Read on for our guide to saving yourself money when you need to park at airports, allowing you to enjoy your well-earned holiday.
Much like every other element of your holiday, the easiest way to pick up some great savings is simply to book a space in advance. In fact, the most cost-effective way to park at an airport is by reserving your space immediately after booking your flights, which could save you up to a third on the extortionate costs usually associated with airport parking. The best deals will often come around the same time that you can get the cheapest flights, such as Black Friday, or during the January sales.
Be mindful of where your space is
Different parking operators will be responsible for specific areas of each airport car park, and many of the cheapest providers’ bays will be extremely far from your terminal. Consequently, if you’re chasing the best deal, you may find yourself facing a relatively long walk to check in. When investigating parking spaces, contact the operator to get details of exactly where in the car park their bays are located, and cross reference on Google Street View to ensure that you’re happy with the distance you’ll have to walk from your car.
Make sure your parking operator is accredited
Beyond checking reviews on Yelp, there are two main sources of accreditation for airport parking operators, which will provide you with some level of guarantee that your car will be safe to leave there. Firstly, check that their website has the Park Mark logo, which denotes that the space has around-the-clock manned guarding, as well as CCTV. For additional certainty that your car will be safe, ask if the provider is a member of the Independent Airport Parking Association. This is an official body which represents over 30,000 spaces in Britain’s airport car parks, and will guarantee that the car park you book with is insured and secured, as well as being officially overseen by the airport itself.
Choose somewhere else to park
Yes, airport parking is theoretically more convenient, but between the potential cost and the distance you might be forced to travel from your car to the terminal, you may be more inclined to find another spot to park at airports. If you do want to consider this option, do your research on where it will be possible to park without the risk of your windscreen being plastered by tickets on your return. Alternatively, as Money Saving Expert points out, you could ask a friend or neighbour to move your car every so often to make sure that you’re dodging any fines, but you must be certain that they have driving other cars cover in place in case they cause any damage to your vehicle.