Going on a trip and planning to park your car at the airport?
Air travel is hectic whether you’re going on vacation or on a business trip. There are a lot of things to plan and organize, including your vehicle’s parking space. Going to the airport using your car instead of hiring an Uber or taxi may be more convenient.
Despite its conveniences, you have to watch out for any airport parking mistakes. Being unprepared can leave you in a bad and expensive parking spot or even cause you to miss your flight.
The car you’ll leave behind is as important as your travel documents. Knowing it’s secure can ensure a stress-free airport experience and travel. Read on to know 7 common airport parking mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Not Booking a Parking Spot in Advance
Looking for a spot in smaller airports can be a breeze. Yet, in major hubs, airport parking spaces are scarce.
Failing to reserve a spot in advance can lead to a parking nightmare on the day of your flight. You’ll have to compete with other cars for a decent spot or, worse, find no spot at all.
Reserving a parking spot in advance is also crucial because the cheaper lots fill up fast. Contact the airport well ahead of your flight and confirm your parking reservation.
If all spaces are already booked, look for offsite parking sites that are still near the airport. Plan ahead with another service, too, so you can ensure your vehicle is safe.
2. Parking Too Far From the Departure Gate
Airport parking can be confusing. This is especially true in the larger parking spaces of major hubs. Choosing a spot that’s too far from your departure gate is one of the common airport parking mistakes.
Parking far from the gate means you’ll need to account for the time to traverse the distance. You’ll either have to arrive at your spot way early or use the shuttle service to get inside fast. If not, you’ll be walking this distance to check-in and get ready for your flight on time.
Going over the airport’s parking lot map before arriving is the best way to avoid this hassle. Find your airline’s departure gate and park as close as you can to it.
3. Not Knowing the Airport Parking Rates
Many car owners get surprised upon their return when they find how much the parking space costs. As a rule, the longer you park your car in airport parking spaces, the more it will cost.
Knowing the parking costs is important if you’re leaving your vehicle in the parking lot for a long time. It’s best to check long-term airport parking rates. You can find the total cost of leaving your vehicle parked for the duration of your trip.
Most airports will have their long-term parking rates posted clear on their website. Check the rates to know how much money you need to pay when you return from your trip.
4. Failing to Secure Your Vehicle
Making sure the items inside your vehicle are secure is necessary whenever you park. This is crucial, especially if you plan to leave your car in the airport parking lot for long durations.
Make sure to lock the car and the trunk and never leave any valuables in clear view. Use a sunshade to hide the interior and protect your dashboard. Avoid leaving anything valuable, so you don’t return to a broken-in car.
It’s also important to make sure that your vehicle will be in good driving condition when you return. Get your car checked before leaving it for long-term parking. You don’t want to return from a long trip to find your car unable to start with a dead battery.
5. Not Exploring Other Options
It can happen that an airport’s parking spaces are completely full on the day of your flight. Onsite airport parking spaces also tend to be more expensive. In these cases, considering other options can be good.
There’s no beating the convenience of onsite airport parking. Yet offsite parking services are worth considering. They’re close to the airport and can guarantee a safe parking space.
If you’re looking to save money on parking fees, offsite services offer huge cost savings. You only need to plan ahead and make sure you have enough time to commute from the offsite lot to your flight.
6. Going for the Cheapest Provider
Airport parking rates can be expensive, and finding cheaper offsite lots may be wiser. Yet pricing and lower rates shouldn’t be your only consideration. An airport parking company should also guarantee your vehicle’s security.
A parking lot with minimal security can make your car an ideal target for criminals while you’re away. This could mean theft of your belongings inside the car or stripping of parts for resale. Your vehicle might also fall victim to random destruction or vandalism.
You’ll want assurance that your vehicle will be in the same condition you left it upon your return. The cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best deal. There should be a combination of reasonable pricing, security, and safety assurances.
7. Failing to Account for Security Checkpoints
Smaller airports may not have security checkpoints for vehicles. It can be a hassle to get stuck in a security checkpoint line. It can also cause you to be late for your flight.
It’s best to account for this potential delay. Check if your airport has these types of checkpoints.
If there are, then you’ll want to leave early so you can still catch your flight even if you get stuck in a line. Leaving at least an hour and a half early is a good rule of thumb when parking at the airport.
Avoid These Airport Parking Mistakes
There are many conveniences to airport parking. Yet, there are also many airport parking mistakes that can make the day of your flight a nightmare. Not preparing for your parking space is something you’ll want to avoid.
Want to know more tips about airport parking? Check out our other guides here in this section.