What is the Best Way to Park at the Airport?

airport parking options

We at The Valet Spot, recently had the pleasure of connecting with Rebecca, the Community Manager for Airportparkingreservations.com, which is a service that helps travelers find convenient, affordable off-airport parking.

Since we love all things parking and we do quite a bit of travelling, we wanted to have her on the blog to educate us on the different options we have when it comes to parking at the airport.

airport parking options

Know before you Go. Planning a trip soon? Don’t forget to look into the different airport parking options discussed below.

Here is what Rebecca had to say:

When it Comes to Airport Parking, You Have More Options than You Think

Whether traveling for work or pleasure, navigating the growing number of airport parking options can be a challenge. We’ve got a breakdown of what’s available, pros and cons, and a few great ideas you may not even know about!

1. On-airport parking

Pretty straightforward – you drive to the terminal and follow the signs for long term parking. You’ll either self-park and take a shuttle to the terminal, or opt for valet service  – something more and more airports are offering – which can include additional benefits like baggage handling or curbside pickup on your return.

When using the airport’s parking services, there are a few things to watch out for. First, cost. Parking at the terminal comes at a premium, and is usually the most expensive option. Second, availability. Most on-airport parking is first-come, first served, so if the lot is full, you may be left scrambling for an alternative. Third, logistics. Most major airports have several lots to choose from, each with different rates, distances to the terminal, and restrictions on how long you can park. The resulting confusion can cause anything from a parking ticket to a missed flight, so make sure you’re familiar with the details ahead of time.

2. Off-airport parking

This option means parking at a private parking facility close to the airport, and taking a shuttle to the terminal. In addition to self-parking, these facilities may offer expanded options like valet service with curbside dropoff and pickup (you drive directly to the terminal and are met by a representative who parks your car, then meets you at the terminal when you return) and maintenance services like car washes and minor repairs.

This option offers two big advantages over parking at the terminal; Lower rates, and the ability to reserve a space in advance. Many lots accept reservations directly, but ‘aggregator’ sites like AirportParkingReservations.com allow travelers to compare rates, reviews, and features for a variety of parking facilities before making a reservation.

3. Airport hotel & parking packages

One option many travelers haven’t considered is a Park Sleep Fly package, which means spending a night at a hotel near the airport either before your departure or after your return, and leaving your car parked at the hotel while you’re gone.

This option is especially appealing to those with very early departures or late returns, and those who live several hours’ drive from the airport. The stress of an early departure is replaced by an easy, free shuttle ride to the terminal, or a relaxing night at the hotel upon your return, easing the transition back into post-trip life.

Hotels often offer valet service, including many of the same amenities offered by off-airport parking facilities. And travelers may be surprised to learn that the cost of these packages is often less than they’d pay to park at the terminal. (For example, Toronto airport hotel and parking packages are available for as little as $99, O’Hare hotel packages can be as low as $75, and hotels near Detroit airport offer packages as low as $70, each including 7-14 days’ parking.)

Which option is the best fit will depend on the specifics of your trip and priorities, so the most important step in ensuring stress-free airport transportation is remembering to plan ahead!

Rebecca Metz is Community Manager for AirportParkingReservations.com and ParkSleepFly.com.


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