Discount Airport Parking
How to save money on airport parking
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everywhere. But how to find the best value airport
internet service instantly shops your parking dates and
gives you a range of great value airport parking services to
Although airfares have
generally gone down over the last few years, airport parking
costs have definitely increased, and if you're not careful,
you'll be paying more than $20/day.
Trying to find the best rate at
a convenient parking location close to the airport can be a
massively time consuming and ultimately frustrating effort.
A simple idea
We use internet services to
check just about every other aspect of our travel these days :
airlines, hotels, rental cars, touring and destination
information. But - until very recently - no-one offered a
web shopping service to help people find the cheapest and most
convenient airport parking, and to enable people to make
reservations online, 24/7.
Enter this service offered
(no longer available). Simply choose the city you want to
park your car in, the dates and times you'll drop your car off
and pick it up again, then choose from a selection of different
parking lots and the rates they offer.
What the site does
The APR site helps you
several different ways.
Firstly, it shops a number
of different parking sites to find you the best rate possible.
It quotes you complete rates, inclusive of all taxes, fees, and
other otherwise hidden charges.
Secondly, it gives you
helpful details enabling you to choose which parking lot will
best suit your needs. It gives location information,
frequency of shuttle service, and also shows user ratings (from
one to five stars).
Thirdly, it also checks for
availability at the lots before displaying the results so as to
save you from booking your car into a full lot.
Currently APR can help with
parking reservations in 88 different US cities, 2 Canadian
cities, and 23 UK cities.
The number of airport lots
that can be booked through the APR system of course varies from
airport to airport. For example, in Anchorage, they only
contract with a single parking lot. But in larger cities,
they contract with more - two in Orlando and JFK, four in
Miami, and as many as seven (Atlanta and San Francisco),
or even ten (Seattle).
It also offers combination
hotel/parking deals - see next section.
Hotel package deals too
When I was a travel agent, I
was surprised at the number of people who would choose to spend
the night prior to flying out at an airport hotel.
Some people said they liked
the fact that 'nothing could go wrong' on the day of their
flight; others said they liked the fact they could have a good
night's sleep and get up shortly before check-in time rather
than having a very early morning start and then a stress-filled
fight against rush hour traffic. And some people figured
it to be as cheap, or cheaper, to buy a night of accommodation
to get the free parking that came with it, as to just buy
parking by itself.
Conceivably one could also
stay at the hotel for a night at the end of your journey.
If you've spent a long day traveling to get to your home
airport, arrive late at night, and then have a long drive ahead
of you, this might also be appealing.
If you fall in any of these
categories, you'll be pleased to know that the APR website also
suggests nearby airport hotels offering one night stays combined
with free parking. Years ago, it seemed you could get
almost unlimited free parking with a single overnight stay;
these days, most properties limit you to seven days free
parking, although a few give you 14 days, and the extra day rate
at most of the hotels is usually very fair.
It probably is no longer
cheaper to stay for a night in a hotel so as to benefit from the
associated free/discounted parking, but it is not necessarily
very much more expensive. And you can instantly compare
the cost of parking alone with a combined parking/overnight stay
Sometimes the cheapest rate
isn't the best
You get what you pay for,
with discounted airport parking the same as everything else, it
seems. And so APR helpfully gives you the information you
need to evaluate the different parking services available.
For example, you might find that the place with the lowest rate
only has shuttle buses operating once every 30 minutes, whereas
for only a few dollars more, you can get shuttles every 15
minutes, a convenient saving in time that is definitely worth a
couple more dollars.
They also present a map that
shows the location of all the airport parking locations so you
can see how easy each is to access and how far it is from the
airport. These maps aren't always very useful, though - in
the case of my home airport (Seattle) two of the numbered dots
for parking lots were obscured by other dots on top of them.
However, I could see enough to generally know where all the lots
probably were, and when making reservations, the service then
gives you helpful exact details on how to drive to each lot.
Some lots offer valet
parking, and some lots offer covered rather than open parking.
These issues are also clearly explained on each listing.
All (or almost all) airport
parking lots offer discounts
Paying the full listed price
for airport parking is about as stupid as paying the full
unrestricted fare on the flight you're about to take.
Most travel agencies get
literally boxes full of coupons from several of the airport
parking lots and pass these on to their clients. Often
you'll get coupons in with credit card and other mailings.
And just about every parking lot's website has an internet
special rate, too.
So - on the face of it -
there's nothing new to APR's concept of offering discounted
parking. But how good were their discounts? The only
way to find out was to do some comparison shopping.
(the now defunct service) against high placed listings in a
Google search for 'Seattle Airport Parking' using three
different scenarios for type and duration of stay.
1. Six day stay,
reasonable advance booking
On Wednesday 20 April, I
searched for rates if arriving on Saturday 30 April at 9.15am
and leaving on Friday 6 May at 3.45pm - a total of 5.5 days, and
with ten days advance booking notice.
The APR site offered me 11
different rates, ranging from a low of $42.43 up to a high of
It also suggested eight
different local hotels offering packages combining one night of
accommodation and usually seven days of free car parking.
The first site to appear in
the Google responses was Thriftyparking.com. Going to
their site revealed a web special rate of $11.95/day plus
unspecified fees and taxes, and their site wouldn't quote an
exact rate. So their cost was probably going to be
something over $80 - as much or more than the most expensive of
APR's eleven rates.
The second site -
carparknet.com - looked promising. Although it offered, in
its Google ad, a rate of under $7/day, when I went to the site,
the rate showed as $8, and when I asked for a quote for the test
dates, it calculated this as seven days and the lowest rate
offered was $55.65, and when I clicked on this to try and find
what taxes and fees might be extra, their website crashed
completely. I repeated the exercise, and this time
discovered their lowest rate would be $58.64 - $9.77 a day, a
lot more than advertised. Five of APR's rates were better.
The next Google entry was
for masterparking.com. This was interesting, because
Master Park also appears as one of APRs results. The
Masterpark site's best rate was a web special rate of $61.25
plus unspecified fees and taxes - in other words, a total cost
of at least $68.75. Although this web-special on Master
Park's own site was less than the rate on the APR site, six of
APR's other rates were lower.
The next site was
Seatacpark.com, offering a web special rate of $9.95 a day, plus
8.9% in taxes and $2 in fees, totaling $67.01. Six of
APR's rates were lower.
Overall, APR was clearly the
winner in this comparison with four other sites, offering a
wider range of parking choices and rates as much as $26.32
2. Long stay,
I then tested for a long
stay, booked a month in advance, and asked for rates from
Wednesday 25 May at 7.15am through Thursday 23 June, returning
at 2.30pm - a total of 29.5 days.
APR returned 11 rates,
ranging from a low of $103.50 up to a high of $332.50.
Thrifty's rate was probably
about $306, or possibly $311.
Carparknet's rate was
Seatacpark.com was probably
$110.85. Interestingly, the lowest rate on the APR site
was also using Seatacpark, but APR was offering it for $7.35
In this scenario, APR was
again the clear winner, with better rates and more choices than
the other four sites, and savings of up to $207.50 on this long
3. Rates for a
single day's stay, tomorrow
APR returned the same eleven
rates as before, but this time advised that three of the lots
were sold out for tomorrow. This of course was very
helpful information and could potentially save a lot of anguish
early in the morning! The rates at the other lots ranged
from a low of $9.75 up to a high of $16.
Thrifty's site allowed me to
make a reservation, but did not tell me if space existed or not.
Their rate would probably be just over $15.
Carparknet's rate was
$10.94, and it was again unclear if they had checked
availability or not.
Masterparking.com offered a
$13.16 rate and probably would check availability if I made a
Seatacpark.com offered a
$12.84 rate and had a reservation guarantee that ominously said
'if for some reason your space is not available...' and offered
a free parking compensation if this should happen.
Again, in this final
scenario, APR again won with the best rates and most choices.
Although the savings weren't as substantial, this is to be
expected when you're only spending one day in the lot.
It pays to shop around for airport parking.
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22 Apr 2005, last update
21 Jul 2020
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