Traveling can be expensive, and when budgeting for your trips, the last thing you want to do is blow a load of money on parking your car before you’ve even taken off. You want to pay as little as you can while still knowing that your vehicle will be safe, ready and waiting for you when you return. Airports are well aware of this and can quote some pretty hefty prices to ensure your wheels are secure and it’s a huge income stream for them. Fortunately though, there are ways to save. We’ve listed some top tips on how to save on airport parking and have more to spend on your travels.

Book in Advance

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Planning your parking in advance is a sure way to save money. Drive-up rates at airports are always inflated. Although you might want to hold out to see if there is a deal or promotion, never turn up at the airport without booking. It’s best to make sure you have reserved your parking at least 24 to 48 hours before you’re due to arrive. Even if you pre-book, leaving it until the day before might mean you get charged drive-up prices anyway.

Shop Around

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You probably won’t find the best price for parking on the airport’s official website. It’s a good place to start though, so take a look to get a benchmark price and then shop around. Price comparison sites, such as Cheap Airport Parking, allow you to get a range of quotes from different providers and sum up the benefits of each. Some of these will offer on-site parking whereas others will be off-site requiring a shuttle service or transfer. Make sure you read all the details so you’re sure what you’re looking at will work for your trip. Although you want to save money, you also want to make sure parking is as easy as it can be.

Hunt for Discounts

There are loads of ways that you can profit from discount codes, coupons and rewards schemes for airport parking. Check the terms and conditions of comparison sites, some will give you money back if you find parking cheaper elsewhere. Many comparison sites also offer you discount coupons if you’re happy to register for offers. Even sites like Groupon can have discounts available for airport parking. Think about how you pay too. Pay with a credit card that gives you a bonus on parking charges and take a look at parking offers for frequent flyer miles. Don’t forget to check directly with the airport as well, as you never know what deals they might have on offer.

Consider Your Options

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You don’t have to simply choose the official on-site parking lot. There are off-site car parks that offer airport transfers and meet and greet services, where you leave your car at the airport and someone parks it for you off-site. If you’re thinking about a hotel stay near the airport before you fly, then you may be able to leave your car at the hotel and take a shuttle or taxi to the airport. If this isn’t free, then hotels often offer a park and fly package. You can check with the hotels directly or a comparison site like Park Fly Sleep. There are even options like Travelcar, a car sharing provider where you basically loan your car out while you’re away and earn money instead of paying it out.

Leave the car at Home

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This may seem obvious, but the best way to save money on airport parking is not to take the car at all. If you live reasonably close to the airport see if a friend can drop you off there. You’ll also save the time and hassle of parking, which can be a major win if you’ve got kids in tow. If you don't have someone to drop you off, then check out other transport options. Whether it be Uber or a taxi, it may well be cheaper than the cost of parking your car.