Planning and booking a vacation isn’t easy – and it also isn’t cheap. You have to budget for the cost of your airfare, your hotel or resort, your food and activities. You even have to factor in fees for luggage. And you can’t forget to think about how you’ll pay to safely and securely park your car.
If you’re planning on driving yourself to the airport, you’ll need a place that’s able to keep your vehicle for anywhere from one day to a few weeks. Unfortunately, many airport parking lots charge sky-high fees that can add up quickly. But if you know the right tips and tricks, you may be able to score cheap or discounted airport parking rates.
Here are a few ways you may be able to cut the cost of airport parking while you’re away on your next trip.
Use Your Travel Rewards Credit Card Perks
Some of the most popular credit cards available today are travel rewards cards. These credit cards give you points for travel-related purchases – like airport parking.
And once you’ve accumulated points, you’re able to cash them in as rewards to score discounts on travel purchases. Many people already know you can use those rewards points for free or discounted flights and hotel stays. But did you know that you can use them at airport parking facilities too?
Cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Citi Premier all allow cardholders to earn rewards points on airport parking lots and garages. And you can also cash in those points to score a discount on your next parking reservation at participating facilities.
Some credit cards – both the travel rewards kind and others – even offer discounts for airport parking. For example, American Express cardholders can use their credit card to score a Park N’ Fly discount when offers are available through Amex Offers. Or, if you have a Mastercard small business card, you can also get an automatic 10 percent discount at ParkRideFly USA.
Stay at Hotels Near the Airport
Another way to save on airport parking is to book a night at a hotel near the airport. Even if you’re local, you may want to consider spending the night before your flight at a hotel just for free parking.
Some hotels offer free short- or long-term parking for travelers. With your reservation, you’ll get to leave your vehicle in the hotel’s lot and take a free shuttle to the airport. But, in order to take advantage, you’ll need to look for hotel offers or packages that specifically include free parking.
For example, some Marriott hotels offer Park Here, Fly There packages that include up to 14 days of parking with a one-night stay. Choice Hotels also offers Stay and Fly packages at certain airport hotels, which let you park for free for the duration of your trip.
Even non-chain hotels may offer deals or packages like these. Check with hotels near the airport you’ll be flying out of to see if it’s cheaper to book a room for night in order to score free parking.
Get Your Car Detailed While You’re Traveling
Did you know that paying for an auto detail service might actually be the key to scoring free airport parking?
It sounds crazy, but it’s a unique way to score parking without having to pay more. Some auto detail services and companies will offer detailing packages. And, if you get your car detailed, you’ll be able to skip paying for parking.
The key is finding an auto detail service that’s close to the airport, offers a free shuttle service, and won’t charge extra for parking. For example, Go Auto Outlet near the Edmonton International Airport offers this kind of service. You can choose a certain detailing package, have your vehicle detailed while you’re away, and utilize the Park N’ Fly valet and shuttle service.
Check out detailing companies near the airport you’ll be flying out of to see if this is offered in your area.
Look Into Your Memberships
Certain memberships offer special perks. And, if you’re a member of the right organizations, you may be able to score savings on your airport parking.
AAA is probably the most popular membership with these kinds of discounts and perks. Anyone who’s a paying AAA member can use their card to save at certain airport parking facilities across the U.S. For example, AAA members can save 10 percent every day when booking a parking stay at The Parking Spot.
You can check any other memberships you’re a part of, such as rewards programs or loyalty programs. These may offer discounts, coupon codes, or special limited-time offers for airport parking in your area. Don’t forget to take a look before booking anything.
Search Online Before You Travel to Save on Airport Parking
The quickest way to find current offers, deals, and discounts on airport parking is to search online. All of the latest travel offers can be found online, whether you’re looking for airline tickets or budget-friendly parking. So why not search to see what’s available in your area right now?
Many parking facilities near airports offer coupon codes and special limited-time offers. You’ll only find out about these coupon codes if you’re a frequent traveler. But you can also find them with a quick search online. Parking lots will offer their latest coupon codes on their websites, and sometimes also through discount sites like Groupon.
When it comes to travel and transportation, prices and offers are changing frequently. In the months and weeks leading up to your departure date, continue to take a few seconds to do an online search. This will ensure you’re up-to-date on the latest parking options and their most current pricing. And it gives you the opportunity to make last-minute changes if you find a lower price at any airport parking facility.
Cheap and discounted airport parking is out there. You just have to take the time to look for it.