Finding the best airport parking and getting to the airport can be stressful.

Should you take an Uber, but what if they’re late?

Did you forget a bag at home like we did one time?!

Why is airport parking so expensive and where’s the cheapest place to find the best airport parking?

No matter how much you try, there’s just no getting around the stress.

But if you plan ahead and consider all your options to get to the airport, we might be able to save you some aggravation and help you keep more money in your pocket for your trip!

So what are your options when flying domestic or international? 

airport parking

There’s always public transportation, like a bus, train, subway or trolley, or even trying to hail a taxi.

But those can be unreliable.

Try Italy, for example. The whole country functions on running late, I think ;-).

Driving yourself and parking may ultimately be the least stressful option, especially if you’re concerned about running late.

Here’s how to make the most of your airport parking experience from the cost to timing and more.

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10 Tips to Find the Best Airport Parking

Airport Parking

Whether you’re looking for San Diego Airport parking or New York’s JFK Airport parking, if you follow these 10 tips, we’re pretty sure you’ll find a new appreciation for driving yourself and parking at the airport.

1. Search and Compare

Use a parking comparison site like, which lets you search for available parking spots at or near the airport.

With Travelcar, you can view the locations on a map, read reviews from past customers, compare prices so you can find the best deal and instantly book the option that’s best for you right then and there.


2. Book a Car Wash or Oil Change

airport car wash

Did you know some airport parking lots will do things like fill your car up with gas, wash it, do an oil change or even detail it? Yup! 

If you’re strapped for time (aren’t we all?!), this is a great opportunity to have some work done on your car while you’re away.

Score one for productivity!

These services are not free, but can be handy if you’re willing to pay a little extra.


3. Check Timing Recommendations for Shuttle/Transfer Time

best airport parking - shuttles

Look for information on sites like for information on the transfer time, like how often the shuttle arrives and how long it takes to get to the airport from the lot. 

Make sure you check this information, as it will help you determine what time you should arrive at the parking lot so you don’t add any further stress :).


4. Safety First

airport parking security camera

To ensure your safety and the safety of your car, look for lots that provide security cameras, indicate they are gated or have 24/7 patrol or guard. 


5. Book Online and in Advance

airport parking book ahead

Is airport parking cheaper ahead?

If you know your departure dates and can book in advance, generally the further in advance you book, the better the rate you’ll get.

The closer you get to your departure date, especially around holiday weekends or peak travel seasons, rates will increase.

Don’t wait till the last minute!


6. Use Promo Codes and Coupons

coupon clipping

Sign up for emails with sites like Travel Car to score a discount or coupon to save on your parking costs.

For example, TravelCar sends out two promo codes a month, which is great for all my readers who travel A LOT! 


7. Consider Parking AT the Airport

best airport parking

Where do you park your car when flying?

Airports typically offer several types of parking priced according to distance from the terminal, whether or not the lot is covered, as well as if it’s short term, daily or long term.

If you have a lot of luggage or are pressed for time, consider the airport’s short-term parking.

It’s a convenient option, but you pay the price for the convenience. 

Additionally, we found during one trip this winter where temperatures were sub-zero and there was snow in Indianapolis while we traveled to Florida, that paying for the covered lot in the airport parking was worth the few extra bucks! 

Additionally, though it may be slightly cheaper to park at a nearby lot instead of AT the airport itself, consider if that’s really worth the few dollars you’ll save.

Finally, some airports, like my home airport of Indianapolis International, even have loyalty programs that grant you savings after spending a certain amount on parking and automatically charge a card on file so you don’t have to wait in a long line to pay to exit.


8. Consider Meet and Greet Luxury Options

airport parking driver

If you’re looking for an upscale experience, try a “Meet and Greet” parking option.

This is where you’re met at the terminal drop-off area by a driver who then parks your car for you.

Upon your arrival, you call the driver to bring your car back to the terminal.

Talk about being treated like royalty! So wonderful :). 


9. Book a Park ‘n Fly

park sleep and fly

If you have a really early flight, the last thing you want to do is drive to the airport at 2 in the morning. 

Try booking an airport hotel with parking, called a park ‘n fly, that will shuttle you to the airport at those early morning hours.

The hotels usually ask when you’re returning to pick up the car when you check in and then charge you a small additional fee for the daily parking.

You can also have the hotel wake you up with a wake-up call and stress less, because you’re already so close to the airport.

No one wants to gamble on driving to Chicago, for example, the day your flight leaves (at least I don’t!).


10. Use a Parking App

Car Rental SPG Starpoints

What is the best parking app?

There are a number of parking apps, but I like TravelCar for how it presents multiple parking options in one view with complete transparency of prices and reviews.

Plus, you can also book a rental car with them, if you need it, at your destination. It’s a win-win!

What tips do you have for smooth parking at or near the airport before you travel? 


This post is sponsored by Travel Car, but all opinions are our own. 

For more information about sponsoring a post on, email lyn AT


  • Lyn Mettler

    Lyn Mettler is a longtime travel writer for US News & World Report, USA Today 10Best and The TODAY Show who created Families Fly Free, a program which teaches families her simple system to use travel rewards to fly for free.

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