We’ve all been there. You get a fantastic deal on your holiday with cheap flights and low cost accommodation only to get stung by airport parking charges to the point where they actually turn out to be more expensive than your flights. Then you have that horrible dilemma of which car park to put your car in. Should you opt for the cheaper long term carpark knowing that you’ll have to get one of those buses to the terminal? Do you go for the much handier short term carpark knowing you’ll probably need to remortgage your house to pay for it? Tricky. Then there are the unofficial offsite car parks. Are they for real? Where will your car end up? Will it still be there when you get back? Very tricky indeed. As such, here are some tips for getting the best deals on airport parking.
This is the number one tip, really. Booking your airport parking in advance makes such a big difference to the price and avoids any last minute indecision about the best place to park. The Telegraph newspaper recently pointed out that you could pay over £200 to park your car for a week in August at Heathrow airport in their long term car park if you paid when you exited the car park but could get this down to under £85 in the same car park by booking in advance. Similarly, at Gatwick, the prepaid price is around £89 while the drive up price is about £125. These prices are subject to fluctuations but they all work out cheaper if you book at least 24 to 48 hours in advance.
You’d be forgiven for assuming that price comparison sites will be cheaper than going directly to the official airport parking websites but that isn’t always the case. It’s well worth checking both as there are sometimes deals to be had with either option but the comparison sites often offer better deals at offsite car parks.
Get a package
If you’re flying at some horrendous hour of the morning or just like to arrive at the airport feeling super chilled, you might like to book into an airport hotel the night before you fly and, if you do this, you can get a better deal on your parking if you opt for a hotel and parking package together than booking them separately. Something to be aware of here, however, is how frequent and how expensive the shuttle bus between the hotel and the terminal is.
Don’t write off the short stay car park
By booking a few weeks in advance, it’s possible to get deals on using the short stay carpark or a valet service that is only fractionally more expensive than the long term carpark and will save you from that sinking feeling of watching the minutes to your departure time ticking down while you’re waiting for the bus to take you to the terminal.
Parking in an offsite carpark can offer substantial savings but not all of them are trustworthy so it is worth checking them out thoroughly online. The parkmark.co.uk website is useful for checking if they have adequate security and quality practices.
Dig for deals
Shop around to see if there are any special offers or discounts available. The holidayextras.co.uk website will allow you to claim money back or park for free if you can find cheaper parking elsewhere and parkbcp.co.uk offer discount vouchers for people who sign up to receive emails from them.
Don’t be in a hurry is a good tip when booking your airport parking as booking well in advance and shopping around could save you a lot of money. For great value travel insurance, ERV have a range of policies to suit your needs. Begin your quote here.