When you hop on a plane and head off on vacation, you're leaving something valuable behind – your car. And if you don't have someone to drop you off at the airport, you'll be entrusting your car to the care of an airport parking garage. If that makes you nervous, or if you've paid too much or had a bad experience with parking before, there may be some things that you can do to ensure that your next airport parking experience is a good one. Take a look at a few tips that can help.
Paying to park is always a concern, especially if you're going to be going on a long trip. A long-term parking bill can increase your vacation bill significantly, so it's not a bad idea to save a few dollars if you can. Start by looking into private off-airport parking in the vicinity of your airport. Not only are off-airport parking lots often less expensive than the ones at the airport, they also usually offer the perk of being able to reserve your spot ahead of time, which is not as common in airport based parking lots. This simple airport parking tip means you'll save money and you'll have less stress because you won't have to worry about finding a parking spot.
Timing your flights correctly can save you a whole day's worth of parking payments. When you leave for your vacation, take the last flight out. But on your way home, book an early flight. Also, try searching for vacation packages that include airport parking. Sometimes you'll pay less when the parking is included with your hotel and car rental and airplane ticket costs. Be sure to break the package down by item and compare costs to make sure that you're really getting a deal before you book.
Airport parking lots and off-airport parking lots all offer security, but that doesn't mean that break-ins don't occur. Even if you think there's nothing of value in your car, auto window glass isn't cheap, and you don't want to have to replace it. That means taking steps to make sure that your car isn't attractive to thieves.
If there's nothing visible that suggests there's something valuable in the car, a thief is much less likely to break in. Remember that a cell phone charger left in the console could be enough to prompt a break-in – the robber might assume that where there's a charger, there's a cell phone. It's not safe to leave junk mail or receipts of any kind in the car either. A potential identity thief may see these types of personal papers as a possible gold mine of exploitable information. The best way to avoid tempting a would-be burglar is to clean out your car completely. While you're in there, make sure that you get rid of any food wrappers or cups as well – those may not tempt a burglar, but they will make your car reek after a few days locked up in the parking lot.
OK, this tip may not revolutionize your airport parking experience, but it will help you improve at least one person's day, and doesn't that make the experience better for you? The tip is: tip your shuttle driver.
Many people don't realize that the drivers of airport parking lot shuttles should be tipped, even though the ride itself is free. A dollar or two is fine for the ride itself. If the driver helps you with your bags, throw in a dollar per bag, just as you would with a hotel bellboy.
Once you have the airport parking situation handled, you can get on with your vacation and stop worrying about your car.