Hopping in your car with the family en route to the airport should be a precursor to the exciting trip you’re about to face. However, in between fastening your seatbelts and arriving at your dream destination sits the inevitable challenges of finding airport parking.
In hindsight, accomplishing something as mundane as parking should be a straightforward approach – you drive to the airport, park your vehicle, and head on to the departure area. The convenience of having your car ready as you wrap up your vacation is supposed to be the cherry on top of the icing, especially for a travelling family – but what happens beforehand tells a different story.
Alex Robbins of The Telegraph compares an airport parking space to a real minefield, considering how carefully you pace and scour the area to look for an appropriate spot. There’s also the factor of cost, as some, particularly in London’s busy landing fields such as Heathrow and Gatwick, tend to go overboard in terms of the price.
To give you an outline on the subject, destination expert Sophie Butler did a comparative study on the difference between booking airport parking ahead of time and going in unprepared. Say you’re flying from the Heathrow Airport, an unprepared weeklong stay can set you back £195.10 (£29.90 on the first day, and £23.60 for every succeeding 24-hour period). You can cut that cost by more than half – dropping it down to a more reasonable £82 – by simply reserving a spot one to two days before your schedule flight.
Now that you have an overview of the cost-cutting techniques and the ideal time to reserve, the next step is to determine which airport parking provision suits your family. Industry leaders often differentiate this into four categories: on-airport, off-airport, meet-and-greet, and airport hotel with parking. From here, you can fully understand the pros and cons of each, and determine which one best suits you.
For travelling families, the safest and most popular choice would either be the on-airport or the off-airport, as both of them feature cheap and convenient self-parking options. Since the former’s facilities are typically situated within an airport’s compound, transfers usually take no more than five minutes – with some within walking distance of the terminal. Other than the location, on-airport parking saves you valuable time, especially if you and your family are on a tight schedule. Off-airport parking presents a cheaper and a simpler alternative. All you have to do is make your way to the airport, leave your keys at the reception area, and hop on the free shuttle to the terminal.
On the other hand, meet-and-greet and airport hotel with parking lean towards the more premium services most international aviation hubs offer. To put things simply, the first one is a valet provision, in which a chauffeur service zürich transfers your vehicle to an exclusive car bay, as you wrap up all your pre-boarding requirements in the airport. Upon your return, your car will automatically be ready just outside the terminal. Airport hotel with parking is like hitting two birds with one stone. From the name itself, you get an accommodation package that includes an ideal – not to mention secluded – space for your vehicle. Normally, this provision works well for business travellers, as well as passengers with early morning or late night flights.
Though it neither hovers above the top priorities of travelling nor calls for a handful of social media posts, knowing when to reserve an airport parking space and what type suits you may spell the difference of a successful holiday. At the end of the day, it’s always better to start your family vacation on the right foot by coming in prepared from top to bottom.