Can You Leave Your Car at the Airport Safely? 10 Tips For a Stress-Free Airport Car Parking

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Can you leave your car at the airport? The short answer is yes, you can, but there are other things to consider. 

As an experienced traveler and writer specializing in travel logistics, I’ve gathered some first-hand information to help you answer this common question.

This article aims to answer the main question: Can you leave your car at the airport on a long trip? For many travelers, the convenience of getting to the airport by car is unrivaled, especially when public transport is not an option or taxi prices are high. Understanding the ins and outs of airport parking is essential, especially for those planning extended trips or business travel.

We’ll look at the nuances of airport parking, exploring factors such as cost, security and time limits. Whether you’re a frequent traveler or an occasional vacationer, this guide will provide you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your vehicle while you’re away. Let’s get started!

Should I Leave My Car At The Airport?

When deciding whether to leave your car at the airport, you need to weigh up the pros and cons. Here’s an analysis to help you make an informed choice:

Pros

  • Convenience: By driving yourself, you don’t have to wait for a ride-share or adjust to public transport schedules.
  • Accessibility: Your car is immediately available on your return, simplifying your journey home.
  • Security: Most airport parking lots are guarded, reducing the risk of vandalism.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing exactly where your car is parked can be reassuring.

Cons

  • Cost: Parking fees add up. For example, airport parking can cost up to $30 per day, depending on the location and type of parking.
  • Availability: During peak periods, it can be difficult to find a space.
  • Damage: There is always a risk of accidental damage to your vehicle in a public parking lot.
  • Theft: Despite security measures, car theft is a problem. The NICB report stated that over 1 million vehicles were stolen in 2022 in the United States, which was a 7 percent increase over 2021.
  • Weather conditions: Your car is exposed to the elements, which can lead to weather-related damage.

Each point has its own importance, depending on your personal situation and the specifics of your travel plans. Consider these factors carefully before deciding whether airport parking is the right choice for you.

Some of the priciest airports for parking:

  • LaGuardia Airport (NY): short-term parking near the terminal is $59 per day, while long-term economy parking is $39 per day.
  • Boston Logan International Airport (MA): short-term parking near the terminal costs $70 per day, then $35 after the first day. Long-term economy parking is $26 per day.
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (WA): Short-term parking is $37 per day, while long-term economy parking is $30 per day.
  • San Francisco International Airport (CA): Short-term parking near the terminal costs $36 per day, and long-term parking is $25 per day.
  • New York John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty International Airports: Both have short-term parking at $39 per day and long-term parking at $18 per day.

Here are some of the airports with the lowest parking rates in the U.S.:

  • Des Moines International Airport (DSM), Iowa: Offers a minimum rate of $4 per day for parking.
  • Will Rogers World Airport (OKC), Oklahoma: Minimum rate of $6 per day.
  • Denver International Airport (DEN), Colorado: The minimum daily rate is also $6.
  • Eppley Airfield (OMA), Nebraska: This airport offers the lowest average daily rate at $9.
  • Yeager Airport (CRW), West Virginia: The average daily rate is $10.
  • Sioux Falls Regional Airport (FSD), South Dakota: Tied for third with an average daily rate of $10.50.
  • Clinton National Airport (LIT), Arkansas: The average daily rate is also $10.50.
  • Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), New Mexico: Another airport with an average daily rate of $10.50.

Types of Airport Parking: Short-Term vs. Long-Term

Can You Leave Your Car at the Airport

Understanding the difference between short-term and long-term airport parking is key to making the best decision for your trip.

Short-term parking 

  • Location: Generally located near the terminal for quick access.
  • Duration: Ideal for stays of a few hours to a few days.
  • Cost: Generally more expensive due to convenience factor. For example, [Park On] reports that short-term parking at JFK airport can cost up to $39 per day.
  • Convenience: Perfect for dropping off or picking up travelers.

Long-term parking 

  • Location: Often further from the terminal.
  • Duration: Designed for longer trips, usually a week or more.
  • Cost: More budget-friendly. For example, long-term parking at JFK Airport can cost around $18 a day.
  • Convenience: Less convenient in terms of proximity, but significantly less expensive.

The choice between short-term and long-term parking depends largely on the length of your trip, your budget and your convenience needs. These options offer the flexibility to meet the different needs of travelers.

Long-term parking can be as affordable as $5 per day when booked online in advance, showcasing substantial savings for the well-prepared traveler.

Are Airport Car Parks Safe?

Can You Leave Your Car at the Airport

Airport parking security is influenced by several key factors:

  • Location: The general security of the area where the airport is located can have an impact on the security of its parking lots.
  • Security personnel: The presence of security guards adds a layer of security through regular patrols.
  • Surveillance: CCTV cameras act as a deterrent to theft and vandalism. Many airports equip their parking lots with such systems, as well as alarms.
  • Lighting: Well-lit parking areas are less likely to attract criminal activity and make the area safer for travelers.
  • Fencing: Properly fenced and gated parking areas can significantly reduce unauthorized access.
  • Insurance: Some airports offer insurance coverage for vehicles parked in their facilities. Valet parking at some airports even includes additional benefits such as car washing, tire changing and rotation, as well as insurance in the event of damage or theft.
  • Reputation: The general reputation of airport parking lots can be a good indicator of their safety.

In summary, while airport parking lots generally implement a variety of security measures, travelers need to take these factors into account when choosing where to park. The security features on offer can vary considerably from one airport to another, so it’s always a good idea to do a little research beforehand.

Airport Parking Options: Beyond Official Airport Car Parks

Can You Leave Your Car at the Airport

When it comes to parking for your airport trip, there are several alternatives to the official airport car parks:

  • Off-airport parking: These facilities are usually located close to the airport and often offer better rates than airport parking. Off-airport parking can be more economical, with benefits such as free shuttle service to the airport and loyalty programs for frequent travelers.
  • Hotel parking: Many hotels near airports offer parking services, sometimes at rates as low as $4 a day. Some even offer free parking to their guests, which can result in substantial savings.
  • Private parking: Renting a private parking space through platforms or apps can be a cost-effective and safe option.
  • Car-sharing: Services like car-sharing can be an economical and hassle-free way to get to the airport without worrying about parking.
  • Car rental: Renting a car and returning it to the airport before your flight eliminates parking problems.
  • Public transport: Using public transport such as bus, train or metro can be the most economical option, although it requires more planning.
  • Carpooling: Services like Uber or Lyft are convenient, but costs can vary according to distance and time of day.

Each of these options has its own advantages and considerations, such as cost, convenience and safety. Your choice will depend on factors such as the length of your trip, your budget and your personal preferences. Exploring these alternatives can result in substantial savings and a smoother travel experience.

10 Essential Tips For Long-Term Airport Parking

When you leave your car at the airport for an extended period, it’s essential to be prepared. Here are ten practical tips for a stress-free experience:

  1. Compare online

Before booking, compare prices and availability of different parking options online. Look for special deals, discounts for early booking, or packages that include extra services.

  1. Book in advance

Booking early often comes with lower rates and guarantees a spot, especially during peak travel seasons. Some providers offer cancellation policies, which can be beneficial for changing plans.

  1. Choose reputable parking suppliers

Research parking providers’ reputations through customer reviews and ratings on travel forums and websites. Consider providers accredited by airport authorities or with industry certifications.

  1. Understand conditions and insurance

Review the parking agreement for any restrictions, liabilities, or extra fees. Ensure your car’s insurance policy covers long-term parking. If not, look for parking options that offer additional insurance.

  1. Prepare your car

Perform basic maintenance like checking tire pressure and battery health. Clean your car to prevent long-term dirt buildup and ensure no perishables are left inside.

  1. Remove valuables

Take out electronics, important documents, and personal items. Don’t forget to remove garage door openers or house keys for added security.

  1. Record the condition of the car

Take detailed photos of the exterior and interior, including the odometer and fuel gauge. Note any existing damages or mechanical issues.

  1. Choose a safe parking area

Opt for areas with good lighting, security cameras, and regular patrols. Fenced areas with controlled access points offer additional security.

  1. Keep parking details on hand

Save your parking ticket, confirmation email, and any contact numbers in your phone and keep physical copies in your carry-on. Note down the exact location of your parked car to avoid confusion upon return.

  1. Arrive early

Allow extra time for traffic, parking procedures, and shuttle transfers to the terminal. Check if the parking provider requires a check-in process and factor this into your timing.

By following these tips, your car will be safe and you’ll start your journey stress-free.

Bottom Line

In summary, yes, you can leave your car at the airport. However, it’s essential to consider the various factors we’ve discussed to ensure a hassle-free experience.

Feel free to leave us a comment. Your insights could be incredibly helpful to other travelers having the same experiences. Safe travels!

Check out this article: Packing tips for international travel

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can I leave my car at the airport?

It depends on the airport and the type of parking. Some airports do not have a limit on how long you can leave your car, while others may have a maximum of 30 days or more. You should check with your airport and parking provider before leaving your car for a long time.

How can I find the best deal for airport parking?

You can use online tools and websites to compare prices and availability of different parking options. You can also look for coupons, discounts, and special offers from various parking providers. You can also book your parking spot in advance to secure a spot and save money.

What should I do if my car gets damaged or stolen at the airport?

You should report the incident to the airport and parking provider as soon as possible. You should also contact your insurance company and file a claim. You should have your parking ticket, confirmation email, and photos of your car’s condition as evidence. You should also file a police report if necessary.

How early should I book my airport parking?

Ideally, book as soon as your travel dates are confirmed. Booking early often secures better rates and guarantees a spot, especially during holidays or peak seasons.

What should I do if my flight is delayed and I exceed my booked parking time?

Most airport parking services accommodate flight delays. Inform the parking service of any changes as soon as possible. Extra fees may apply for extended parking times.

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AUTHOR

Hamza is the heart and soul behind Beacherpa. His deep-rooted passion for travel and a particular fondness for beach destinations inspired him to convert his enthusiasm into a flourishing online resource.

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