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Zen, and the Art of Finding Parking on New Year's and other Holidays, Events, Festivals...

Updated on April 29, 2016

Working on New Year's Eve, and a Few Tips to Avoid Exchanging Your Paycheck for a Parking Spot

Last night was New Year's Eve. Happy New Year! I celebrated in a pretty cool way this year. Usually I'm at home watching TV, but today (or last night night/ early this morning) I brought 2016 in with Willie Nelson and Kacey Musgraves to name a few. I went to a concert in Austin where they were playing, and it was free for me to attend... because I work at the venue. Pretty sweet deal when you work at concert venue. Even if you have to work on holidays, I think the perks pay off in the end.

However, a few free shows a week doesn't translate into pocket change needed when you're at work. I'm an usher, so I'm paid under $10 an hour, and if parking is $20 an hour you're not only volunteering your first few hours of work just so you can put your car somewhere, but you're stressing over whether or not you have cash parking attendants each night. The cost of parking downtown every night can add up, and though the experience of working at a concert is pretty awesome, that experience does not materialise into dollar bills to pay for high parking costs night after night.

Take last night for example. I worked the same show on the nights of the 29th, 30th, and 31st. It was Willie Nelson and Family on New Year's; a three-day show. The lineup was the same each night. And, I parked in the same parking garage each time. On the 29th the rate was $10. That was affordable. I had $10 in cash. Mind you, this parking garage only accepts cash, and I started parking at this particular garage because the usual rate is $5 for the night. (Pretty good compared to the $17-$18 my old garage recently raised rates to.) The next night the rate was $10 for the night again. I figured that, because it was New Year's week the rate was a few dollars higher. That was okay. I was used to the rate changing from $5 to $7 then going back to $5 a night at this garage. (I understand that this week they wanted to capitalize on the holiday and make a little extra. The other garages were probably doing the same, and $10 is still really good.) So I went back again the next night on Dec. 31st. Why was the rate $20.00? I told the parking attendant that I didn't have $20, and that I park here all the time -- that I was here for work -- I showed him the uniform logo on my shirt. He didn't let up, so I gave him all the cash I had on me, luckily adding up to $20.00.

Now, if you came to see the show, you would probably only come one night but since I was working the show parking added up to $40.00 in just three days. That's an entire shift's earnings. So, in this case I would need to work 3 days to be paid for 2. Parking is an issue.

After last night I decided to try and find some better ways of predicting what rate I'll see on the signs of parking garages before I turn in. I want to share what I found with you. This will probably help you out, too. BookMark this Hub for quick access to parking links, apps, and notes on experiences with each link or map. I will be updating my experiences as I try them out.

  1. First, I went to http://austintexas.gov/page/parking-spots-downtown. There I found a map of street parking zones, and was also introduced to a tool called ParkMe.
  2. Then I went to google and plugged in "Parking Downtown Austin." There it was again. ParkMe. I clicked, and I found something there that I will probably use from now on before I go to work. ParkMe allows you to search for garages around where you want to go. It gives you the walking distance from the parking garage to your destination, and also tells you the rate, and if credit cards are accepted.
  3. There have been times when I can't find a parking spot in a garage. ParkMe has a way for you to reserve a spot! Click the parking garage in which you want to park, then click "reserve a spot here." That link will take you to a different site called ParkWhiz. At ParkWhiz you can select a date and time when you want to park, and book the reservation. I'll make another Hub on my experience after using these sites, but in theory, this looks awesome!


Photo by:  James Mosley
Photo by: James Mosley | Source

BookMark this Hub to Find Parking Year Round in Any City

BestParking.com allows you to pick a city, pick a location, and calculate your total rate for the date and time you intend to park. The best feature of this site is that it allows you to see a comparison of rates on a map for the area in which you will want to park.

Parkopedia also give you a map to compare rates. The key breaks parking down into Garage, Street, and Private, and the site also links you to ParkWhiz where you can Book a reservation.

I haven't tried them yet, but this year might be the year I do. Parking Apps! You can find a list of parking apps to try out, here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bestparking&hl=en


Your Parking Experiences

Where do you find the most success in frugal and safe parking?

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Austin's the Live Music Capital of the World

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