Saving Money on Airport Parking
How I saved $70 on holiday parking
Well, I don't know if this is great for most. I know it wouldn't work for some. But it brought my parking costs from over $95 to only $22.
OPTION 1 (really would be option 2, but it's the one on my mind first - this is the last minute, improvised ninja move that somehow worked out beautifully in the end but possibly should not have).
My plan was simple on Thanksgiving flying out of Sacramento (SMF). I was just going to arrive 1 hour and 15 minutes before my flight and park in economy parking for $9 a day. Over my 5 day trip, it would be $45, but I could live with that.
I arrive around when I planned only to see a ton of signs saying economy is full. I plead with the lady and she tells me it has been full for days and that my only solution was in fact to park in the $22 a day lot and if nothing was free there, the lower levels which was $29 a day.
This means I was facing $110 for 5 days of parking. No way!
I then decided I would try to find a hotel nearby that had daily parking. And then taxi it to the airport. Driving Eastbound from the airport on the 5S, I took one of the first exits which mistakenly was the 99N. I had an hour until my flight left and fortunately I had checked in online and had only carry-on. I was going to get off at the 1st exit which was Elkhorn and turn around, but I noticed a brand new, nice suburb there on the right. The idea hit me that I would try to just park there for free and call a cab. I found a spot on a nice street next to a long wooden fence of a house that was on the market.I checked all the street signs and there was no street cleaning. No days I could not be parked there.
I wrote down the address, called a cab and was off. Sadly, the cab ride was kind of expensive for only a few miles. Had I called Supershuttle it would have only been $15 bucks. It cost me 21 and I tipped 2. 5 minute ride which felt overcharged.
Had a great time on the trip. On my way back, I decided I would use Supershuttle since it would only be like $15 and overall, looked like I would save a little money even over economy. But it would get better. The nice lady sitting next to me offered to give me a ride to my car. Second time this has happened in the last 2 years.
Got back to my car. Bought her a Starbucks since she had an hour drive home as a thanks. All worked out.
Now, I know this has problems. What if my car was stolen? What if the lady had been a psycho? What if you couldn't find a spot? Well, it worked out for me all last second and improvised. So, maybe you have to be 23 to 35 and single with carry on for this to work. Hope those people enjoy my blog!
OPTION 2: (shady)
My best friend taught me this trick. She had been using it for years and it worked for me.
Flying in and out of LAX, she would park at the Raddison who had a daily rate for long term parking and then take the hotel shuttle to LAX. Going to Vegas or on weekend trips, you generally fly back at night. They don't pay anyone to monitor so one could just pull out for free after 10 despite having been parked there for a weekend, a week, whatever.
It's not perfectly ethical, but it was something.
OPTION 3: (Moral and cost effective)
The way to do this would be to find the places that charge $5 a day and have a free shuttle. Airports I have been tend to charge from $7 to $13 (SFO) for economy parking. if you have time and are going for a week, paying $5 beats $10 any day!
Most hotels list what they charge. Some say that you can do it if you will be staying there. In this case, you can go on a hotel site and book a cheap hotel room for the start or end of your trip. $40 bucks isn't bad if you are taking a 9 day trip.
OPTION 4: (The best)
I live 30 plus minutes from the airport so it's really expensive to get to and from airport from my house and no one wants to drive you. The best option would be if you have a friend who lives nearby you can park with and then buy them lunch to drive you. If they are cool with you parking there, but too busy to drive you, Supershuttle is like $15 bucks each way if within a certain distance.