The plane tickets are purchased, the vacation days are set, the mail is on hold and somebody will be by to water the plants. Every detail of your coming trip is handled, except for the question of what to do with your car. If you are unable to get a ride to and from the airport, parking becomes a factor. Then comes the inevitable question: should you leave your car at the airport or choose an off-site lot?
Both obviously have their advantages in security, be it personal guards or surveillance cameras, yet one must take into consideration other factors before deciding who will watch over your car while you’re away. Just as you have carefully planned every detail of your vacation, so you should research the needs for items left behind.
Price: More than likely an airport lot will have a set fee for extended stay parking, estimated these days to be anywhere from ten to fifteen dollars depending upon the airport. Offsite private lots may be able to beat those prices, and in addition offer coupons and discounts to travelers (senior discounts, auto club, etc.). Call and compare pricing for various lots near you and see the difference.
Amenities: With an airport lot, oftentimes you leave your car and it sits. While it may be a comfort to know that nobody will come near your car while you are away, it might not always be a bad thing if somebody does. Some offsite lots offer amenities airport lots do not, including detailing and battery charging. Check with the parking lots to see which offers what services.
You may think parking at the airport gives you the advantage of proximity. However, if you are forced to park a good distance from your terminal and walk with a cumbersome amount of luggage, you may not feel so lucky. True, there are shuttles, but not every airport may offer shuttle service from their parking lots (smaller airports in particular). Offsite lots, however, are more likely to offer regular transportation to and from your terminal, allowing you to make an easier transition.
With dedicated research to your parking options, you will be able to make an informed decision about long-term parking. With your car in a secure lot, you can ease your mind and enjoy your trip.
Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer whose travel writing have appeared on numerous travel related websites, including Park Atlanta (http://www.parkatlanta.com), long-term parking for Atlanta, and The Grand Summit Hotel (http://www.grandsummit.com), a New Jersey luxury hotel.