Airport parking doesn't have to be expensive

June 21, 2012 3:11:03 PM PDT
It's one of the last things you think about when headed out of town on a trip: the price of airport parking. But depending on where you decide to leave your vehicle, it could cost you a lot of money. So we did some digging to find out the cheapest options when it comes to airport parking.

It's no shock that the longer you stay, the more you'll have to pay. Sometimes, that means paying hundreds of dollars to park at or near the airport. But we found airport parking for as little as $3 a day, and you may be surprised to learn where.

"In a perfect world, I think we spend enough on airline tickets as it is and we shouldn't have to pay," one traveler told us.

When it comes to passenger parking at the airport, it's anything but free. But planning ahead can save you a lot of money.

So what are your options for parking at or near Bush Intercontinental Airport for a weeklong trip?

First option is the parking garage at the airport.

"Convenience, I love convenience and actually when I travel with my husband, we park the car in the short term, which costs triple the money, but we walk right from the short term to the gate. So that's what I like," one traveler told us.

While it is quite convenient, it's going to cost you -- $17 a day. For one week, that means you'll pay $119.

Option 2: Those parking lots just outside the airport where passengers have to wait for shuttles to pick them up and drop them off at the terminal.

"We've used it before. It's kind of simple and easy," one traveler said.

And a little less expensive than airport garages. For one week, prices range from about $32 to nearly $100. Keep in mind, you'll pay extra money for covered parking.

"It's convenient and it was close, so we're happy with that," another traveler told us.

The final option is the cheapest and one it seems few people know about: parking at nearby airport hotels. We found a website where you can make reservations to park your vehicle for $3 a day. That makes their cheapest rate for seven days $21.

So what's the catch? As prices go down, inconvenience goes up.

With hotel parking, there are fewer spaces available, the shuttle runs less frequently and in some cases, there is less security. But if you are really stretching your dollar, this may be the best option for you. As for those parking lots, the rates vary. Some rates are cheaper if you book them online.

It's a good idea to check with each hotel first, but for many of those hotels there is no time limit. One hotel told us one passenger parked for a six-week trip.


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