Travellers could shave hundreds of pounds off the cost of parking a car at the airport by booking airport parking in advance, according to new research.
Holidaymakers who turn up at Heathrow Airport on 3 April face having to pay £288.00 to park for eight days in a long-stay car park. However, those who book in advance could pay just £49.95, according to research by travelsupermarket.com.
The website also estimates that by driving past the short-stay car park and choosing the long-stay option, holidaymakers could save an average of £79.30 per car.
Bob Atkinson, travel expert from travelsupermarket.com, said: “We advise customers not to chance it by turning up to park without checking ahead online to see if a pre-booked option is cheaper.”
Meanwhile, Airport Parking and Hotels (APH), an airport parking and travel extras website, has warned holidaymakers to watch out for extra charges such as cancellation and amendment fees. Others will charge extra if you pay by credit or debit card.
It has compiled a table of these charges and fees on its website.
HOW TO BEAT RIP-OFF AIRPORT PARKING COSTS
1. Book ahead
Not only will pre-booking a parking space save you money, it will also ensure you are guaranteed a parking space.
2. Find a local car park
Spend some time researching other parking facilities in the area of your airport, bearing in mind how regular airport transfers are especially if you have a very late or early inbound or outbound flight.
Off-airport parking tends to work out cheaper, although transfer times will probably take longer. To find alternative car parks, try airport-parking.co.uk.
3. Consider other alternatives
If you are happy to pay a bit more, then consider the different services on offer. For example, many airports have a valet service where you meet a driver at the airport who will take your car to the car park – eliminating the need for a transfer.
4. Avoid cancellation fees
Most airport parking facilities allow you to purchase a cancellation waiver for as little as £1, which will ensure you get all your money back if you decide to terminate your trip.
5. Hire a car
Car hire could work out cheaper for travellers heading off on longer trips. The benefit is that you can pick up a car at a local depot, drop it off at the airport and then vice versa on your way home.
Or, get some quotes from local taxi firms and see if letting someone else drive you might work out cheaper.
6. Public transport
Unreliable, dirty and expensive as it is often considered to be, public transport can often be the easiest way to catch your flight.
Work out exactly how much return tickets will cost you (and your family) door-to-door and compare this with the cost of parking your car, plus petrol.
Booking a reliable taxi company to take you to the airport takes a lot of the stress out of the journey, but whether this is cost efficient will depend on the distance. Phone a few local firms to see how much it would cost, and again compare this to the price of parking and petrol.
If you have an early flight, don’t want the hassle of travelling to the airport on the day of your flight, or are worried public transport might let you down, then consider booking a local hotel room and heading up the night before.
This might not be the cheapest option, but at least it will give you the chance to rest before your flight and potentially save you the stress of transport delays.
And, if you are determined to drive, some hotels may offer a parking package meaning you can leave your car parked for the duration of your trip.
Don’t forget to find out which terminal you are flying from, and either book the nearest car park or take the transfer times into account.