Monday, May 14, 2012

Parking at the airport for less

With summer vacation planning season here, would you plan for, and take, an extra 30 minutes so that you could save $40 or more on your next trip?

We recently returned from an out-of-town trip.  Standing at the drop-off/pick-up shuttle spot at the airport, I had a few minutes to do a little mental calculation (yes, I'm a bit nerdy that way).  We could have chosen to park onsite at the airport.  It's very convenient.  Just get off the plane, walk out to the parking structure, get your car and go. However, this time we chose the new self-park lot run by MasterPark (MPark), off-site about a 10 minute shuttle ride away.

Parking off-site does take more time, about 30 minutes total.  The longest wait is when you return (we waited 10 minutes).  Most off-site parking lots get you to the airport for your outbound flight with minimal wait (the shuttle was right there and ready to go when we drove in).

The longer your trip, the more you will save for your extra time spent.  For our 3 1/2 day trip, we saved about $40. I like to translate savings like these into an hourly wage.  For a 30 minute wait/shuttle ride, we saved (or earned, as I like to think of it) $40 (as compared to parking at the airport).  This yielded an hourly "wage" of $80.  Not bad. Where else can I earn $80 an hour?!

When choosing where to park for the trip, I looked at several off-site lots.  I mapped the various lots and read reviews online.  (This is an important step and only took about 5 minutes.  Cheapest isn't always best.)  For reviews I went to www.cheapairportparking.org. They serve many airports in the U.S. Select a lot, click on "display more", then "more about this lot", to get to individual reviews.

We could have saved even more on parking, but we went with the MasterPark brand, as 1) the reviews were favorable, 2) we've used their other valet parking lots and had good service, 3) for SeaTac airport, the location was close to freeway on and off ramps, and the airport itself (proximity to the airport will determine the wait time and transport with the shuttle) and 4) MPark is running an introductory special of $8.99/day.

This trip was just a brief one.  For our next week-long vacation, I can see that we'll save nearly $100.  That's a nice chunk of change for 30 minutes of my time.

1 comment:

  1. That’s a smart thing you did, making a background check on the off-site parking options available online. This way, you can snag the parking option that offers the best services at the most reasonable price. Sometimes there are packages that offer a free shuttle service to the airport, while others offer to drop you at your hotel if you want. The best part about these kinds of services is that most of them offer the option for online reservations, making everything much more convenient.

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