The Type of Airport Parking That Is Best for You

When looking at the different options for airport parking, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We’ve

created a list of the most common parking options available and found the best airport parking options in the USA. We’ve broken them down to make it easier to choose what works best for you.

Cell Phone Lots

Before the days of cell phones, it was a hassle to drop off or pick up a passenger at the airport. Because you’d only have an idea of the arrival time of the flight, picking up a passenger turned into doing several laps around the airport until they finally came out. This led to traffic back up with the same cars going around and around. People also had a tendency to park at the curb and wait for arrivals, which led to further traffic issues.


In recent years, most airports have created designated areas to wait for arriving passengers. Most airports call this the “Cell Phone Lot”. This could be the option for you if you simply need to pick someone up and not park for an extended period of time. Thanks to the convenience of cell phones, drivers can park in this lot (normally at no cost) and wait for the phone call from their passenger to head over to pick them up outside the terminals. This reduces traffic and allows everyone to have an easier and faster experience.

Valet Parking

Valet parking has become a popular option for travelers who want to take their time arriving at the airport. Most airports recommend that you arrive at least 2 hours prior to your flight. You would also need to account for parking time, which, depending on the airport, could be a tedious affair. Considering traffic and the possibility of other delays, you may find that you’d need to leave to arrive at the airport much earlier than you would like.


Enter Valet parking. Valet allows you to simply pull up to the designated area, drop off your keys with an attendant and proceed to the check-in area. Valet parking takes the hassle out of parking because there’s no circling the parking lots looking for an empty space. There’s no stress or worrying that you won’t make it to your gate in time because it took much longer to find parking than what you anticipated. Valet parking is usually curbside to the terminal and also ensures that you don’t have to lug heavy bags across a parking lot.


The cost of this service also varies from airport to airport, but normally ranges anywhere from $35 per day all the way up to around $75 per day. Some airports will offer a discount if you book in advance so definitely find out if that’s an option! For most, paying for the convenience of Valet parking is completely worth it.

Economy Parking

Next up is Economy parking. Airport parking can add up really quickly, especially if your trip will be on the longer side. Many travelers are looking for the cheapest airport parking option available. Most airports offer this option to travelers who will be leaving their vehicles at the airport for more than a day or two. A lot of times, the longer you stay, the less you pay. The approximate pricing for Economy ranges from $11 per day up to $22 per day. Prices will vary by location so it’s best to check with the airport you’ll be parking at to verify the prices before youhead out. Sometimes there are also special prices and other perks for booking in advance.

Short Term & Long Term Parking

The most common parking options outside of Economy parking are Short Term and Long Term. Obviously, these types of parking are exactly what they sound like. Sometimes known as Hourly or Daily parking, Short term parking is usually best if you plan to only park your vehicle at the airport for a short period of time – usually anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. Many of these lots offer free parking for the first 10 to 30 minutes and many have a maximum daily charge.This is the perfect option if you will be flying out and returning the same day. This is also a great option if you’re dropping off a friend or a family member and want to escort them inside to the security checkpoint. Fees are typically reasonable, ranging from a few dollars per hour to around $10 or $11 per day.


Long term parking Charlotte Airport is the option for you if you are planning on parking your vehicle for an extended period of time. Long term parking rates will usually be discounted based on the length of stay. In some cases, long term parking is also the Economy parking option. Of course, check with the individual airport for accurate pricing. You’ll also want to contact the airport if you plan to park your vehicle for longer than 30 days. Most airports have a limit on how long you may park and you’ll need to make special arrangements.

Off-site Airport Parking

Some people just don’t want to bother with parking at the airport at all, and we get it! Oftentimes, parking at the airport is much more aggravating than is worth it. Many areas are starting to offer parking options that are off the airport property altogether. For example, the Houston airport has a designated ecopark area off the main airport site. This parking lot is available at a discounted rate on a first come, first served basis. Reservations are available as well. This lot offers a complimentary shuttle over to the airport terminals.


You may also find that some independent parking companies have established parking for those traveling to the airport. Most of these lots offer a shuttle or taxi service to get you from the property to the airport. It’s important to do your due diligence and research these companies before trusting them with your vehicle. Read reviews and ask around and check their ratings. Remember, if you choose a third-party vendor for parking, the airport is NOT responsible if anything happens to your vehicle.

Hotel Parking

In some cases, depending on flight times, you may have to arrive at the airport a day in advance. There are usually options for hotels near the airport and most hotels will offer a complimentary shuttle service. In this case, the hotel will allow you to leave your vehicle parked there until you return. Some hotels charge for this service while others do not. If there is a fee for parking, it is usually reasonably priced. The best practice is to ask the hotel upon booking what their parking policy is.

The Conclusion

There are many options for parking at the airports around the country. We’ve listed out some of the cheapest options for airport parking that are available at some of the best airports. The type of parking you select is going to depend on your individual needs; there is no “one-size-fits-all” parking solution. A little bit of research is all it takes to make sure you choose the option that works best for your situation!

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