Airport parking can be intimidating at first glance. Which lot do you need? What parking package offers the best deal? How much does a valet service cost? Consider this your guide to understanding and utilizing the car parks of Australian airports.
Short-Term Versus Long-Term
Before you do anything else, it’s important to understand the different types of lots you’ll find in a typical Australian airport.
A short-term lot is for visits that last less than a day. You might be picking someone up, dropping them off or even taking a quick flight to and from a nearby city. Many airports will have designated hours or day passes for short-term parkers.
A long-term lot is for cars that will remain at the airport for some time. For example, you might be driving yourself to the airport before taking an extended vacation to Australia for example. Long-term lots usually come with many amenities that short-term ones don’t:
– Bigger spots
– Bright and/or evening lights
– Video surveillance
– Armed patrols
– Undercover or otherwise protected spaces
Not all airports will have the same features, but generally speaking, they’ll take great pains to protect your vehicle while you’re away.
Self Parking Versus Valet Parking
This one is pretty self-explanatory. When you arrive at the airport, you’ll be given the choice of parking your vehicle by yourself or having a professional valet service do it for you. You might also be offered the use of a shuttle service if the car park is a short distance from the airport.
This decision comes down to trust, responsibility and convenience. Do you believe the valet drivers will take good care of your car? If you hand over your keys, you won’t have to worry about keeping track of them during your trip. On the other hand, you might better peace of mind if you keep them on you. The decision is entirely yours, so think carefully before you choose.
If you’re a regular traveler, you might want to sign up for a loyalty program with the airport or a nearby parking lot service. Not only will they offer exclusive deals, discounts and coupons, but you can also enjoy perks like:
– Priority pick-up
– Free window washing
– Vouchers for future trips
– Percentages off your next booking
– Annual tax deductions
Some companies will also give you a username and password to sign into their online terminals and book your reservations without ever having to deal with long waits on the phone.
It’s hard to give exact prices for airport parking since every location is different, but you should expect to spend between $10 and $30 a day depending on things like your membership package and the duration of your stay. You’ll typically save money for each successive night. For example, one night might cost you $20, but two nights will only put you back $30.
You should expect differences in price for things like indoor/outdoor parking and self parked/valet parked. You might also have to pay more for certain types of vehicles. Small cars will be more affordable to park than large trucks.
Don’t be afraid to talk to the airport directly about what you can do to lower parking costs. They may have special, unadvertised deals on membership packages, or they might be able to point you to an online offer that fits your needs.
Some airports offer detailing and mechanical services for cars in their long-term lots. If you don’t want your vehicle getting dusty while you’re gone, you can have the staff wash, wax and even steam-clean it. If you haven’t changed the oil filters in awhile, you can ask the company to pop the hood and do it for you. Such services can be costly, but they’re also extremely convenient when you come home from a long trip and have a clean, gleaming, fully operational car waiting for you.
These are just the basics of parking in or around airports. Whether you’re traveling outside the country or just down the Gold Coast, you’ll want to make sure your car is in good hands.