Parking Options

Airport Parking Options

Airport parking is a necessary evil. For many travellers, it’s an unavoidable and essential part of the holiday, like sunburn and falling out with your family. But it can be easier. It can also be cheaper.

At Cheap Airport Parking, we have a simple search feature that can help you to find cheap parking across all major UK airports and most major car parking options. Not sure what those options are? Take a look at the following guide.

What is On Site Parking?

Also known as on-airport or official parking, on-site parking is provided by the airport. It’s usually within the grounds of the airport and provides the most convenient options, including car parks that are within walking distance.

Of course, convenience comes at a cost, so you can expect to pay a little more for on-site parking when compared to off-site parking.

Speaking of which…

What is Off Site Parking?

As you might have gathered, off-site, off-airport, or unofficial parking is offered by third-party service providers. These car parks are located beyond the airport grounds and so it takes a little longer to reach the terminal.

Most off-airport parking providers operate shuttle buses to the airport, dropping you off just outside the terminal following a ride of between 2 and 15 minutes. Despite this additional service, off-airport parking is nearly always the cheaper parking option.

Despite its cost and status, off-site parking is still secure. The car parks are monitored 24/7 by staff patrols and CCTV. They are also insured and surrounded by perimeter fences. They aren’t always as well maintained or paved, and while you may find yourself parking on gravel or grass in an off-site car park, that’s rarely true for on-site options.

However, the exact state of the car park varies by provider and the only real difference concerns the price and level of convenience.

What is Meet & Greet Parking?

At the most basic level, Meet & Greet parking requires you to drive to a designated area where you will be met by a member of staff. They’ll take your keys and car and park it for you. On your return, just head to the same area or give them a call.

Some Meet & Greet services let you drive up to the terminal, at which point the exchange is made. Others take place just outside major car parks, in which case the only time you’re saving is the time it takes to find an empty space.

What is Park & Ride?

Park & Ride is so named because you park in a designated car park and then ride a shuttle to the airport. These parking options are available in Long Stay car parks, including both official and unofficial options.

When looking for a good Park & Ride service, there are a few things to consider.

First, how often do the shuttle buses appear, and are they available 24/7? Some car parks run shuttles every few minutes while others may require you to wait for up to 30 minutes. If it’s the latter, you may need to allow for extra time to avoid missing your flight.

Secondly, how long does it take the buses to get to the airport? It could be a few minutes; it could be 20 minutes.

Lastly, if you have children, disabled travellers, or a lot of luggage, make sure the buses can accommodate you and check for special assistance points where appropriate.

What are Hotel & Parking Packages?

With Hotel & Parking options, you park your vehicle at the hotel, spend the night in your chosen room, and then take a shuttle to the terminal the following day. Your car will remain at the airport, and you can simply catch another shuttle to the hotel on your return.

What are Short Stay and Long Stay?

As the names suggest, Short Stay parking is suitable for short-term stays while Long Stay is best for longer holidays (1+ week).

Short Stay car parks are usually located right next to the terminal, less than a few minutes away on foot. Long Stay car parks aren’t always within walking distance and so they provide travellers with shuttle buses to take them to the terminal.

What about Premium Parking?

Premium Parking options are usually similar to Short Stay, but with a few added extras, such as free Fast Track tickets. In some cases, they are also a little closer or provide covered walkways to take you straight to security.

Airport Parking FAQs

When Should I Book Airport Parking?

You should book as soon as you can. Don’t leave it too late, as the price will increase the closer you get to your departure date.

How Early Should I Book Airport Parking?

We recommend booking parking as soon as you have your flight times. Ideally, it should be at least 1 month before you fly. It’s okay if you miss this timeframe a little, but you should know that parking options can get very expensive if you leave them to the final few days or even hours.

What are the Best Airport Parking Options?

It depends on what you’re looking for. If it’s all about price, you can’t beat Long Stay/Park & Ride. If you want the maximum convenience, look for Premium Parking and Short Stay options.

How Early Do I Need to Arrive at the Airport?

It is recommended that you leave at least 2 hours earlier for domestic flights and 3 hours for international flights. This will ensure that you have plenty of time to check in and pass through security.

Do I Have to Park my Car Myself at the Airport?

If you choose a self-park option, yes. However, there are Meet & Greet services where you can let others park your car for you. Some will even give you a full clean and valet if you’re willing to pay a little extra.

Can I Park Motorcycles at Airports?

Yes. Some airports have dedicated parking bays for motorcycles. They are usually smaller and also tend to be covered. You may pay less for these spaces, but there is no guarantee.

Do Airport Car Parks Have Height Restrictions?

Indoor car parks usually do and you may also see restrictions in place for outdoor car parks. You shouldn’t have an issue with regular family cars but may encounter a problem if you’re driving a van or lorry.

Check the airport’s website or the full parking details for more information on height restrictions.