Long-Term Airport Parking Guide

Long-Term Airport Parking: The Comprehensive Guide for Savvy Travelers

By Melissa Ruiz | Updated 2023

If you are planning an extended trip, you might be thinking about where to safely and affordably park your car.

You might be asking yourself questions like: Can I park at the airport? Does my airport have long-term or economy airport parking? How much is it going to cost? How can I save money on parking for several days or weeks?

Or you might be weighing the alternatives and thinking, "Maybe I can just use a rideshare service."

Or, you could also arrange for a friend to give you a ride.

But what if your flight departs or arrives late?

And what if you are traveling with kids or someone elderly?

Burdening a friend or family member in the late hours for a ride is not exactly considerate or dependable.

Scrambling for a rideshare service in the late hours might not be the most pleasant experience.

Let’s face it. There is no better feeling than jumping in your own car after a trip and heading home.

If you need guidance on what the best choice is, look no further.

I have put together this guide to answer the most frequently asked questions about long-term airport parking.

Let’s get started.

Long-Term Airport Parking Defined

When travelers park at the airport, most think a long-term airport parking lot is only reserved for longer trips. However, if your trip requires at least one overnight stay, utilizing the long-term parking lot at your airport still makes sense.

So what is the difference between long-term and short-term parking? We’ll get more into that in the next section.

What is considered long-term parking at an airport?

Long-term parking is any parking needed for the duration of a trip, be that 2 days, 7 days, 14 days, etc.

Short-Term vs Long-Term Parking

Not all airports have a designated area for short-term parking, but if they do, these parking spaces accommodate passengers making quick stops, such as picking up or dropping off a loved one.

If your airport does not have a designated short-term parking garage, passengers who need airport parking for a short time can use the terminal parking area because it is closest to the terminals. Because of their proximity to the airport's terminals, these covered parking areas are more expensive.

Parking fees in short-term parking garages are typically charged in 15, 30, or 60-minute increments. An "hourly" parking garage is also known as short-term parking. Vehicles parked in an hourly garage should check to see if overnight parking is permitted to avoid being towed or receiving a ticket for illegal parking.

What is the Difference Between Short-Term and Long-Term Airport Parking?

Short-term parking is for vehicles that need to park at the airport for less than 24 hours. Long-term parking is for vehicles that need parking for the complete duration of their trip and require at least one or more overnight stays.

Short-Term vs Long-Term Airport Parking

Parking Your Car at the Airport

A common question for first-time travelers is whether they can park their car at the airport for an extended time. Absolutely. Airports offer a variety of parking options at various price points.

If you need long-term airport parking, I recommend doing some preliminary research on your local airport's parking offerings to see where the long-term parking is.

Later in this article, we will dive deeper into all the alternatives for long-term parking.

Where is the long-term parking at the airport?

Long-term parking lots are typically open-air lots just outside of the main campus. These lots do not have direct access to the terminals and are usually not within walking distance. They require a shuttle ride or some type of transportation to the airport terminals.

Long-term lots are more economical than terminal parking garages and accommodate travelers who need affordable, prolonged parking. If your local airport does not have a "long-term" lot, they could also be referred to as economy parking, remote parking, or discount parking.

Pro Tip: Remember to allow extra time for transportation to the terminals while parking in a long-term or economy parking lot. Aim to be at the airport 30 minutes before you need to be at your terminal.

How long can I park at the airport?

Typically, you can park your car at the airport for up to a month. Some airports can accommodate longer stays, but special arrangements may be required. JFK Airport, for example, asks travelers who require parking for more than 30 days to contact ABM (airport services) on the day they arrive.

The location or number of passengers at an airport may have an impact on how long a car can park there. Some international airports, such as Seattle-Tacoma Airport (SEA), Orlando International Airport (MCO), and Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport (ATL), allow vehicles to park for up to 60 or 90 days.

According to our internal data, the average length of an airport parking reservation booked on ParkON.com is between 5 and 7 days. The majority of travelers do not need such a lengthy stay but it is great to know that airports are accommodating of travelers parking needs.

How much is long-term airport parking?

Long-term parking is the most economical type of parking but the cost varies greatly depending on the airport. Some airports charge as little as $10 per day and others can charge up to almost $40 per day.

The primary factor influencing daily parking rates is how parking revenue is allocated to the airport and its municipality.

Airports use parking as a reliable source of income to help pay for a variety of initiatives aimed at preserving and enhancing the airport. We have listed the prices for airports across the country, from low to high, to give you an idea of how much they vary.

Long-Term Airport Parking Rates at US Airports

Deciding the Best Place to Park Long-Term

Your parking options are not limited to the airport's long-term or economy lots. Whether you are traveling for three days or three weeks, some planning can help you find the best parking solution for your needs. Here's a rundown of the other types of parking we will be comparing:

  • Terminal Parking
  • Valet Parking
  • Off-Airport Parking

Terminal Parking

The main parking area at an airport is often referred to as terminal parking. A common fee structure for terminal parking is in quarter, half, or hourly increments with a daily maximum.

Terminal parking becomes more expensive the longer you stay; cars can park here just as long as they can in a long-term parking lot unless otherwise noted.

Vehicles will pay a premium to park in this covered parking facility due to its convenience and proximity to the terminals. If you are going away for several days or weeks and live in an area where the weather is extremely hot or cold, consider how important covered parking is to you.

Valet Parking

Want even more convenience? Consider using valet parking. If your airport offers valet parking or has reinstated it following the pandemic, you will feel like an instant airport VIP.

This is, without a doubt, the most expensive option, but you get all the benefits of terminal parking plus not having to deal with the hassle of finding a parking space.

Remember that the valet will have your keys while you are away. Determine your level of comfort with this before deciding if valet parking is best for your long-term parking.

Off-Airport Parking

If you have looked into your airport's long-term parking rates and are wondering if there are cheaper options, there are. Off-airport parking is essentially a privately owned and operated economy parking lot. These lots are located within a couple of miles of the airport and provide a secure place to park, with shuttle transportation included.

Almost always, this is going to be your cheapest parking option. We’ll dive deeper into the benefits of off-airport parking in the next section.

How to Save on Long-Term Airport Parking

I assume that the average person does not factor in the cost of parking when planning their trip.

Perhaps the thought of parking or transportation to the airport will occur much closer to the trip's start date. But savvy travelers plan, and airport parking should be incorporated into their overall trip budget.

In the past, I parked at the airport in the terminal parking lot for a couple of hundred dollars. Yikes! I can tell you that this is not a welcome surprise when returning home from an already costly trip. Had I done a little research, I could have saved a lot of money.

As a marketing director and contributor to an airport parking blog, it is something I no longer can overlook in my trip budgeting.

Here are some tips to help you save money on long-term airport parking:

  1. Educate yourself. Navigate to your airport’s website and see what parking options your airport offers. Make note of the daily rates at each parking area.
  2. Reserve parking ahead of time. Many airports have started to offer online parking reservations. Some airports will provide discounts on parking when you reserve your space ahead of time.
  3. Consider off-airport parking: Off-airport parking will always have the most competitive rates. However, shop around to see which lot has the best deals or if they have any promotions or discounts available. Discount parking reservation sites like ParkON are a great starting point.

What is the cheapest long-term airport parking?

The cheapest long-term airport parking is going to be at the long-term or economy lot at an airport or an off-airport parking service near the airport.

Keep in mind that the availability of an economy lot at the airport can be limited because it is popular among travelers wanting to take advantage of the most affordable parking.

Pro Tip: Many airport websites can now provide up-to-date parking lot availability. Before heading to the airport, I recommend checking your airport’s website to see if the lot you plan to park at is full. This will allow you to have a plan B and not leave you scrambling for a parking space at the last minute.

The Benefits of Off-Airport Parking

If you want the best parking rates, off-site airport parking is the best bang for your buck. Why?

Specifically, airports that have parking rates on the higher end create a demand in the market for cheaper parking options. Airports like LAX, SEA, EWR, and JFK are great examples.

These areas have some of the greatest offsite airport parking services available. For less than you would pay at the airport (even with pre-booked rates), you can reserve convenient airport parking in a safe and secure location.

Off-airport lots can provide additional amenities that the airport does not offer: 24-hour on-site security, car washes, valet parking, covered parking, and dent guards, just to name a few.

Although all of these benefits seem wonderful, be careful because not all off-site airport parking lots are the same. Use this list as a minimum to find a dependable parking service if you are thinking about using an off-site airport parking service:

  • Has recent reviews and positive ratings
  • Provides free transportation to and from the airport
  • Has a security guard or CCTV surveillance system
  • Open 24 hours a day, with staff on-site at all times

In conclusion, while the prospect of long-term airport parking can initially seem daunting, a bit of preparation can make it a seamless part of your travel experience. Whether you choose the convenience of parking at the airport, the luxury of valet services, or the affordability of off-airport options, being informed is key.

As the travel landscape continues to evolve, understanding and leveraging the available options ensures not only cost savings but also peace of mind. Remember, the journey is as significant as the destination, so make sure your vehicle's resting place aligns with your needs and comfort. Safe travels and happy parking!

Reserve Airport Parking