Getting to the airport to start your holiday can often be one of the most frustrating parts of the holiday. We’ve put together a few tips on how to make it cheaper and/or easier to start your next exiting trip away.
As local restrictions are starting to ease, more and more of us are starting to think about booking that summer getaway. You’ve packed your best swimming trunks and loaded up on factor 30 but have you thought about how you’re getting to the airport? For most of us outside of London, taking the car is the only option. Especially if you don’t travel light. That means you have to park it somewhere. But where? And how much will it cost?
Like many things in life, booking ahead of time can lead to great savings. The cheapest prices are often available far in advance but even if the trip is last minute, don’t just rock up at the airport. People who pay on the day usually get the highest rates so even if you’re surfing for weekend getaways on a Wednesday afternoon, make sure you get your parking booked ASAP.
Don’t go direct, use a comparison site
You could spend ages Googling the various parking options at an airport or you could let someone else do the hard work. Websites like Parkos make it so easy to find cheap and easy parking. Just tell them where you’re flying from and when and the site will offer up the available options.
Check out what type of car park it is
Not all car parks are the same. Just because you’ve found the best price, doesn’t mean it’ll be the best option for you. Some car parks are miles away from the airport so you’ll have to get a long shuttle ride to the terminal, if one is offered at all. Others may not be as secure as others so look at the protection offered by the car park provider. Consider your comfort and time when comparing the prices. Is it worth saving a few pounds if it makes your journey more stressful? Also see what the cancellation policy is if your trip isn’t set in stone.
Give yourself a little extra time on your booking
Most companies charge by 24hr period but may charge extra if you pick up your car later than planned. If you book it right, it should not cost you any more to ensure you have a few extra hours to collect your car should be held up at the airport for any reason.
Have a look at hotels with parking included. This can often be as cheap as just parking your car at the airport and you’ll get somewhere to stay the night before you fly. Ideal if you’ve got an early flight or are having to travel a long way to get to the airport.
Leave the car at home?
Our final suggestion flys in the face of the title of this article but hear us out. It is always worth investigating the alternative transport options available to you. But bear in mind that the cost of driving and parking is the cost for one car so if you have a family of people or a flock of mates travelling with you, your costs for travelling sans-car will often be multiplied.
If you live close enough to the airport, a simple taxi might be the easiest and most stress free option. Alternatively many cities and towns will have companies that provide taxi services to and from airports for bespoke rates. This takes the stress out of travelling as you can simply relax in the back of a taxi and watch the world go by until it drops you directly at the terminal.
Trains are another option and one championed by our Editor. Whenever he goes abroad, he prefers to grab a train from Kettering into central London and another into Gatwick (he’s not a fan of Heathrow). This saves him up to two hours in travel time and makes his journey far less stressful. He does admit that carrying large suitcases on the train isn’t fun so packing light is a must for maximum relaxation. It is worth looking at local train options and try to avoid specific airport services if you want to save money. Normal rail services often use the same lines so you can get to the same destination but you might have to stop a few more times.
Lastly, look at the bus options available in your area. Services like National Express and Megabus run cost effective routes to all major airports across the UK. This is ideal for someone travelling alone as each extra traveller will incur extra cost. But bear in mind that this is often the slowest way to get to the airport so be patient and again, maybe leave some of your beach outfits at home and take a smaller suitcase.