Is your money taking flight at the thought of airport parking charges

Posted by Andrew Penny in Personal Finance on 11 September 2012 - Andrew is responsible for Quality Assurance at checkmyfile

As the summer season draws to a close, many of us will be looking at getting away for some winter sun. This will no doubt include flying aboard somewhere and the cost of flying has never been cheap. There have always been extras to pay for on top of your ticket price in the form of various taxes, surcharges and fees but one of the extras that people tend to forget about is the cost of parking your car at the airport whilst you are away.

Airport parking can be incredibly expensive and now unbelievably, it is now becoming more expensive to park a car at certain airports than an actual light aircraft. (A light aircraft is defined here as a 6 seater Piper PA-46 weighing in at tonnes – about the same as a large 4x4).

For example, Manchester Airport charges car drivers £35 for 24 hours parking in their short term car park. For the same period of time, a lightweight aircraft will be charged just £21.

Liverpool airport is by far the worst as it charges lightweight planes just £10.72 for a full day’s parking however drivers are faced with a whopping fee of £39.99 for the full day.

Some airports even charge you for just dropping off people. Birmingham Airport charges drivers £1 for 10 minutes parking outside the terminal. Although, by comparison, some plane owners get two hours of free parking.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to reduce the cost of airport parking (if you are parking a car that is).

The key thing to do is to plan ahead. Just turning up at the airport without a pre-arranged car parking booking is the most expensive way to park. Many operators charge over the odds for parking if you just turn up on the day of your flight.

Think to yourself, “Do I even need to take the car?” Can you get a friend to drop you off at the airport? If you are not lucky enough to have a friend within easy reach of the airport then there are many trains and buses that go near to, if not right to many airports.

If you book your travel in advance through sites like thetrainline.com or nationalexpress.com then you can save some serious cash against the cost of parking a car.

If you really want to take your car, then booking your car parking in advance can also save you some big money. Sites like aph.com can give you a quote in seconds and the further ahead you book the more you save.

One thing worth considering is looking at parking and hotel packages. Some hotels near airports offer a package deal were you stay a night in the hotel and you get parking for your whole holiday thrown in. Even this can sometimes be cheaper when compared against the cost of just turning up and parking.

Andrew Penny leads our Software Quality Assurance. He has a degree in Computer Science from the University of Lancaster

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