Airport parking is expensive. Long term parking can cost as much as $25 per day at airports in major cities like Chicago, which would add an extra $175 to your budget for a week long vacation.
Granted, you could always ask a friend to drive you to the airport and pick you up when you return home, but that’s difficult to do if you live an hour or more away from your nearest airport. You could find an off site lot and pay a little less, but you’re still looking at $5-$10 a day plus an extra shuttle ride back to your car after you get home.
Another option may be to check into a nearby airport hotel. Many airport hotels offer free parking with an overnight stay and free shuttle rides to and from the airport. If you have an early morning flight, spending the night at a conveniently located hotel the night before can also give you a couple of extra hours of sleep and reduce the risk of you missing your flight due to unexpected traffic delays. If your return flight is scheduled to land late in the evening, you may be able to get free parking in advance of an end-of-trip overnight stay.
Of course, if you’re looking to save money on parking fees by spending the night in a hotel, you’ll want to check that the hotel doesn’t charge for guest parking. Look around for hotels near the airport you’ll be flying out of and call to confirm their parking rates and shuttle availability.
Photo credit lrargerich on Flickr.