Preguntas Ardientes: Airport Parking

I Facebooked the world about the news: I had finally bought tickets to attend Oktoberfest and visit my cousins in Germany! My cousin and one of my childhood best friends, Christyn, a traveler and adventurer in her own right, was excited to hear the news, but it turns out buying the airline tickets was the easiest part.

“Well, you practically travel for a living,” she said, “Why don’t you figure out the logistics? How to get there from Bann, where to stay, tent tickets…”

As it turns out, my logistical planning starts from the moment I get out of work on Thursday in late September, as I’ll have to drive to the Málaga airport and stay overnight before catching a flight early the next morning. What’s going to happen to my Pequeño Monty, my beloved new car? I remembered my dad, a travel hacker extraordinaire, always seeking out the best options for when it came time for our yearly trips out west to ski. Al ataque!

Airport Parking Options

When you’re heading off on holiday and you need to book airport car parking, whether it’s Stansted, Glasgow or perhaps Leeds Bradford Airport parking, there are a number of different parking options to consider. These can be loosely grouped into two main locations – on-and off-site parking.

On-Site Parking

You might think that on-site parking would be the most convenient option, as you’re closer to the terminal. This may be true if you book a car park that’s within walking distance of the terminal. But sometimes when you park in a remote long stay car park that requires a transfer service to reach the airport, it can often take a comparable amount of time to park off-site – and it might be cheaper too (see below for more information about off-site parking).

On-site parking can include transfers to help passengers get from one part of the airport grounds to the terminal, and when you have booked and paid for car parking, the shuttle cost is usually included. Other forms of on-site parking include Meet and Greet or Valet parking. This involves dropping your car off and having it parked for you while you walk to the terminal to catch your flight, and on your return, your car will be waiting just a short distance from the airport. It’s expensive, but it’s also convenient and quick.

Off-Site Parking

Similar to remote long stay car parks, off-site parking involves parking at a distance from the airport and using an inclusive shuttle service to transport you to and from the terminal. The main difference is that most off-site car park operators will park your car for you while you catch the shuttle, and it’s often one of the most affordable options too. So if cost is more important and you’re happy to take a short shuttle to the airport, this is usually the best option.

If you’re a traveler, what do you typically do for airport parking? Any great tips to add? PS This post was written by a third party, and I was compensated for it. No te preocupes – I fact checked!

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. Here in Munich you can reserve your parking spot online and get a good discount on parking. We love it!

    Since you gals are coming for Oktoberfest, are you going to get dirndls to wear? Make sure you check out the outlet stores, you can get them for really cheap! I got the apron, blouse, and dress for like 50 euro. It’s just not Oktoberfest without wearing Trachten. :)
    Shannon recently posted..Water and Wine: A weekend on the RhineMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I believe I’ll be going by bus to Munich, but I’ll definitely let you know! And YES I could love to rent one or buy one cheap! Any ideas? I won’t be able to get one before going since I’m jetting in and back out. Thanks, lady!

      • Renting isn’t very popular (probs due to the high likelihood of spilt beer) but you can easily buy one online ( for example, or just googling cheap dirndls) and most German department stores in Bavaria sell them for pretty cheap (karstadt, C&A, Moser). Secondhand and thrift stores in Bavaria always have a Trachten section too! Munich has a ton of stores selling Trachten all over the city, so it wouldn’t be hard to find if you waited til you got there.

        Trachten is the word for Bavarian traditional clothes, dirndls are what women wear. When you tie your apron, tie it on the left side if you’re taken and right side if you’re single-tying it in the back is for widows and waitresses!

        Sorry for the novel on dirndls! 😉 I’ve bought my fair share of dirndls after two years in Bavaria!
        Shannon recently posted..Weekend on the Rhine Part 2: EltvilleMy Profile

      • Sunshine and Siestas says:

        You are the absolute best, thanks!!! I’ve just sent all of this on to my cousins (though I’m afraid I may not fit up top!)

      • No problem! I hope you love Munich. Bavaria has awesome festivals, and they are such a fun experience. Don’t worry about fitting, they pull the tops really tight! If you have any other questions you can send them on, I’ve done Oktoberfest like 4 times now, so I feel like I’ve got it down haha.
        Shannon recently posted..German Heat Wave of 2013My Profile

  2. It is still best to book ahead. Onsite parking can really be a hassle if you are flying the same day of booking the parking. Parking space may not be available. Booking online however can help you have reservations. This way, you will not be worrying about anything except for the pay which can sometimes be expensive.

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