Travel Blog


Save Money on Parking Meters

Save Money on Parking MetersThe cost of parking in downtown areas in most cities in North America has become the incredibly expensive.  For example if you are parking using a parking meter it can be as much as three or four dollars an hour.  If you use a parking lot that is maintained by a parking authority is not uncommon to pay $20-$30 a day.  Whether you are going to work or a tourist visiting the city it makes sense to plan your parking so that you can save money and reduce your overall cost for your vacation.

Parking meters

if you have to use a and one of the passengers is staying with the car you can often wait until you see the reader coming down the street before putting money in the parking meter.  Often people leave their parking spot with the meter still running and if you’re lucky you can score an empty spot with a running parking meter and save a few dollars.  Parking meters are suitable for short term parking, however if you need more than a couple of hours it makes sense to just use a parking lot or find some other alternative.

Paid parking lots

The hotel we’re staying they charge a fee for parking and if you have not negotiated the parking is part of your hotel bill when you made your reservation you will pay the full fee.  Some hotels upon negotiation will offer up a discount on parking or in some cases free parking if it is a slow period for them.  If you are driving into the city many parking lots offered early bird rates which are 20 to 25% lower than rates offered later on in the day.

In many parking lots you’ll have to arrive prior to 9 AM to get the early bird rate.  Another approach is to park at a free parking lot at the mall somewhere in the urban areas of the city and then take the mass transit into the downtown area that you are visiting.  Usually the cost of mass transit is lower than a parking brake at a downtown parking lot plus the cost of gas it used to get there.

Airport parking rates

Airports are notoriously expensive for parking overnight, by the week or even longer by the month.  There are a lot of alternatives to parking at the airport.  A friend can drive you to the airport, you can take a taxi to the airport, or in many cities you can even take mass transit and save a bundle on parking.  If you are going to need parking for a week or a month, usually the long term parking lots are a better place to park your car at lower rates.  For most people the best approach is to have someone driving to the airport and pick them up when they return home.  Even if you have to pay the person and the cost of gas is still would be cheaper than paying for parking.

Plan your trips carefully taking into account your accommodations, the cost of accommodations and the parking at the hotel where you will be staying.  Many hotels on the outskirts of the city will offer free parking and shuttle service to downtown areas as well as to airports.  This is another excellent way to reduce the overall cost of parking.

If you know of other ways to reduce the cost of parking, please leave a comment and we’ll be glad to add them to our list.

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