When you need to hop on a flight for a business trip, it’s easy to stick to the same routine every time you head to the airport. But you may be able to reduce expenses by driving to the airport rather than taking a taxi or ride-sharing service. It doesn’t have to add a ton of time to your trip either.
Here’s what you need to know when it comes to airport parking:
Airport Parking for Business: Ride-sharing vs. Driving
If you’re taking Uber or Lyft to the airport, it may actually be more affordable to drive and park at the airport instead. There are three main factors to consider: which airport you’re flying out of, your distance to the airport and the length of your trip.
At many airports around the country, you can actually save money the majority of the time by driving and parking. For example, at LAX, you’ll save money 80 percent of the time when you drive and park vs. using a ride-sharing service.
Here’s a look at the potential savings, comparing distance from the airport (x-axis) and length of trip (y-axis):
Types of Airport Parking
If you’ve rarely or never parked at the airport before, you may think there’s just daily terminal parking and economy lots available.
However, there’s a range of options to consider. It really depends on what matters most to you: convenience, proximity to the airport, affordability, or amenities.
Here’s a breakdown of the basics when it comes to the five most common types of airport parking:
- Cost: $$$$
- Valet is generally the most expensive airport parking option. But it might be worth it if convenience is your top priority or if you want a covered protected environment. Visit your airport’s parking page to see if they offer valet options.
- Perks: Airport valet services may provide other services, such as car wash, oil changes, and more.
- Cost: $$$
- Daily terminal parking is extremely convenient and often a covered parking garage. But it can add up if you park long-term. Make sure to check your airport’s terminal parking rates before committing to parking for your entire trip.
- Perks: Daily parking is often covered and only a short walk from the terminal entrance. Also, many airport terminal garages/lots now offer car charging stations for electric vehicles.
- Cost: $$
- Economy parking will be the least expensive ‘on-airport’ option, meaning that it’s on airport property. You won’t be as close as daily terminal parking, and you’ll likely have an uncovered parking spot. But the daily rates are fairly low, helping you reduce expenses. It’s a convenient option if you’re heading on a longer trip.
- Perks: In addition to being affordable, economy parking garages/lots offer free transit to the airport on a bus or shuttle.
- Cost: $
- Off-airport parking is one of the most affordable airport parking options. Not affiliated with the airport, these parking services allow you to reserve parking in advance and provide free shuttle service to the terminals. There will usually be many different options and amenities to choose from, like covered or uncovered parking, lots with 24/7 surveillance, and more. You can compare rates, locations, and amenities with parking apps like SpotHero.
- Perks: Many off-airport parking garages/lots offer the same amenities as the airport valet. Plus, shuttles may even be more reliable and comfortable than economy lots since these off-airport facilities are competing for your business. By doing your research, you may even be able to find a spot that’s closer than the on-airport economy lot.
- Cost: $
- Hotels near airports offer affordable long-term parking with free shuttle service. With apps like SpotHero, you can even reserve parking without having to stay at the hotel itself. But if you have an early morning flight and prefer to stay at a hotel the night before, you can use sites like ParkSleepFly to book a hotel and parking package, which typically includes a hotel near the airport, free shuttle service to and from the terminal, and parking for the duration of your trip.
- Perks: Hotel parking is likely going to be your most affordable airport parking option. Potentially a bit further away from the airport and usually only open-lot parking, it’s still very convenient.
Whether you’re focused on convenience or reducing expenses, airport parking could be worth considering for your next business trip.
Editor’s note: Remember, your business parking costs are potentially deductible at the end of the year as long as you’re keeping contemporaneous records.
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- Airport Parking 101: What To Know Before Your Next Business Trip - December 5, 2016
MileIQ’s blog does not constitute professional tax advice. You should contact your own tax professional to discuss your situation.