Do You Pay For Airport Parking Before Or After? A Detailed Guide

Heading to the airport and need to know when to pay for parking? You’re not alone. Many travelers get confused about whether to prepay for airport parking or pay after you’ve parked. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about paying for airport parking and help you decide what’s best for your situation.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: It’s usually best to pre-book and prepay for airport parking ahead of your trip. This guarantees you a spot, can save money on higher drive-up rates, and speeds up the parking process when you arrive at the airport.

The Benefits of Prepaying for Airport Parking

Guarantees you a parking spot

One of the major benefits of prepaying for airport parking is that it guarantees you a parking spot. When you prepay, you can reserve a parking space in advance, ensuring that you won’t have to waste time circling the airport in search of an available spot.

This is especially important during peak travel seasons when parking lots tend to fill up quickly. By prepaying, you can have peace of mind knowing that your parking spot is secured and waiting for you when you arrive.

Saves money compared to drive-up rates

Prepaying for airport parking can also save you money compared to drive-up rates. Many airport parking providers offer discounted rates for prebooked parking. By taking advantage of these deals, you can enjoy significant savings on your parking expenses.

In some cases, the savings can be as high as 50% off the regular drive-up rates. This means that by simply prepaying for your parking, you can keep more money in your pocket to spend on other travel expenses.

Saves time when you arrive

Another advantage of prepaying for airport parking is that it saves you time when you arrive at the airport. Instead of having to search for available parking and deal with the stress of finding a spot at the last minute, you can simply head directly to your prebooked parking spot.

This not only saves you time but also reduces the hassle and frustration often associated with airport parking. You can start your trip off on a positive note by knowing that your parking is taken care of and you can quickly proceed to check-in and security.

So, if you want to guarantee yourself a parking spot, save money, and save time when you arrive at the airport, prepaying for airport parking is definitely worth considering. It offers convenience, peace of mind, and cost savings, making it a smart choice for any traveler.

How and Where to Prepay for Airport Parking

Book parking on the airport’s website

If you prefer the convenience and peace of mind that comes with booking directly through the airport, you can easily prepay for parking on the airport’s official website. Many airports offer online booking services that allow you to reserve your parking spot in advance.

Simply visit the airport’s website, navigate to the parking section, and follow the instructions to secure your spot. By prepaying for parking on the airport’s website, you can save time and avoid the hassle of searching for a parking spot upon arrival.

Use third-party booking sites

Alternatively, you can explore third-party booking sites that specialize in airport parking. These platforms provide a convenient way to compare prices and availability across multiple airports. They often offer discounted rates and exclusive deals, making them a popular choice for travelers looking to save money.

Some popular third-party booking sites include ParkWhiz, ParkMe, and ParkSleepFly. Before making a reservation, make sure to read customer reviews and check the cancellation policies to ensure a smooth booking experience.

Consider off-airport parking providers

If you’re looking for even more affordable options, consider off-airport parking providers. These independent parking facilities are located near the airport and offer competitive rates compared to on-site airport parking.

Off-airport parking providers often provide shuttle services to and from the airport, making them a convenient choice for travelers. Some well-known off-airport parking providers include The Parking Spot, WallyPark, and Park ‘N Fly.

Before choosing an off-airport parking provider, do some research to ensure they have positive customer reviews and reliable services.

Remember, whether you choose to book directly through the airport’s website, use a third-party booking site, or consider off-airport parking providers, prepaying for airport parking can save you time, money, and stress during your travels.

Make sure to plan ahead and secure your parking spot in advance to enjoy a seamless airport experience.

When Paying After You Arrive Makes Sense

When it comes to airport parking, the question of whether to pay before or after you arrive can often be a source of confusion. While many airports offer the convenience of pre-booking and pre-paying for parking, there are instances where paying after you arrive makes more sense.

Here are a few scenarios where this option may be the better choice:

If you’re unsure of your travel plans or dates

Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes our travel plans can change at the last minute. If you find yourself unsure of your travel dates or if there’s a chance you may need to cancel or modify your trip, paying for airport parking after you arrive can provide you with more flexibility.

This way, you won’t be locked into a specific reservation and can adjust your parking arrangements as needed. However, it’s important to note that availability may be limited, especially during peak travel periods, so it’s always a good idea to check the airport’s website for real-time parking availability before heading to the airport.

For very short trips

If you’re planning a quick day trip or only need to park for a few hours, paying after you arrive can be a more cost-effective option. Many airports offer short-term parking rates that are calculated by the hour, making it more convenient to pay only for the time you actually use.

This can be particularly beneficial if you’re unsure of the exact duration of your trip or if unexpected delays occur.

When parking an unusual vehicle

If you’re traveling with a larger or unconventional vehicle, such as an RV or a trailer, paying after you arrive may be the better choice. These types of vehicles often require specialized parking arrangements and may not be accommodated by the pre-booking system.

By paying after you arrive, you can communicate directly with the parking attendants and ensure that your vehicle is properly accommodated.

Remember, each airport has its own policies and parking options, so it’s always a good idea to check the airport’s website or contact their customer service for specific information regarding payment options and any requirements or restrictions that may apply.

Tips for Paying for Parking On-Site

Have payment ready when you arrive

One of the most important tips for paying for airport parking on-site is to have your payment ready when you arrive. This will help you save time and avoid any delays or inconvenience. Make sure to check the accepted payment methods beforehand, whether it’s cash, credit card, or mobile payment options.

Having the correct amount of cash or your payment card ready will allow you to quickly complete the transaction and proceed with your travel plans.

Look for kiosks or attendants to pay

When you arrive at the airport parking area, keep an eye out for payment kiosks or attendants. These are typically located near the entrance or exit of the parking lot. The kiosks are usually equipped with touch screens that guide you through the payment process.

If there are attendants available, they can assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if needed.

Get receipts and note your parking spot

After making the payment, it’s important to obtain a receipt for your records. The receipt serves as proof of payment and can be useful if there are any issues or discrepancies later on. Additionally, take note of your parking spot or take a picture of any identifying landmarks or signs near your vehicle.

This will help you remember where you parked when you return, especially if you are away for an extended period of time.

For more information and details about paying for airport parking, you can visit Airport Technology. They provide insights into the latest trends and technologies in airport parking management, including payment systems and digital innovations.

Other Airport Parking Considerations

When it comes to airport parking, there are a few other factors to consider besides whether to pay before or after. These considerations can help you make an informed decision and ensure a smooth parking experience.

Compare total cost including fees

While the cost of parking is an obvious factor, it’s important to consider the total cost, including any additional fees. Some parking facilities may charge extra for services like valet parking or covered parking. Comparing the total costs can help you find the best deal that suits your budget.

Websites like or can provide you with a comprehensive listing of parking options along with their prices and fees.

Factor in time savings

Time is precious, especially when you’re rushing to catch a flight. When choosing airport parking, consider the time it takes to park and reach the terminal. Some parking lots are located closer to the airport terminal, allowing for a shorter walk or shuttle ride.

This can save you valuable time and reduce stress. Websites like or often provide information on the proximity of parking facilities to the airport, helping you make an informed decision.

Check cancellation/refund policies

Life is unpredictable, and sometimes plans change. Before making a reservation for airport parking, be sure to check the cancellation and refund policies. This way, if your travel plans get altered, you won’t be stuck with a non-refundable parking reservation.

Most parking providers have different policies, so it’s worth checking their websites or contacting them directly to understand their terms and conditions.

Consider covered or valet parking for convenience

If convenience is a priority for you, consider opting for covered or valet parking. Covered parking provides protection from the elements, so you don’t have to worry about your car being exposed to harsh weather conditions.

Valet parking, on the other hand, allows you to drop off your car directly at the terminal entrance, saving you the hassle of finding a parking spot and walking to the terminal. While these options may come at a higher cost, the added convenience can be worth it for some travelers.

By considering these factors, comparing prices, checking cancellation policies, and factoring in convenience, you can make an informed decision when it comes to airport parking. Remember to plan ahead and book your parking spot in advance to ensure a stress-free start to your journey.


When it comes to paying for airport parking, for most travelers, pre-booking and prepaying in advance is the best way to go. It saves money, guarantees you a spot, and makes the parking process smoother when you get to the airport.

However, paying on-site after you arrive can also work well in certain situations. By considering your travel plans, budget, and parking needs, you can decide whether to pay for airport parking before or after your trip.

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