Cheap airport parking at Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Bristol, Stansted and more


Updated on 25 September 2018

Depending on where you fly from, airport parking and even drop-offs could cost you four times as much. Here are some ways to cut your costs.

Airport parking rip-off

The days of dropping your loved ones off at the airport could be coming to an end.

Just a third of British and European airports now offer free drop-off by the terminal, according to insurer Admiral.

For the remainder, drop-off prices have gone up and you'll now have to pay £8.50 for a 15-minute drop-off at Stansted Airport, which was the worst offender.

Long-term parking is also getting pricier.

Admiral compared 30 airports across the country, looking specifically at pre-booked parking for a two-week break starting in the summer holidays beginning on Saturday 21 July and ending on Saturday 4 August.

Luton Airport proved to be the most expensive, for the second year running, where a two-week stay at a standard on-site car park is £255. That's a big increase on last year, when parking costs £191, and far higher than the cheapest airport, Belfast, which costs just £63.

As the average car parking rate for two weeks is £115, keeping your car at Luton will cost £140 more.

The second most expensive airport was London Gatwick's South Terminal at £175, followed by London City at £163.

You’ll even pay more for parking at different terminals within the same airport. A stay at Gatwick South costs £175 compared to £123 at Gatwick South. Parking at Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3 and 4 is £157, but Terminal 4 is significantly cheaper at £129.

Read more: Europe's rising tourist taxes

Pick a cheaper airport

The top 10 most expensive places to park will definitely put a dent in the budget for your next holiday:

Airport

Cost

Luton

£255

London Gatwick – South

£175

London City

£163

London Heathrow – T3

£157

London Heathrow – T2

£157

Bristol

£155

London Heathrow – T5

£147

Southampton

£140

Birmingham

£137

Edinburgh

£130

London Heathrow T4

£129

 So, try the cheapest places instead:

Airport

Cost

Belfast International

£63

Bournemouth

£67

Norwich

£69

Glasgow Prestwick

£71

Humberside

£75

Exeter

£79

East Midlands

£80

Belfast City

£81

Newcastle

£82

Doncaster

£85

Aberdeen

£91

However, if you're restricted to a certain airport, use these handy tips to trim the cost of parking. 

Book early

It’s the same with pretty much anything: booking earlier will save you more in the long run.

It doesn’t have to be months in advance, either. Depending on which airport you go to, you only need to book 24 or 48 hours in advance before price hikes kick in. 

Avoid paying on the day, as it could cost you hundreds of pounds more.

Sign up to the right mailing lists

You can save even more if you’re savvy about mailing lists. For example, BCP will send you discount e-coupons by email if you register for offers. Holiday Extras will also send over parking discounts.

Compare car insurance policies with loveMONEY

Get an overview of the best prices using comparison sites

Places such as look4Parking,  Parking4less.com, Gosimply.com and Travelsupermarket.com will show you the best rates on nearby car parks along with park and ride services.

Think about which service you use

Have a look at the prices of all the airport’s car parking facilities before you decide on one.

London Gatwick, Heathrow and City Airports allow free drop off outside the terminal.

However, if you’re dropping someone off, it may in some cases be cheaper to stay in the long-stay car park rather than the drop-off zone.

Although Stansted and Luton's drop-off fees are a relative rip-off, if you head to the mid-term car park it's possible to drop someone off for free. Birmingham, Southampton and Cardiff have free options for those who can manage a shuttle bus journey.

In the same vein, premium parking services can sometimes be better value.

Admiral found that at East Midlands Airport, the meet-and-greet premium price was over £40 cheaper than standard long stay parking and it's only around five minutes’ walk from the airport. In Birmingham, premium parking costs just £1 extra. 

Check out hotel parking packages

Certain airport hotels offer room and parking packages which include parking for the length of your trip. This may very well be worth doing if you have a very early flight.

Hunt for discounts

Some roadside assistance companies or employers offer a discount on airport parking, so have a comb through that employee handbook.

Fancy saving some cash on your train station parking? Find out how at How to cut the cost of train station parking.

If you're without your car for a couple of weeks, make sure it's properly covered. Compare car insurance policies with loveMONEY

 

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