Airport parking: save money at Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Bristol and more


Updated on 09 July 2018

Depending on where you fly from, airport parking could cost you three times as much. Here are some ways to cut your costs.

Airport parking rip-off

It's not just your imagination: airport parking really is getting more expensive.

More than half of the UK's largest airports raised pick-up parking fees in 2018, according to the RAC.

London Luton Airport is the worst offender for pick up parking charges - £8 for just 30 mins - and third most expensive for drop-off charges.

A 10-minute goodbye will set you back £3 at Luton, beaten only by Stansted (£3.50) and Manchester (£3 for five minutes).

Luton is also a pricey option for long-stay parking.

Admiral compared 30 airports across the country, looking specifically at a two-week break starting in the summer holidays beginning on Saturday 22 July and ending on Saturday 5 August.

Luton Airport proved to be the most expensive, where a two-week stay at a standard on-site car park is £191. An equivalent parking space at Exeter Airport costs just £65, an eye-watering difference of £126.

As the average car parking rate for two weeks is £111, keeping your car at Luton will cost £80 more.

The second most expensive airport was London City at £181, followed by Gatwick Airport at £175.

You’ll even pay more for parking at different terminals within the same airport. A stay at Gatwick North costs £175 compared to £167 at Gatwick South. Parking at Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4 is £146, while you’ll pay almost a tenner more to park at Terminal 5 (£156).

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

£191

London City

£181

Gatwick – North

£175

Gatwick – South

£167

London Stansted

£159

Heathrow T5

£156

Heathrow T2, T3, T4

£146

Birmingham

£132

East Midlands

£110

Norwich

£108

 So, try the cheapest places instead:

Airport

Cost

Exeter

£65

Bournemouth

£66

Cardiff

£72

Humberside; Liverpool; Belfast International

£75

Glasgow Prestwick

£78

Newcastle

£80

Belfast City

£81

Doncaster

£83

Leeds/Bradford

£87

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. 

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 Luton's drop-off fee is 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 five-minute walk.

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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