Parking lots and garages dot the landscape around every airport (check out all of the lots at DIA). With so many options, how do you choose the best one?
While all parking lots offer the same basic service — parking — they differ in many factors that may be more or less important depending on your priorities. For example, you may be looking for something budget-friendly, speedy transportation, or the ability to earn rewards.
Here are some tips for choosing the best airport parking lot to meet your needs.
Budget conscious? Look for savings programs
You may be thinking, “It’s airport parking! How big a price difference can there really be between lots?” The answer is: huge.
Even at the official DIA lots, the prices vary greatly — parking in the garage attached to the airport will cost you three times more than parking at the shuttle lots a few miles away. And they’re both more expensive than many of the other options.
If you’re off for just the weekend, a high daily sticker price might not seem that bad. But the price adds up quickly for a multi-day business trip or vacation.
For example, seven days at the DIA parking garage will cost you $168. Seven days at ParkDIA can cost as little as $41.65. That’s a difference of over $125. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on a great meal?
Now let’s look at a few ways to bring that cost down even more (and leave you more $$ to spend on your trip).
Just like airlines and hotels, many parking lots have loyalty programs that reward frequent parkers with points, free stays, and exclusive offers. If you travel a lot, it’s always worth the two minutes it takes to sign up for one of these programs. If you travel infrequently, it’s usually still worth the effort because you’ll get access to special offers.
Are you a military service member, a teacher, or a member of AAA or AARP? You’re likely eligible for a discount, whether you travel frequently or only once in a blue moon.
Private airport parking lots are much more likely to offer these kinds of discounts than official airport parking lots, so it pays to do your research.
Finally, even if you don’t personally travel for business, if your employer belongs to a corporate program, you may be able to reap the benefits.
Check with your HR department to see if your employer offers a perk like this. If you work in Colorado, your company may be eligible to join our corporate program. It will save you 15% or more every time you park, regardless of whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure.
Protip: Combine your group membership or corporate program discount with a loyalty program to save money now AND earn rewards for the future.
Traveling for only a few days or at off-peak times? Check the shuttle schedule
There are airport parking lots within walking distance of the terminal as well as lots miles away. Obviously, the farther you park from the airport, the more time you’ll need to budget to actually get there.
If you’re heading to the airport after work for a weekend jaunt, you may not have the luxury of time. Similarly, if you’re departing or arriving at midnight, you might not want to spend an extra hour getting to your car.
To maximize your chances of getting in and out quickly, choose a lot that is close to the airport and offers frequent shuttle service. This is pretty standard for most off-airport parking lots, but watch out for hotel lots — their shuttles often run only once or twice an hour.
At ParkDIA, you can text us when you land and we’ll send a shuttle out right away.
Flying over a holiday or other peak travel time? Make a reservation
As you know, during peak travel times, everything takes a little longer — driving to the airport, checking in, getting through the security line. This can all add stress, especially if you’re already running late.
Don’t take the risk that you’ll arrive at your intended parking lot only to find it full. The few seconds it takes to make a reservation can save you a lot of time and significantly decrease your stress quotient.
While official airport lots don’t usually let you make reservations, many private off-airport ones do.
Warning: Some parking lots charge you extra to make a reservation. Look for one that doesn’t!
Traveling during extreme weather? Look for covered spots
Parking in a covered spot is usually more expensive than parking in an uncovered area. However, if you’re traveling during a snowy winter or a steaming summer, the extra protection is often worth the extra spend.
Prolonged exposure to harsh conditions, like extreme sun (or surprise spring hail storms), can damage your car. (Plus who wants to dig their car out of a snow pile after vacation?)
If inclement weather is a risk in your area, look for a lot that offers covered parking.
Ultimately, the best way to find the best airport parking is to decide what’s most important to you — whether that’s price, convenience, or amenities like electric car charging — and optimize for that.
ParkDIA is the closest private airport parking lot serving DIA. Reserve your parking spot.