Travel Money

How To Save Money On Holiday Parking

A man is shown driving his car

Families place huge importance on holidays abroad as a time to spend precious time together without the demands of work and school, creating happy memories to last a lifetime. Not only this, but research shows that family holidays can also bring a wide range of lasting psychological benefits for both parents and children. Children are likely to have reduced of anxiety, better behaviour at school and home and the holiday also helps increase the bond between family members. Travelling abroad also opens children’s minds to different cultures, languages and environments.

Yet many families in the UK struggle to afford to be able to go on holiday at all. If they do manage to go on a family holiday abroad, those families will have spent several years saving up the money to do so. It is sad then to discover that in simply not planning ahead and pre-booking airport parking, that some families hard earned cash is being unnecessarily spent on extortionate parking fees.

3 in 4 airport car parks offer different pre-booked and on-the-day prices

A study conducted by UK travel insurance provider Staysure, found that by simply booking airport parking two weeks earlier and gaining a few quotes beforehand, flyers could save large amounts of money. The research found that London Luton airport was where flyers are set to gain the most with a little planning before their flight, with a price difference of an eye-watering £141.49.

Pre-booking your airport parking to save money

Shockingly, it is on average £3.70 more expensive per day if you decide to park your car last minute at an airport rather than pre-booking for one week. That really adds up when you are away on a two week family holiday. Not only this, but if you are flying from a London airport, you will have to pay an extra £30 if you are booking on the day compared to on-the-day prices for non-London airports.

A paid car park which is at full capacity

However, there is not always a saving to be found in pre-booking. There is no difference in price in 1 in 4 airport car parks when comparing pre-booked or on-the-day prices. The also study found that very occasionally, airport parking on the day is less expensive! The study discovered that it was 44p more expensive to pre-book at Glasgow airport than on the day. The reason for this result was due to a late deal by the Glasgow airport car park, who were trying to attract more customers.

It is on average £3.70 more expensive per day if you park your car last minute at an airport rather than pre-book for a week.

Therefore, it pays to be savvy and research first before making a decision to pre-book or not. However, the majority of cases see a big difference in cost between the most expensive and cheapest pre-booked car park on the day.

What could you buy with the money you save on parking?

It often helps to think of tangible things that you could spend the money on to inspire you to take some time to look for a saving. Saving the £141.49 at London Luton simply by pre-booking could pay for a couple of family meals out or some family excursions once there. While the smallest difference in cost at the London airports is at London Stansted at £35 this is still a worthy saving for a family – a lunch at the airport before you leave, or some duty free gifts.

The study revealed that Belfast is the cheapest airports to book car parking on the day, but you can still save £25 if you think ahead and pre-book – still a considerable saving and enough for quick bite to eat before your flights, some magazines for the journey or some extra snack money on the flight.

Especially in an unpredictable economic climate where families are looking to save money in any area they can, it is highly worthwhile to research before you leave to find out the cheapest way to park your car. Saving a few pounds makes all the difference when family costs are tight.

About the author

Pat Harding

Pat is a former UK high street bank employee of 25 years who writes amazing and helpful articles for

Some of Pat's areas of expertise include household finance, travel and insurance, savings and loans, pensions and day to day money management.

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