Avoid Cruise and Airport Parking Rip-Offs
Don't spend hundreds on airport or port parking fees.
Aug. 4, 2010— -- For whatever reason, many of you decide to drive to your cruise port or airport and out of necessity leave your car there for the duration. Unfortunately, the parking charge can sometimes add a lot to your total trip cost. One reader put it succinctly:
"The biggest rip-off of all is the fee that the embarkation port charges for parking. Miami, for example, charges $20 a day—that's a whopping $140 for the week of your cruise.
Although you can't avoid all parking costs, you can probably cut them significantly below what some of the rip-off lots charge. Over the years, I've reported on the parking situation—mainly for airports—but cruise ports are getting increasingly important. And in either case, you have two basic alternatives.
Airports: Several online sites allow you to reserve (and prepay) parking at off-airport sites close to most big U.S. airports and lots of smaller ones. Participating lots almost always provide no-extra-fee shuttle service to/from the airport terminal(s) for both departures and arrivals. A few offer the choice of either self-park or valet park; a few let you choose between outdoor and indoor parking.
Some also claim additional discount promotions, and some can arrange optional while-you're-away service and minor maintenance for your car. Most claim they offer lower rates than you find at the official on-airport long-term lots—a claim I've found that is usually true, but not always. In a few cases, off-airport lots charge more than on-airport remote lots, but claim to provide better "service."
Here's my current list of sites where you can book and pay for off-site airport parking:
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