Deciding where to park or even whether to drive to the airport for your first flight can be stressful. After all, you have to get to the airport somehow. Cost and convenience are the two factors to consider when making that decision.
Please note that this article does not contain average prices for the airport services listed. While that information is available, prices can and often do vary depending on the airport and location.
Driving Yourself to the Airport
Short-Term Parking: Located close to the terminal, short-term lots are convenient if you'll only be gone for a day or two. Parking close to the terminal often comes at a higher price, however, so bear this in mind.
Long-Term Parking: These lots are generally placed farther from the airport and are more out of the way. Most airports offer a shuttle service to and from these lots to the terminal. Long-term parking lots charge by the day, but some also offer weekly rates. These can be great options for travelers who will be gone for long periods of time or do not mind taking a shuttle to their terminals.
Having Someone Else Drive You to the Airport
Ride-Sharing: Catching a ride-share ride is a great way to get to the airport, and it's usually cheaper than a cab. These types of companies bill your credit or debit card based upon the number of miles you need to go and can be very convenient if you don't feel comfortable leaving your own car in the airport parking lot.
Taxis: Taxis in big cities often charge a flat rate to the airport from anywhere in the city. If the taxi in your city doesn't offer a flat rate to the airport, they will charge you by the mile, plus a ride initiation charge. This is similar to ride-sharing.
Shuttle Service: Many airports in the U.S offer shuttle service to and from your residence to the airport. To lower the cost, these shuttles often make more than one stop en route to the airport. Again, this can be similar to your ride-sharing option, but sometimes these services can drop you off at more convenient locations around the airport.
No matter which option you choose, make arrangements to arrive at your terminal at least 1.5 hours in advance. The lines at airports are no joke, especially when passing through security. Giving yourself plenty of time to spare ensures that your first experience with air travel will be as pleasant as possible. And if someone drives you, always remember to tip them!Share
3 February 2021
I come from a small town. It's so small that there is no public bus service—you can walk everywhere within city limits. People drove their cars if they wanted to leave town. At home, I rarely saw a taxi, and subways were something I only saw in movies. Moving to New York City was a shock in many ways, but learning how to get around using public transportation was one of the biggest hurdles that I faced. I didn't know how much to tip a taxi driver or how to find my way around on the bus. However, I did eventually learn. I know that there must be many people who are facing the same learning curve that I was facing a few years ago. I started this blog to help other small town natives like me learn how to get around in the big city.