On-Site vs. Off-Site Airport Parking: The Pros and Cons


On-Site vs. Off-Site Airport Parking: The Pros and Cons


As airfare prices continue to rise, travelers are increasingly scrutinizing their expenses, seeking ways to economize without compromising their travel experience. One often overlooked aspect of this quest for savings is the choice of airport parking.


On the one hand, you’ve got on-site parking at the airport itself, which comes with the benefit of proximity to the terminal but with the drawback of higher parking fees. On the other hand, there’s off-site parking, which typically has lower parking fees but longer transit times to the terminal.


Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s wise for travelers to break these down before deciding which option aligns best with their priorities and budget. 



In the modern world of air travel, where costs seem to be on a perpetual ascent, every penny saved can make a difference. Speaking as someone who works within the airport parking industry, I can confidently say that off-site parking has a clear advantage when it comes to cost-effectiveness. On average, the price can be between 30 and 60 percent lower, depending on whether the off-site lot is indoors or outdoors, what security features it boasts, and other various factors.


For example, the daily parking rate at Los Angeles International (LAX) is, as of this writing, $35 for economy-class parking. That adds up to $245 for one week. By contrast, reserved parking at WallyPark’s Los Angeles garage is currently just $24.71 per day or $172.97 per week. That’s a difference of more than 34 percent. 


Proximity and convenience

When it comes to sheer convenience, on-site parking reigns supreme. Being able to park your vehicle just a stone’s throw from the terminal is a huge selling point for travelers who are short on time. That said, the parking facilities in some major airports can be absolutely massive, meaning travelers may still have to walk some distance to the terminal. Moreover, since on-site is the easier option, lots can fill up pretty fast during peak travel season. Fortunately, travelers can avoid most of these issues by reserving a parking spot well in advance.


By contrast, off-site lots tend to be located some distance from the airport, necessitating the need for transportation to the terminal. For this reason, most off-site lots have a fleet of shuttle buses, for ferrying people to and from the airport. My advice to travelers would be to look up how often these shuttle services run, the travel distance to the airport, and whether these services run all night. In other words, plan ahead. 



Beyond cost and convenience, security is another major deciding factor for LAX parking. In fact, security could be the top concern for those with an expensive vehicle or who are planning a long trip. Generally speaking, on-site lots tend to have a “buyer beware” policy in place. This means that if your vehicle is stolen, damaged, or broken into, you are fully responsible for making an insurance claim. By contrast, most – though not all – off-site lots will have their own personal insurance that you can make a claim on.


For this reason, off-site lots tend to invest a lot more heavily in security. Most will have security guards in place 24/7, as well as plenty of surveillance cameras. Moreover, since off-site lots have a smaller area to cover, they tend to be better at tracking what’s going on at any given time. By contrast, on-site parking lots are simply too big to track everything, even when the airport has invested heavily in security. 


Additional services

Very few airports provide anything additional on top of the base service of a parking space. You need a place to park, they provide it, end of transaction. But since off-site lots must go the extra mile to remain competitive, they’ll often provide additional services such as car washes, oil changes, and luggage storage. Some of the larger lots even provide full maintenance services, which can be a convenient way to get your car serviced while it’s parked.  


Travelers don’t need to take advantage of these services if they’re not interested. Nevertheless, it can be nice to know the option is there.


Final thoughts

Whether a person chooses on-site or off-site parking will depend on what their needs are. On-site parking has clear advantages for those who are in a hurry to get to the terminal and will only be leaving their vehicle for a few hours or a couple of days at the most.


But for those who have time to plan out their trip and will be gone for a week or more, off-site airport parking may be the better choice from both a cost and security standpoint.


Vitaly Vinogradov is the CEO of cheapairportparking.org. He can be reached at vitaly@cheapairportparking.org

Article contributed by:
Vitaly Vinogradov, CheapAirportParking.org
Only show results from:

Recent Articles

Send message to

    We use cookies to monitor our website and support our customers. View our Privacy Policy