Short-Term Airport Parking: A Comprehensive Guide

Short-term airport parking refers to parking lots and garages located near airport terminals that are designed for travelers who are going on short trips and need parking for less than one week. Short-term parking is the most popular and widely used type of airport parking, accounting for over 50% of total airport parking revenue. 

Short-term parking provides a convenient and affordable parking option for airport travelers who are gone for shorter periods of time, such as long weekends or trips of 3-5 days. It allows you to park your vehicle right at the airport within walking distance of the terminals, avoiding the need for shuttles or public transportation to get to your flight.

Short-term airport parking is located closer to the terminals than long-term parking and is intended for quick airport access and egress. Most airports offer short-term parking lots and garages within a 5-10 minute walk from the terminals. These facilities are designed for fast in-and-out access and high turnover of vehicles.

Why Choose Short-Term Airport Parking?

There are many reasons why short-term airport parking is a popular choice, including:


Short-term parking offers unmatched convenience for airport travelers. The close proximity to the terminals means you can quickly park your car and get to your flight without lengthy walks, waiting for shuttles, or relying on public transportation. This makes short-term parking the fastest and most convenient option.


Airport parking facilities have 24/7 security monitoring, regular patrols, and surveillance cameras. This provides peace of mind that your vehicle will be safe while you are traveling. Short-term parking is more secure than curbside parking or parking off-site.


With short-term parking, you can come and go as needed. This offers flexibility for travelers whose plans may change or be uncertain. You are not locked into fixed return dates like with long-term parking.


The close proximity to terminals saves time getting to and from your vehicle. You can quickly park, check-in, and reach your gate without lengthy walks or wait times. This allows peace of mind knowing you have extra time cushion before flights.

Cost-Effective for Short Trips

For trips 5 days or less, short-term parking offers affordable rates that are more budget-friendly than long-term parking or other options. The daily and hourly rates make it a cost-effective choice for shorter airport trips.

How Does Short-Term Airport Parking Work?

Using short-term airport parking is quick and straightforward. The typical process includes:

1. Booking a Spot

While not always required, booking a parking spot in advance ensures you have a guaranteed space. This provides peace of mind and speeds up the check-in process.

2. Checking In

Upon arriving at the parking facility, you will drive up and take an automated parking ticket from a kiosk machine. This will open the gate and record the time and date you entered.

3. Finding Your Spot

Follow the directional signs and/or floor markings to locate an open parking spot. The aisles will be clearly labeled with space numbers to easily find your way.

4. Exiting the Lot

When returning from your trip, drive up to the exit kiosk, insert your ticket, and then pay the automated machine. The gate will open allowing you to exit.

What are the Benefits of Short-Term Airport Parking?

In addition to the general advantages covered earlier, some other key benefits of using short-term airport parking include:

1. Convenience

The close proximity to terminals means fast, easy airport access without lengthy walks, waiting for shuttles, or relying on public transportation.

2. Security

24/7 security protection through gates, patrols, cameras, and live monitoring ensures your vehicle is secure while traveling.

3. Flexibility

Ability to come and go as needed without fixed return dates offers flexibility for travelers whose plans may change.

4. Time-Saving

Close proximity saves time walking to check-in and gates. Quick in-and-out access provides peace of mind and a time cushion before flights.

5. Cost-Effective for Short Trips

Daily and hourly rates are affordable and budget-friendly compared to long-term parking or other options for trips under 5 days.

Tips for Using Short-Term Airport Parking

Here are some handy tips for maximizing convenience, saving money, and getting the most out of short-term airport parking:

1. Book in Advance

Booking your parking spot ahead of time guarantees availability and saves time checking in when you arrive. 

2. Check the Rates

Airport parking rates can vary significantly. Research rates in advance for the best deal. Consider alternative lots if on a budget.

3. Know the Location

Study a map of the airport and parking ahead of time. Note the closest lot and the walking route to your terminal.

4. Understand the Policies

Review parking policies, especially around overstay fees, lost tickets, and grace periods for departure delays.

5. Keep Your Ticket Safe

Don’t lose your parking ticket! Keep it in a safe place as you’ll need it to exit the lot. Consider taking a photo or making a photocopy as a backup.

6. Note Down Your Parking Spot

Write down or take a picture of where you parked your car. This saves time finding your vehicle when you return.

7. Check For Discounts or Promotions

Many parking providers offer discounted rates, coupons or promotions that can provide significant savings on short-term parking.

8. Consider Alternatives If Necessary

If flying during peak travel seasons when rates are highest, consider using long-term parking or off-site parking lots which offer cheaper options for longer stays.

How Much Does Short-Term Airport Parking Typically Cost?

Short-term airport parking rates can vary considerably depending on the airport, demand, peak travel seasons, and other factors. As a general guideline for the U.S., short-term parking costs:

  • Hourly Parking: $3 – $8 per hour
  • Daily Parking: $15 – $35 per day 
  • Weekly Parking: $105 – $245 per week

The average cost of short-term airport parking across the U.S. is approximately $25 per day. However, for prime airports in major cities like Chicago, New York, San Francisco or Washington D.C., daily rates can easily exceed $40-50 per day.

Parking prices also surge during peak travel seasons around holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas when demand exceeds supply. Savvy travelers can save money by booking in advance, using parking discounts, and avoiding overpriced on-site airport parking during peak seasons in favor of cheaper off-site lots farther from the terminals.

Short-term vs Long-term Airport Parking: Which One to Choose?

Short-term parking is best for trips under 5 days in length. It provides quick, convenient access to terminals at affordable daily/hourly rates.

Long-term parking is cheaper for longer trips of 5+ days, but involves taking shuttles to get to terminals. It offers lower weekly and monthly rates that save money over short-term rates for extended trips.

The crossover point where long-term parking becomes the cheaper option is typically 5-7 days. Travelers should compare total cost and weigh the convenience vs potential cost savings to choose what works best for their specific trip length and budget.

Here are some guidelines:

  • 1-2 days: Use short-term parking 
  • 3-5 days: Short-term parking often still cheaper but compare rates
  • 5+ days: Long-term parking likely the cheaper option
  • 2+ weeks: Long-term parking almost always cheaper

When in doubt, compare total cost using daily/weekly rates at the given airport to determine which parking type makes sense for your specific trip length.

What are Some Reliable Short-Term Airport Parking Services?

There are many reputable providers offering reliable short-term airport parking services across the U.S. and Canada. Some of the top airport parking providers include:

  • Park ‘N Fly
  • The Parking Spot 
  • Quick Park 
  • Zoom Parking
  • WallyPark
  • Airpark Reservations
  • Park2Go 

These companies offer booking services for short-term parking at major airports. Travelers can compare rates, reserve parking spots, and even access parking discounts and promo codes to save money. Many services also offer free shuttle services and guaranteed spaces for added convenience and reliability when using short-term airport parking facilities.


Short-term airport parking provides an affordable, convenient parking option for travelers going on shorter trips. Following the tips and tricks covered in this guide will help maximize the ease of use, savings and reliability of using short-term airport parking.