AAA is projecting that airports will be the busiest they’ve ever been over the Christmas and New Year’s travel period with 7.5 million air travelers this holiday season. This will surpass 2019’s record of 7.3 million passengers. With that many travelers, passengers need to be prepared for everything, even airport parking. So, here are four tips to help you avoid the inevitable airport parking chaos this holiday season. RELATED: 2023 Holiday Travel Airport Survival Guide

1. Don’t drive your car
Ultimately, if you can avoid driving your car to the airport altogether, then do it. Take a taxi, train, car service, rideshare or have a friend take you. Just don’t drive. Here’s a Tweet from New York City’s MTA: “Are you flying in or out of @JFKairport this holiday season? 🎁🛫 Use public transportation for a quicker, less expensive way to get to/from the airport!”

2. Show up early
If you must drive, then show up really early so you’re not scrambling. There are more travelers now than ever. To give you an example, TSA officers screened 2,282,951 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, December 19. Four years ago on the same day (pre-pandemic): 1,981,433.

3. Reserve your airport parking spots in advance
Better than showing up early is to reserve your parking spot in advance – especially during holidays. You can do this at individual parking providers, airports or Airports are warning their customers about just this. Take a look at a couple of examples from the last couple of days. Here’s a tweet from Pittsburgh International Airport: “Holiday travel rush starts NOW! Wait times currently. 🎄⬇️ Make things move faster by reserving parking.”

New  York JFK’s Airport just tweeted similar advice: “We can’t stress this enough – plan ahead and arrive early if you’re traveling for the holidays! Budget extra travel time to arrive at #JFKAirport, park in your reserved spot, check in, and get through security.”

4. Follow your airports on social
As you can see from the tweets above, airport executives are keeping the general public better informed about airport conditions, including parking. In my opinion, LAX does the best job as they have a dedicated X (formerly Twitter) handle (@FlyLAXstats) that provides real-time statistics of parking (and traffic) every hour, 24/7.

5. Check airport hotels
As one of my readers pointed out (thanks, Don S) a number of hotels around airports allow travelers to park there for a week or so if you stay overnight. Plus, they usually have a free shuttle.

So if you’re planning on parking at the airport this holiday, then either show up extra early or book in advance since parking is will probably be at a premium.


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