Hate Paying for Parking? Save Time & Money With This Tip

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Hate Paying for Parking? Save Time & Money With This Tip

Million Mile SecretsHate Paying for Parking? Save Time & Money With This TipMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Tired of paying outrageous rates to park your car?

Team member Harlan recently took a road trip.  And paid for a parking spot ~1 month in advance!  I asked him to explain how this can save time & money on your next trip.

Harlan:   I drove from Dallas to Denver earlier this month.  And stayed downtown, where parking is scarce – and expensive.  But I knew I wanted to park the car and leave it for 3 days.

After researching, I realized I could save big by paying in advance.  And save time by not having to hunt for a spot once I got into the city!

Ever Pay For Parking You Could Be Saving Time Money With This Tip
SpotHero Saved Me a Heap of Cash on Parking in Downtown Denver This Month

I used SpotHero to reserve my spot.  And I’ll share why I’ll use this service every time I travel with a car in the future!

Get Parking Discounts When You Travel

Link:   SpotHero

Last time I was in Denver, I balked at the $40 per night parking rate the hotel was charging.  And drove around the corner to a cheaper parking garage.

And this time, I saved even more money booking a spot before my trip with SpotHero.  I booked a garage just 2 blocks from where I stayed.  And was able to compare several parking facilities before I chose one.

The experience was easy and intuitive.  Now I’ll use SpotHero every time I’m driving and need to park.  I only wish I’d known about it sooner!

Here’s how it works.

Step 1.   Search Your Location and Dates

To get started, navigate to SpotHero.  Enter the address near where you want to park, and the dates you plan to enter and exit your spot.  Then click “Search.”

Ever Pay For Parking You Could Be Saving Time Money With This Tip
It’s Easy to See What’s Available. Enter Your Location & Dates and Hit “Search”

You can also search for parking at airports, malls, performance venues, and much more.  And SpotHero searches for monthly parking, if you ever have a long stay somewhere.

Step 2.   Find Your Spot

Click “Details” next to each listing on the left to see the amenities of each spot, and pictures of the parking entrance.

Ever Pay For Parking You Could Be Saving Time Money With This Tip
See What’s Offered at Each Location, Like Whether You Get In and Out Privileges, and If You Have to Self Park or Valet

And on the map, you’ll see each spot’s exact location with respect to the address you searched.  So you can weigh price and distance, and decide how much you’re willing to pay and walk.

Ever Pay For Parking You Could Be Saving Time Money With This Tip
Scan the Prices and Locations on a Map

There was a cheap lot ~6 blocks from my location.  But I opted a pay a little more to be only 2 blocks away.  So I found the map feature to be the most helpful.  Both the map and the amenity details are great to have to make a decision.

Keep in mind, the price you see is the total price, inclusive of all tax and charges.

Step 3.   Pay and Reserve

Once you decide what’s best, review your reservation details.  Then enter your card information and click “Pay & Reserve.”

Ever Pay For Parking You Could Be Saving Time Money With This Tip
Reserve It!

Step 4.   Get the Email With Your Details

After that, you’re done!  You’ll receive an email with the instructions on how to find the parking facility, and any other pertinent details.  If your spot includes a mobile pass, you’ll get that in the email, too.

Ever Pay For Parking You Could Be Saving Time Money With This Tip
Follow the Directions to Access Parking

You’ll need to pull up your parking pass at mobile pass locations.  So be sure you have enough battery life in your phone so you can scan it.  Or print and keep it with you, if you like to have paper copies of your travel details.

The Parking Experience

This was my first time ever reserving a parking spot in advance.  So I wasn’t sure how it would go.

But, it all worked exactly as described in my email instructions.  I scanned my mobile pass when I entered, and the gate lifted.  Then parked in an open spot, noted where it was located, and walked away to explore Denver.

Ever Pay For Parking You Could Be Saving Time Money With This Tip
I Enjoyed Denver Without Having to Worry About My Car Thanks to SpotHero

When I drove out of the parking garage 3 nights later, I scanned the pass again.  And that was it – couldn’t have been easier!  No extra payments or futzing with a ticket machine.

The $21 daily rate at the garage where I parked would’ve cost $63 ($21 per day X 3 days) if I hadn’t reserved in advance.  But I only paid $42 via SpotHero.  So it’s like I received 1 day free, or a ~33% discount!

I’m officially converted to paying in advance for parking whenever possible.  SpotHero also has a feature that lets you book as early as 30 minutes in advance.  With a little planning, you can save money & time on what can be an outrageous expense.  I wish I’d known of this before!

Bottom Line

Team member Harlan recently saved time & money booking a parking spot in advance with SpotHero.  He says it’s worth checking any time your travels include driving to places where parking is hard, like city centers and airports.

Do you know of any other sites or ways to save on parking?

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Used SpotHero last summer in Chicago. 1/2 price the regular rate at a ramp attached to our hotel. Very easy. We did not go in and out of course, but for what we wanted to do over 3 days in Chicago it was great. We walked the city and when we needed to head out to see the Sox, we used Uber. Highly recommend.

Awesome, glad to hear you had a similarly easy experience. Thank you for sharing this – Chicago would be a GREAT place to prepay for parking!

Just keep in mind that most such prepaid parking is park and leave. There usually are no in and out privileges. So if you want to park overnight and drive your car during the day, be careful if I in and out privileges are included

That’s a great point! SpotHero shows you if in/out parking is offered at each location. I just wanted to park and walk around the city for a few days, so it was perfect for what I needed.

Thank you for commenting!

I have not had the wonderful experience with SpotHero that Harlan descibes. Instead I find it more reasonable and less expensive to simply drive into a city, to hunt for a free spot and to then, if unsuccessful, locate a lot near my destination. I have never found a lot to be more expensive than what Spot Hero was offering me before I left home and have therefore abandoned even looking at its options.

Nevertheless, if you are the sort who fears driving to a new destination without everything arranged ahead of time, it may be something worth looking into.

Thanks for the insight! In my situation, I had a 9+ hour drive and definitely didn’t want to deal with circling around hoping I’d find street parking. I also didn’t want to deal with digging out the car in case it snowed. But I do agree – if you’re going to a place where parking is ample, there would be no need to reserve a parking space. I’d only use SpotHero for dense urban centers or other places where parking is typically hard to find.