Can I Leave My Car at the Airport for a Holiday?

14th November, 2022, in Travel Advice & Guides

Jetting off on holiday is always an exciting time. It may come with some stress, but once you are on the plane, many of these stresses will have gone away. You’ll soon be relaxing, exploring, eating and drinking.

Before getting to this point, though, there are a few things to sort, and one of those often left until the last minute is where you will park your car. You’ve driven to the airport, but where is the car going to go? Luckily, almost all airports in the UK offer long-stay car parks, meaning you can park for the duration of your stay within airport grounds. Then when you return, head to the nearby car park and make your journey home.

In many cases, you may not be able to just turn up on the day and park, especially during the peak summer holiday or Christmas periods. With that in mind, we have looked into all you need to know about parking at the airport for a holiday.

Read on to find out more.

Choose the right car park for airport car park booking

Before turning up at the airport and parking in the first available slot, it would be wise to check you’ve chosen the appropriate car park. Most airports operate both short- and long-stay car parks. Choosing to park in the short-stay car park but going away for a week will result in huge parking fines. Short-stay car parks are usually for a duration of a few hours to a couple of days.

As short-stay parks are normally used for pick-ups and drop-offs, they tend to be closer to the terminals than the long-stay car parks. Long-stay car parks tend to be much larger and are further away, often requiring a shuttle bus to take passengers to and from the car park.

Can I just turn up and park my car at the airport?

In many cases you can, however the rates can be more expensive doing it this way. You also run the risk of there not being a space, especially during peak travel periods. Booking in advance tends to offer cheaper rates, so as soon as you have the dates of travel, look at the airport car parking options.

How long can I park my car at the airport?

Different airports have different timescales, with a maximum of around 3 months being quite common. However, many are happy for you to park there for as long as you need. After all, you will be liable for the cost that the parking space accrues. With each airport being different, it would be beneficial to speak to the airport car park team directly, especially if you are on a trip that doesn’t have a pre-determined return date. You will also be able to find out if there are any penalties for returning early.

How much does airport car parking cost?

Prices vary per airport and charges are normally worked out on a daily rate. However, you will commonly find rates calculated per week, too. In most cases, it is hard to give a price as they vary per day in many airports. For example, a £30 stay today could be a £50 stay tomorrow.

Advance bookings will be cheaper than turning up on the day, when you can see prices start at as much as £30 per day, and then £25 for every subsequent day.

Can I cancel airport car parking?

If you have booked airport car parking but since found a cheaper or more viable option, you may be able to cancel. Each airport has a different cancellation policy, so it would be worthwhile checking this first. We have found some that allow you to cancel with just a few hours’ notice, but others require up to a whole day. Cancellation fees may apply, too, so it is worth checking the full terms of the cancellation policy before proceeding.

What alternative car parks are there?

You might be able to park in another local car park, perhaps even on the side of a road, but you run the risk of minimised security and a greater distance to the airport. Many airports are located quite remotely, meaning you still have a substantial journey from car to airport.

In some cases, third-party car parking is available away from the airport that operates a shuttle bus service to the airport itself. This particular option may require a little research, as the route the shuttle takes may mean the journey to the airport is quite long.

Some residents may also offer their driveway as a parking option. These can be very cheap compared to airport parking, but again you will be some distance from the airport and may have to source a taxi or bus to get you to the airport itself.


When you arrive abroad, collect a hire car to fully explore the place you are visiting. We have curated a car hire directory for the most popular holiday destinations, so you can be ready to go the moment you land. Just make sure you don’t forget car hire excess insurance. That way, you are covered from all eventualities with your hire car. Speak to us today to get a free quote.

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