Airport Parking: My New Favorite Travel Tool

One of the travel expenses often overlooked is getting to and from the airport. If you live in the city near your airport, you probably have cheap and speedy public transportation. In Chicago, for example, the CTA orange line drops you off inside Midway, and the blue line, inside O’Hare. Yay for you. Seriously.

But many travelers don’t have that option. We’re faced with a pricey cab ride, mooching a ride from family or friends, or driving ourselves and swallowing the cost of expensive airport parking.

This post is for those of you in that category.

Some time ago, we exhausted our familial transportation option. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to ask for another ride to the airport at 5am. Or a ride home at 11pm.

So we changed it up and starting taking a taxi. It was pretty reliable, with some drawbacks. I’d worry whether the driver would show up on time. Once, we ended up taking side streets to the airport for heaven knows what reason.

And then there’s spending 40 awkward minutes with a stranger. Okay, I’ll admit it, we have some good stories. Like driver Hoover Hong’s long-winded recollection of driving solo from Chicago to Alaska, during which he saw a ghost. Or, in his words, repeated many, many times, “Awwww, sheeeeeeet, a, how you say, ghooooose!?”

Or the Russian math teacher who has figured out how to consistently win the lottery—“I just trust my guts, you know?”

Recently, my mom passed along a resource for cheap airport parking, and now we drive in peace, on time, to the airport, and don’t have to pay a small fortune to do so.

It’s called Plug in your airport, your dates and times, and you’ll get a list of all parking options and the prices. Recently, we parked at an off-site lot with a free shuttle to O’Hare for $5.99 a day for nine days, a fairly long trip, and even that turned out to be cheaper than a cab. That’s in comparison to the $18 a day to park at O’Hare itself.

Plus, they have a rewards system, and we keep getting $5 credits for doing virtually nothing, like signing up for the newsletter, liking them on Facebook, booking another reservation within 3 months, and referring a friend.

Check it out for your next trip. And let me know if you want to sign up so I can refer you and get myself some $5 credits.