I recall, in the past, budgeting my money to make sure I had enough to purchase a trip and have plenty of spending money while on vacation. I considered, the plane ticket or cruise fare, food, souvenirs, even new travel clothes and toiletries. I had a list and checked off each item with a sense of pride that all was accounted for! This particular trip was a cruise out of Miami. I was all set and ready to go. That is, until we reached the cruise terminal.

A sign reads, PARKING: $XX.00 per day… I immediately started adding up the days in my head and with quick math my confidence deflated into disgust. How dare “these people” – the cruise industry- take advantage of us like this!!! Aren’t we already paying enough for the cruise?! They have to take more money?! I wasn’t mentally or emotionally prepared for this revelation; the unexpected hidden expense of parking. It’s very easy to forget about or miss this detail. The excitement of starting the trip can blur one’s focus. If vacation lasts for 7-10 days, the cost of parking can quickly add up eating into your food or souvenir budgets.

After my sticker shock parking experience, I never forgot to consider this expense for future trips. It’s amazing how my perception changed from feeling I was being cheated for one trip to not giving it a 2nd thought on the subsequent trips. That’s what experience and the knowledge that comes with traveling does; it reduces worry since you know what to expect. Are you planning to take a trip soon?

Whether it’s the airport, train station, a cruise, or even a road trip, parking is very much a part of travel. A cost not accounted for can seem very expensive! As travel professionals, we like to help our clients consider everything for their exciting vacation, even something as mundane as parking. As we always say @ GO JDTravel, “An informed client is a happy client!” We take the time to research the terminal and/or destination to determine the most reputable and cost effective means to park. At times, the parking could be so expensive it may make one look at alternate means of commute. Arrange a ride to be picked up or dropped off at the terminal. Plan to utilize public transportation at your destination or other “ride services”.

If parking is the best option, consider economy parking lots. These are less expense than the parking provided directly at the terminal. Usually these lots are remotely located and require a shuttle to the terminal. Factor the time a shuttle will take and possible shuttle expense (fare and/or tip) as you plan your trip so you don’t feel rushed or taken by surprise. Contact the terminal in advance to inquire about parking and research parking options online. One recommended resource for estimating and reserving parking is parkwayparking. This site has a user-friendly interface and the convenience of advanced booking.

So, parking no longer needs to be a hidden expense. You can enjoy the journey and destination of your trip with confidence as you explore the world. Have you come across parking resources or tips in your travels? Please comment and share.