It may seem like the least of your worries when planning a vacation or business trip, but parking at an airport can become your worst nightmare under the wrong circumstances. Read on to find out where and what to do to create a safe and secure atmosphere for you and your family!
The first thing to consider is if you really need to even take your car to the airport. Many times the cost of a limousine or a taxi may save you money in the long run when you consider the cost of leaving your car in the long-term parking lot. But let’s assume that you have to drive your car there and leave it for an undetermined length of time.
A good place to start is to get a map of the airport in regards to the parking lot layout. Most major airports have both long-term and short-term parking; placing the long-term parking a good distance away from the terminals and providing a shuttle service for the travellers. But this means that you must drag/carry/pull your luggage from your car to the actual shuttle stop – something that you may want to take into consideration while packing. At the same time, leaving your car so far away from the terminal means that you’re going to be at the mercy of the shuttle schedule. Although these buses usually run around the clock and almost nonstop, it’s something to keep in mind when planning the time factor of your trip. If it takes a good halfhour from parking your car to getting on the shuttle to the ticket counter, be sure to factor this in to make your flight!
So let’s assume that you’ve packed your car up in your driveway and are now ready to head for the airport, tickets in hand. But is your car as ready as you are?
First, check to make sure that all edibles have been removed from the interior; including the glove compartment and trunk. That innocent chocolate bar may seem like nothing to worry about on the back seat, but after a few days or even weeks in the hot sun it may prove to be a pernament addition to your seatcover. The same holds true for any sort of liquid inside bottles or cans that may explode under intense heat or just melt. You can try to block out the sun with various items placed on the windows, but why not just remove the food to begin with?
At the same time make sure that all personal data and information is cleared out of the car. Many times a thief can gain access to bank accounts or steal personal information using the scraps of paper left in the back seat – including ATM receipts, among others. Make sure that your car is as clean as it can be of all personal information that could be used by someone to steal your identity, or at least make your life miserable. While they may not steal the car, they can steal details about your life that could prove invaluable in the right criminal hands. This includes your cell phone and all removable electronic equipment, such as stereo systems and portable DVD players. Remember, the airport security may be patrolling the lots but they may not be able to see if a thief’s popped the door open and made off with your new DVD player and the portable laptop you left in the trunk.
Make sure that all fluids are topped up so that when you arrive back from your vacation you’re ready to turn the engine on and head home. There’s nothing worse than sitting in a near-empty parking lot and trying to figure out who can offer you a battery boost or trying to maneuver your way home in a blinding snowstorm without enough windshield fluid. Keep in mind that while these lots are patrolled, that doesn’t guarantee a tow truck will be immediately on the scene if you need assistance.
One last tip and you’re ready to go – leave an extra car key with a neighbour or family member in the area. Too many times people come home from a great vacation to find out that they’ve lost their car and/or house keys and are now stranded in the parking lot of the airport, bags in hand. Keep the phone number handy in case you need to ask for quick access to your extra set of keys.
Flying can be a stressful experience at the best of times, but you can do a lot to start your vacation off on the right foot. With a little preparation and foresight, your car can be as secure in an airport parking lot as it is in your own driveway – or possibly even safer!