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Cheap airport car parking: is it worth it?

aeroplanesIn just over a month’s time, we are off on holiday. It is expensive but worth it: I know the weather here is lovely now but I never feel as if I’m on holiday unless I leave the country. The downside is the seventh circle of hell – also known as Gatwick Airport in August. I hate the place: the queues, the smell of fast food, crowds, the queues, miserable staff, the queues: you get the picture. What’s more, I even hate getting there and am already stressed about this. In mileage terms, we live less than 50 miles from the airport.

We could go by train but it involves changing trains at least once – and depending on the time we leave, up to three times – and takes about two hours. That’s too much hassle what with a child and two suitcases. It would cost about £50 for the two of us. And of course, there’s the worry about reliability: what if one connection is cancelled?
So we probably need to go by car. An online route planner (optimistically, I think) says it’s about an hour’s drive. There’s a shortcut cross country but I haven’t got a satnav so wouldn’t trust myself to find it so would go on the main roads and motorways. Fortunately, our flight is at lunchtime so we won’t need to get up in the middle of the night (although I plan to leave really early in case of not infrequent jams).

But of course I need to arrange car parking: another expense. From my research, I found I could get a week’s parking for £55 with no cancellation refunds but it’s offsite in a village which looks to be a few miles from the airport – the transfers run every 15 minutes and take 15 minutes. I’d rather be closer: also, I’d have to find the car park rather than just follow signs to the airport. Onsite, the official Gatwick parking is £110 for a week’s valet parking or £77 in the long stay. This is about ten minutes from the terminal and you get a little bus. Parking near enough to walk to the terminal would cost £127.

However, if you book Gatwick Parking via Quidco you get 6% off – not a huge amount and you have to wait for the refund but it cuts the cost down to £72.38 for the long stay. You can use a comparison site such as Holidaysupermarket.com to find deals. It’s also worth having a look at this article which is in favour of park and rides, particularly the security. However, there are also plenty of horror stories about airport parking sites online. I might try option three: see if I can persuade my brother to take a day off work and drive us. Fingers crossed....

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Saturday, 22 September 2018