You’ve decided it’s better to park at the airport, in their long or short-term parking lot, for this trip. Or maybe you did the “speed vs. cost math (here’s more about that) and think that off-site parking is a better deal this time around.
Either way, is it safe?
On-Site General Parking
Overnight on-site parking, be it long- or short-term, is more expensive than off-site parking. But with that extra expense, do you get extra security?
On-site airport-owned and -operated lots and garage lots are open to the public so anyone can access them. If they’re monitored at all, it’s by a drive- or bike-by security guard or when a camera happens to be showing the area where your car is. Airport lots and garages also tend to be poorly lit. So there’s little to stop thieves from entering the lot or garage, checking out cars and doing something bad – breaking into a car, stealing a car, etc.
On-Site Valet Parking
Valet parking is gated and manned, which would hopefully help increase the safety of your car. It’s also significantly more expensive than any other option (at MCO for example, valet parking is available for $25 per day, as opposed to $10 to $19 per day for various flavors of lot/garage parking).
Assuming an off-site parking lot is open 24/7, it’s hopefully gated and guarded. If that’s the case, your car has more safety than if it was in an area that was open to the public.
How to keep your car safer when parking at or near the airport:
- If you have a choice, try to park close to lighting and/or the elevator and/or the exit and/or the staffed gate, so your car is more visible to people when they are there.
- Park with your trunk facing out, so it’s more visible from the aisles.
- Don’t leave anything inside your car that would entice a would-be thief to try to break into your car to get it. That includes toll transponder, spare change, phone charger, sports equipment, boxes or bags that you can’t see what’s in them, etc.
- Hide your stuff before you get to where you’re going to park. If someone is watching and they see you putting stuff into the trunk before you walk away, which car do you think they’re going to steal from first?
- Make sure you lock all your doors when you leave. I know it sounds obvious, but I can’t even begin to tell you how many cars in our area are stolen, or items from inside are stolen, simply because people forget to lock their doors.
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