Have you ever decided against going to a show, event or restaurant because the idea of parking sounded like too much of a hassle? Or because the parking was just too expensive?
Of course you have.
If you live in a city, you know parking is a pain. Sure, many of us now catch a ride with Uber or Lyft to avoid that stress. But those services can be pricey too, especially in peak hours. And if we have passengers or supplies in tow, sometimes we just need the convenience of our own car.
Parking apps to the rescue
I recently met friends at a concert. The first thing everyone talked about was how long the line was to get into the venue’s parking lot, and how it cost them $20-25. Others had opted to walk half a mile for easier access at only a slightly cheaper rate. And since they were already frazzled, I didn’t want to rub it in…
But I had just paid $3 to park… right around the corner.
Earlier that day I downloaded an app called Parking Panda. I entered the venue address and it showed a map noting all the parking lots in the area, their hours of operation, and the prices. The $25 lots were all listed. But there were some that I’d otherwise never have known about that were charging between $5 and $10.
I chose one 2 blocks from the major venue. It was $8 for 24 hours of parking. (Already a deal.) But then I went to a coupon site offering $5 off for first time users, bringing my total down to $3. I paid online in advance. I was sent a QR code that I scanned in as I entered, and I was good to go. So easy.
Parking Panda is just one of many apps that offer guaranteed pre-paid parking, so if it’s not available in your area, try one of the others listed below.
No matter which app you choose, you’re going save time, money, steps and probably a few gray hairs by finding and paying for your parking in advance. (And always Google for coupon codes for your app for additional savings!)
Here are some of the more popular parking sites and smartphone apps. All are free and most include timer notifications, real-time availability, and significant discounts over drive-up rates.
Pre-paid guaranteed parking apps
Available in 90,000+ locations, 4,200 cities, 7 continents
Shows the closest and cheapest open parking space in real-time, including parking lots and street parking.
Available in 40+ cities. Parking Panda sets itself apart by partenering with major sporting events and venues, so it often has special offers the others don’t. Green dots indicate these exclusive deals.
Reserve a spot in advance in 30 major cities and save up to 50%. Offers monthly rates.
Available in 100+ cities and 115+ airports
This is a cool website and app that shows where you will find free and metered street parking in your city. Enter the hours and location to see a real-time map.
Parkopedia calls itself the Wikipedia of parking, showing parking maps and rates for 75 countries and over 6000 cities.
United Airport Parking
Airport parking (usually at large corporate hotels nearby) that give you a place to park your car and frequent shuttle service to the terminal at a fraction of airport rates. Prices average about $2-3 day plus a $5 service fee.
Airport Parking Reservations
Airports and cruiseports in the U.S., Canada and UK
Read more: 9 apps that can make you extra money