Heathrow passengers are being warned to watch for eye-watering parking rates over the Bank Holiday weekend – where leaving your car over four days could cost you more than an actual holiday.
The hub, which carries more than 80million passengers a year, has been named and shamed as the priciest airport for parking costs, where a short stay stop at Terminal 5 will set you back £168.
This is more than the cost of a flight from Heathrow to Brussels (£158.64), Hamburg (£155.38) and Dusseldorf (£159.98).
The figures are part of an investigation by price comparison website Airport Parking Shop which looked at the cost of parking for four days over the August Bank Holiday at all UK airports.
It found in Heathrow, passengers are being charged £168 to leave a car in the Sofitel short stay car park at Terminal 5, from Friday to Monday.
That's almost three times the average cost of £62 around the UK.
Luton was named as the second most expensive airport for short stay car parking, where the official on-site car park is charging an inflated £93.99 – £6 more expensive than the previous weekend.
This is more than a flight from Luton to Amsterdam the following weekend, which leaves Friday and returns on Monday and costs £71.96.
Elsewhere, parking your car for four days at East Midlands Airport will cost you £64.99, while Luton will set you back £93.99.
Birmingham Airport, which welcomes more than 1.3million people over August alone, will charge you £72.02 to park in car parks 2 & 3 short stay car park for four days.
By contrast, you can buy a one-way ticket from Birmingham to Gran Canaria (£35), Reus (£49), Tenerife (£51) and Alicante (£67), Dalaman (£40), Bodrum (£65), Corfu (£49) and Rhodes (£49) for less.
The cheapest airport parking can be found at Prestwick, for £35, while Glasgow Flying Scot charges the least when it comes to park & ride at £20.99.
This is well below the national average of £58.39, and is closely followed by deals at Aberdeen £22.99, Birmingham £26.00 and Bristol £30.00. London City has the most expensive Park and Ride places at £85.50, followed by Stansted at £72.00.
Alice Fowler, at Airport Parking Shop, said: "Doing your research is crucial when it comes to securing a good deal for airport parking.
"Turning up at the last minute without booking is a sure fire way to end up paying a small fortune.
"You need to plan ahead and shop around, as the best price may not appear on a company’s own website.
"Using a price comparison site like ours will help you to make an informed decision and save you time comparing prices across many different sites.
"On average our users save up to 60 per cent on gate prices.”
Most expensive airports over the August Bank Holiday
East Midlands £64.99
Cheapest airports over the August Bank Holiday
Beat airport parking costs
To get the best prices on our airport parking it's best to book as far in advance as possible. Many companies will offer 'super saver' packages that are competitive on price. TravelSupermarket estimates you can save as much as 60% by buying in advance.
Get on the right mailing lists. You can do this long before you’re ready to book your parking. It’s a great, easy way of finding out about the latest deals and offers without having to trawl the internet.
Look at both the airport and price-comparison websites – online agents such as Holiday Extras ( holidayextras.co.uk ) and BCP ( parkbcp.co.uk ) can offer some very competitive rates.
Booking a hotel? Often passengers will find that bundling their parking in with their hotel will cost much cheaper.
Check car park standards: If you are booking through an independent car park, double check where your car will be kept. A “Park Mark” award scheme ( parkmark.co.uk ) is a useful indication of proper security and quality standards.
Can you get a refund if the trip is cancelled? Travel insurance won't generally cover this, so make sure your chosen car park will refund you if the worse happens. Check the terms and conditions to see if you can cancel and get a full refund and don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for any cut-off dates. Holiday Extras ( holidayextras.co.uk ), for example, allows you to claim your money back and park free if you find it cheaper elsewhere, subject to conditions.
Park & Ride: This is by far one of the cheapest ways to travel – even when you factor the entire family in. It's usually run by the airport itself and will involve a shuttle bus taking you to and from the terminal with your luggage.
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