Every car trip we make starts and finishes with a parking space. And as the average UK license holder takes 14 car trips per week, that’s around 1,500 parking spaces that the typical Brit has to find every year.
Of course, many of those spaces will be on our own driveway or street, but paying for parking is an unavoidable cost for drivers, and one we all hate, especially in larger cities where central parking charges can be eye-watering. On top of all that, getting it wrong and having a parking fine slapped on top can really ruin our day; 7.1 million on-street parking fines were issued in the UK between 2009 and 2010.
But there are some effective ways to save money on parking, and we’ve got five of the best parking alternatives here.
1. Driveway Parking
Using our own private driveway is probably the ultimate easy park. It’s free, you’re guaranteed to get a space and it’s very convenient for getting to your house! If only there was a private driveway you could swing into next to your workplace or the shops. Luckily, the new trend of renting driveway parking offers just that.
The idea is simple – to find cheap parking, use a parking space search site like spacehopper.com to search, locate and book a parking space on a private driveway or car park near your destination, and save up to 60% on parking charges. It’s a clever, convenient way of crowd-sourcing parking, linking up individuals with a space to spare with commuters, shoppers or tourists looking for a cheap parking alternative. No stress and less expense mean a better parking experience all round, and renting a driveway lets you to completely sidestep the established parking system run by local councils and private parking companies.
2. Economy Car Parking
In recent years, economy car parking has become big business, especially around major airports where long-term parking is in high demand. There’s a lot of choice out there when it comes to finding cheap parking, and booking well in advance can more than halve the cost of parking at the airport.
It might not be the obvious option, with so many off-site budget parking companies competing for custom, but it’s always worth checking the official airport parking website for quotes. These can often be very competitive, and you’ll know you’re getting a company you can trust with your prized motor. They may also have offers that the parking comparison sites don’t. You can also look at what’s on offer from your airline, or consider combined hotel and parking deals.
3. Car Sharing
Over half of us would share a car to get to work if they could find someone to do it with, and that’s not surprising – car sharing can drastically reduce driving costs, including fuel and parking charges. And of course there are other benefits, like reducing emissions and traffic on the road.
But only one in five of us uses this simple money-saving idea. Have you got a neighbour or colleague going in the same direction as you in the morning? They’re likely to be as open to the idea of lift sharing as you.
4. Car Clubs
Car clubs are a great way to navigate bigger cities by car without the stress and expense of finding cheap parking. Rent out a car from the club’s fleet and pick it up from a designated club parking space, gaining access using your club card. The advantage is that you only pay for the car hire itself when you need a car, so if you’re an infrequent car user it’s ideal. And because the club has designated reserved spaces, you don’t need to worry about where you park at the end of the hire period.
5. Beat Parking Charges with Technology
There is a plethora of parking apps around for smartphone users today that mean you can search for, book and pay for parking in advance. Some apps can also give you information about on-street parking regulations around your destination, so you can look for free spaces or the cheapest parking options too.