Hampton Inn Chester
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Stupid Tip of the Day: Do Not Try to Park For Free at a Hotel Near the Airport

“Has anyone parked at hotels without staying there and leaving your the car for 2-3 days without getting in trouble ? if so what hotels do u use? I’m thinking ill be using a high traffic hotel so hopefully they don’t notice my car!”

Stupid Tip of the Day: Do Not Try to Park For Free at a Hotel Near the Airport

FlyerTalk member futbol90x is already starting off on the wrong foot with that question.

First, property near an airport can be priced at a premium; and a hotel property is not maintaining a parking lot — which includes such elements as paving, striping and lighting — so that someone can park free of charge. In fact, many hotel properties which are located near airports charge their paying guests an additional fee for parking vehicles…

…and with so many options near the airport which charge for parking, imagine what would happen if word spread that a hotel property is allowing people to park their vehicles near the airport free of charge — whether or not it was intentional.

Second, how is futbol90x going to travel between the hotel property and the airport? Taxi cab? Bus? Rental car? The answer is most likely the shuttle bus operated by the hotel property. Operating a shuttle bus requires paying the driver, purchasing insurance, the cost of fuel, and wear and tear on the vehicle itself. A portion of the room rates which are paid by guests at the hotel property are most likely paying for the operation of the shuttle vehicle. Some hotel properties charge some paying guests to use the shuttle bus to and from the airport — such as the Hilton Dublin Airport, which now charges five euro per person for a return trip; or three euro per person one way.

Finally, most — if not all — hotel properties located near airports have security. Cameras, security personnel, gates and alarms all cost money. Activity in the parking lots are usually monitored; and a vehicle parked for three days in a parking lot is likely to arouse suspicion.


Many hotel properties located near airports not only will not give away free parking; but they attempt to sell excess parking spaces — which would otherwise be perishable for the night — for a discounted fee through services such as Airport Parking Reservations. Some hotel properties even offer stay and park packages for guests who travel far to get to the airport and need a place to stay for the night.

If your thoughts are similar to that of futbol90x, you can take your chances and attempt to park your vehicle for free in the parking lot of a hotel property located near the airport — and the vehicle may very well safely be there untouched when you return from your trip…

…but do not be surprised if that vehicle is either “booted” or towed away instead.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.


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  1. Is this the garabge you’re coming up with these days, fathead? It costs hotels money to maintain parking lots, gasp! If you park in a tow-away zone you may be towed. Earth shattering stuff.

  2. To a large extent it used to be a slam dunk and I would get the paper from the FD to place on my dash to boot. Wont go into how it was done but there were some key items 1 of which was parking at a hotel where they didnt charge guests to park , which is getting harder to find nowadays and with a few changes to how hotels do things now it discourages doing so although it may still work

    .Also best was not parking at a hotel that was all by itself ,but you want a hotel that was surrounded by a bunch of other hotels = alot more shuttles you can jump on to get back to your car. Havent done it awhile but when I did it it was for 2 or 3 nights.

    1. You are absolutely correct about not parking at the lone hotel property, craz; and for the reasons of safety which you cited.

      Yes, there are ways to finagle free parking from hotel properties near the airport; but revealing them here is probably not the ethical thing to do…

  3. I take my chances at LAX…for one night trips (once for two nights) and park in the nearby shopping center on Sepulveda Blvd. Then walk into the airport. I’d rather do this and spend the $40 on a nice lunch.

  4. I agree with your post. Unless you can find a public free parking lot you shouldn’t try this. You might get by with it but it doesn’t make it right.

    So I’m guessing that riding the parking spot shuttle to In-and-Out at LAX is out. It’s really not that bad of a walk from terminal 1 actually.

  5. Never done a free park. I’d imagine hotel clerks might do a parking card on a $20 tip..But never tried.

    Paying through Way or others online you can cut the time you pay for down. They rarely check dates on parking passes in lots. The big isssue is getting limos back to the hotel for your car. I usually have to grab a taxi back on my return.

    1. The problem with a gratuity, tassojunior, is what if an employee who was not tipped spots your vehicle; does not know about your informal arrangement; and decides to act upon having your vehicle ticketed or removed?

      While you may be successful with slipping 20 dollars as a tip, you are still taking a risk — albeit a smaller one…

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