I Found A Good Off-Airport Parking Spot In Orlando
We’re lucky living in Tampa. Tampa International Airport constantly ranks among the best in the country. It’s designed well. Getting to the gate is quick and easy. Flight delays are minimal compared to other big city airports. Plus you don’t get stuck in a runway traffic jam of 30 planes waiting to take off at the same time.
Sometimes Tampa International Won’t Cut It
Sometimes though, Orlando’s airport has better options. In particular, I’ve found that traveling to my new favorite destination (Colombia in South America) is much easier if I fly from MCO. They have direct flights to Bogota. When I flew from Tampa, I had to fly NORTH to Newark, New Jersey first! Trust me. I hate doing the drive on I-4. Fighting Disney World traffic with tourists driving rental cars they don’t know on roads they are unfamiliar with is a nightmare. But Tampa International has a much smaller selection of international flights compared to its ugly cousin to the east.
But flying from Orlando means you’ve either got to call in a REALLY enormous favor from a friend by asking them for a ride. Or you have to find a parking spot. And parking at Orlando’s Airport can be a pretty big ordeal. And an expensive one. Their main parking garages charge $24 a day;. The economy lots are almost half that price at $14 a day. If you go the cheap route, you’ll have to wait for a shuttle to get you to the terminal. But even $14 a day seemed pricy to me so I explored off-airport parking for my Thanksgiving trip.
So where did I park?
After reading a bunch of online reviews, I decided to give Park ‘N Go Airport Parking of Orlando a try. They were about a 10 minute drive to the terminals so I got there super early just in case they didn’t run often. Plus with Plant City, Lakeland, Disney and Orlando traffic, you definitely want to leave extra wiggle room time if you’re driving from the Tampa area. So how did it go? Not bad. Not bad at all!
The Key Thing To Save Money
First things first – PREPAY for your parking. If you roll up to the lot without a timed reservation for your departure and return, the sign on the front entrance said $25 a day. I paid NOWHERE near that price. After fees and taxes, my parking rate came out to about $8 a day. So if you try Park ‘N Go, whip the credit card out and book everything online before you leave Tampa.
Arriving at the Park ‘N Go Lot
Finding the Park ‘N Go lot was pretty simple. Just pop 6100 S Semoran Blvd, Orlando, FL into your GPS. Upon arrival, I noticed I was almost an hour early. I asked the attendant if that’d be a problem and she said it was fine. It didn’t take long to find a parking space, but apparently I didn’t listen to directions (not uncommon for me). She told me to park near the back but I saw an ideal space sooner and took that. The shuttle driver did still find me but said he’d been waiting for me where the attendant told me to park. We were off to the terminal pretty quickly, and it would’ve been sooner had I followed directions. I’d say it was about 10-15 minutes from the time I parked until the time I walked through the airport doors.
When I Got Back to Florida…
When I returned about 9 days later, I figured this would be the true test. There’s NOTHING worse than getting to your destination and having to wait for a shuttle. I called the office as I was instructed to do before I left. The guy who answered the phone told me where to go get picked up. The wait to get back to the lot was definitely longer, but not unreasonable – about 20 to 30 minutes.
No surprises when I got to my car. Even though there was cars parked next to me where there shouldn’t have been (it was a holiday so they were probably oversold), there were no dents or dings. My arrival time was later than I anticipated, but not by much. Still I wondered if my arriving early and leaving late would mean extra cost. They indicated on the ticket that the price quoted was an estimate based on the arrival and departure times I provided. I was ready to argue that the shuttle took a while to pick us up. I didn’t need to. I showed my reservation number on my phone and the woman at the gate only asked one question… if I wanted a free bottle of water for the long drive back to Tampa.
Park ‘N Go… well done. The competitive parking rate of $8 a day was what I wanted. But it that last little parting gift of a tiny bottle of water that sealed the deal. I’ll be using you if I (and I hope I don’t have to) have to fly out of MCO again. Their website is bookparkngo.com and phone number is (407) 777-7700.