The second busiest airport in California, San Francisco International Airport is 13 miles south of downtown San Francisco. Serving more than 50 million passengers a year, the SFO Airport is also the largest in the Bay Area. As you would expect, this means that finding inexpensive SFO parking can be quite a hassle most days, and more so during the holidays and other peak travel seasons. Here are 5 ideas for hassle-free parking at SFO Airport.
There are many places for parking near and at SFO airport – whether you’re heading out for a long vacation or are planning for a short trip for work. With this guide on the different types of parking available and the best places to land a spot, your parking experience at SFO Airport will be trouble-free.
With six parking garages offering 15,000 parking spots, and hundreds of offsite lots nearby, there does seem to be enough parking at SFO Airport for all your needs.
People who often fly from SFO for work or personal reasons understand how important it is to find that perfect parking spot at SFO Airport. Parking your car in a location that you know is secure and well-monitored lets you fly off with peace of mind.
Now, let’s get down to the business of making sure you have no trouble at all in finding a safe and affordable parking spot at SFO Airport.
(Note: We have updated the info wherever possible to represent current rates and availability; however, SFO airport authorities may decide to update this status at any time.)
1. Book ahead of your travel
Although not everyone is aware of this option, you can reserve a parking space ahead of time to ensure that you have one on the day of your departure. As you would expect, the sooner you reserve your SFO Airport parking, the less you’ll have to pay.
The Way.com website or app is the simplest and most convenient way to reserve a parking spot at an offsite lot ahead of time. To get an accurate estimate of how much you’ll have to pay for your parking space, simply enter your arrival and departure times.
Missing a flight could cost you hundreds of dollars. Although some airlines will let you board the next available flight for free, you will still be wasting time. If you have to buy a new ticket or not, missing a flight may have serious consequences. This is particularly true on business trips. It’s worth reserving your SFO parking spot as soon as possible to ensure you leave on time.
2. Consider offsite parking at SFO Airport
Most people choose to park as close to their terminal as possible, making sense for those who have a lot of luggage. If you are willing to deviate from the norm and choose offsite parking near the airport rather than onsite parking at SFO Airport, you can save a significant amount of money and save time searching for a parking spot. Even the cheapest onsite parking at the Long Term Surface Lot and Long Term Garage is $18 per day, while offsite parking lots start at $6 per day.
There are many long term parking lots near SFO Airport that provide secure parking and a free shuttle bus service. You can use this service instead of calling a taxi, Uber, or waiting for a bus. When you reserve a parking space in advance, you ensure that you can park in a convenient location regardless of how busy the season is.
3. Be sure of your priorities
It is not always easy to find a reasonably priced parking space. If this occurs, you’ll probably need to be a bit more flexible with your budget so as to avoid circling airport lots in the hopes of finding an empty space. In fact, parking your car at SFO airport for a few days can easily cost more than $100. However, paying this charge is often less expensive than buying a new ticket due to missing your flight. If you have to pay money to book another flight or not, you are still wasting time, which not everybody has. Bear in mind that airport parking rates can vary depending on how busy the season is, so keep this in mind while you browse.
4. Arrive as early as possible
You should arrive at least several hours before your flight if you want to have the best chance of finding a parking spot at SFO. Arriving early at the San Francisco airport to get through TSA screening is usually a smart idea, so this shouldn’t be an issue for most people. Keep in mind that during peak travel periods, such as the holidays, spring break, and so on, you’ll need to arrive far earlier. Arriving at the airport earlier in the morning, as a general rule, would make it much easier to locate a parking spot. Even if your flight is in the afternoon, keep this in mind. You can also use your airport time to catch up with emails, social media, check out the stores, or unwind with a cocktail.
5. Consider San Francisco traffic
Even on a good day, San Francisco traffic is notorious for being extremely hectic. If there is a traffic jam caused by construction or even a minor collision, traffic would be much worse than expected! Therefore, it would be best to leave for the airport several hours before your flight’s departure time. This will give you ample time to research the traffic situation and take appropriate measures.