Airport Parking Guide for Baltimore-Washington International

Over the 2004-5 holiday season, more than 22,000 cars parked overnight at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. But BWI manages to make parking, all year round, easier than most metropolitan airports.

The best feature of the BWI parking system may be their SmartPark hourly parking garages. These feature a system of easy to intuit red and green lights that show you exactly where empty parking spots are. Just follow the lights to a row with spaces, locate a green light in the distance and pull in. Like closing the refrigerator door, the light goes off once you are in your space. It works brilliantly. The first hour at these close-in lots is free, escalating to $4 for 61-90 minutes and $2 for each additional half hour, up to a daily maximum of $30.

Further out, the daily garage offers rates of $2 an hour to a maximum of $10 a day. And even the more economical satellite lots, at $1 an hour to an $8/day max, offer a very reliable and frequent shuttle service. You’ll want to allow a little extra time, though.

Another nice feature at BWI is the new lot, off-site, where you can wait for your arriving friend or relative. Homeland Security regulations make it impossible to park at the curb anymore and BWI’s police officers are serious so don’t make the mistake of ignoring the signs. Don’t stop and wait anywhere EXCEPT the designated waiting lot. It works quite well, though. Just wait for your frequent flier to call your cell, and by the time they’ve gotten outside the terminal, you’ll be there!

And, since BWI is often the airport of choice for folks as far away as Philadelphia due to famously low Southwest Airline fares, another parking option is at one of the airport hotels. Many offer great Park and Fly packages, including breakfast, complimentary shuttles and more. Most of the major chains like Ramada, Sheraton, Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Holiday Inn, Marriott and others have nearby hotels. Stay overnight, and leave feeling refreshed–plus, know your car is safely and conveniently parked. Some hotels will allow you to leave your car for as long as 21 days.

With parking so easy, you’re bound to have a great trip!

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