How to find cheap parking in a big city

Tips to help you find free or cheap car parking in a big city.

How to find cheap parking in a big city

Whether you’re in a hire car in another country or simply heading into your hometown capital for a night on the town, finding parking – especially of the affordable ilk – can often be a challenge.

Who wants to pay $35 for a three-hour home for your car? Or $8–$10 per hour on a street-side parking spot?

These super handy hints from an article on will save you money on parking so you can spend more on your outing instead. 

Look for free parking
Sometimes, just 10 minutes away, you’ll find community lots that offer free parking up to a certain time. These may belong to shopping centres, supermarkets and public libraries. In some big cities, these are also known as ‘free until lots’ that offer free parking on weekdays or early on weekends. Don’t abuse the privilege, but by all means, take advantage of a couple of hours’ free parking.

Leg it a bit
Most big cities will have free or cheaper parking on the fringe of the city, so if you’re not afraid of walking for a while, that’s where you can save a bundle on parking. Besides, the walking might do you some good.

Reserve a spot
Some parking lots allow you to pre-book a space at a lower rate. Just call ahead and inform them as to when you’ll arrive and leave, and ask for the best rate.

Know someone local?
If you know someone who lives in an apartment building close to the city, ask them if you can use their parking spot for a few hours.  

Use parking apps
There are a bunch of parking apps on Google Play and the App Store that focus on finding free or cheap (or just available) parking in most major cities. They often allow you to compare rates and the distance from your destination. Look for apps such as ParkMe, SpotHero or Cheap Parking.

Want a long-term solution?
Maybe you go into the city a few times a week or maybe you're still working yet losing a day's wages in parking each week. All around Australia, there are hundreds of thousands of residential parking spots going idle. Parkhound connects people with unused parking spaces to rent, with those searching for a long term solution to their parking needs.

On your bike
If parking a car is going to be a major hassle, get on your bike instead. You could also drive to a hire bike depot, park your car for free nearby, and hire a treadly to ride into the city instead. Bikes cost nothing to park and the hire fee is usually cheaper than most big city parking lots.

Use a community car
Some community cars are very cheap to hire for an hour in and out – sometimes much less than the $35 you’d pay to park in the inner city. And community cars have dedicated car parks that are free, councils also offer free community car parking.

Use public transport
Take a cab or ride service and get dropped off in the city then take public transport to get around town – it’ll still be cheaper than paying for long-term parking.

Do you have any tips for saving money on car parking? Or do you have a preferred app that helps you find free or cheap parking?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    23rd May 2019
    we have free local parking but it is timed. So if you have cancer and are trying to access the bus that takes u for treatment and brings you back tough luck if your not there hours early to find a parking spot. we have asked the council to waive it for such people , Our local MP Mark Ryan is supposed to be in contact with the council , as yet no luck Its hard enough battling cancer , and spinal issues without other issues like this
    24th May 2019
    Solution. Don't live in busy cities !
    24th May 2019
    we have lived further out /rural but u still have to travel to the city for health care not as easy as u might think

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