Locate the entrance and exit
The first and most important thing is to locate the entrance. When you arrive, look for signage that indicates the parking facility’s entrance. Some parking garages and lots may have multiple entries and have additional signage directing you to their location.
You will also want to know where the exit or exits are in the facility. Many parking lots have an exit next to the entrance, but other facilities have customers exit in a different location.
Three common ways to pay for parking
Parking garages and lots often require customers to pay for the time the vehicle is parked. How a customer pays can vary depending on the facility. PreFlight allows customers to prepay for their stay through a parking reservation. When a customer arrives, all they have to do is scan a barcode from their email confirmation to enter and exit.
Travel Tip:You can save money by booking your parking spot online. Parking companies will often offer discounts or special rates when you book in advance.
Other ways parking lots have customers pay is through a pay box or ticket. If the location has a pay box, take a picture of your license plate because you will type the number on the screen. Add 10 minutes to your original guesstimated return time in case you’re running late. Parking facilities that use a ticketing system give the ticket at the entrance. Leave the ticket in the car or place it in a wallet or purse for safekeeping. Garages charge customers for a whole day if they don't have the ticket when they leave.
Parking your SUV or truck
Above the entrance of the parking garage is the maximum clearance height for vehicles. Most vehicles will have no problem with the height restrictions. Drivers of tall trucks or SUVs however will need to make a judgment call if their vehicle fits. Parking facilities have designated stalls for large vehicles that are wider—ask the attendant for the location or look for signage.
Parking in the right spot
When you are looking for a spot, pay attention to the signage on the different levels or areas. Parking facilities may have stalls designated for private parking and are not for the general public to use. Parking operators can have your vehicle towed if you park in the wrong area, costing you more than just the parking fee.
Stay alert while driving
Parking garages and lots have several blind spots. Keep your eyes and ears open when driving through a lot or garage. Drive slowly around corners and come to complete stops when directed. Pay attention to pedestrians and cars exiting stalls. Also, turn your headlights on when driving in areas that have dim lighting to give yourself better visibility.
Safety and security in parking facilities
From time to time, cars have been broken into while at a parking garage or lot. Choose a parking spot in an area that is well lit and highly visible. After you park, place your personal belongings in the trunk or glove compartment. Don't leave anything of value visible in your car. Put them in a glove box or lock larger items in the trunk. Lock your car and turn on the car alarm. Be aware of your surroundings when walking from and to the vehicle. Don't text or talk on your phone, and don't use air pods or headphones while walking. Keep your keys or fob out and press the panic button if you are in danger.