The best time to book holiday extras?

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When is the best time to book your holiday extras like airport car parking? Just like getting your travel money and travel insurance arranged, your parking space can be one of those last-minute things on the holiday to-do list but is that a good thing?

Current research published by Staysure has shown that surprisingly, the two busiest airports in the country Heathrow and Gatwick have far fewer travellers booking parking spaces than some of the provincial airports. Manchester airport which is the third busiest in the UK has 3 times less passenger numbers than Heathrow but 3 times the amount of people searching for car parking spaces!

This is possibly down to Manchester airport serving a wider area and airport transfers which are well served at Heathrow and Gatwick.



It is generally best practice to book your parking in advance, probably when you have booked your flights because you can get much better deals than booking later or even just turning up on the day – not recommended in the summer! If you fly from the same airport regularly then you can usually get discounted deals from the car park operators for loyalty by signing up as a member or subscribing to their newsletters.

A good resource for comparing prices at all airports across the country is Skyparksecure  and you can find discounts here as well.

Although they are not as popular with travellers, the London airport car parks are generally more expensive than their provincial counterparts.

For much more information on airport parking check out the full article from Staysure.


We sometimes feel sorry for Moneycorp, Travelex and Ice PLC the UK’s resident airport currency dealers. At Gatwick for example, there seems to be a Moneycorp kiosk around every corner from the minute you enter the airport to the minute you step on to the plane. Here are a couple of recent reviews:

Shocking exchange rates when using the airport currency ATMs Euro 200 cost me £211.00 if I had reserved with them the day before to collect it would have cost £186.00. Total rip off

Absolutely terrible. I think I’m about £80 down on my holiday spending money after being ripped off at Gatwick Airport by this company. It says rate is “7.8%” on the receipt, but I don’t know how £500 translates to 5,000 Moroccan Dirhams when i think it’s more like over 6,000”

We often get reviews like this for the airport exchangers but are they fair? Like parking, if you wait until the last minute you will pay more. At Compare Holiday Money we often write about the wisdom of booking your travel money in advance and even if you leave it until the last minute you can use Click and Collect to reserve your currency for collection at the airport and get better rates. Moneycorp, like all airport traders have very high costs associated with operating there but they do form a valuable service for those of us that have left things too late. This is what Moneycorp say “Our margins are higher at airports due to the significant costs associated with operating there. To secure better rates, we always recommend pre-ordering through our Reserve & Collect service

This is indeed a valid argument because all traders at the airports have higher costs and even well known companies that provide ‘budget’ products have prices that are in some cases more than double that in out of airport locations. Wetherspoons pub chain for example charge £11.75 for fish and chips at Gatwick, but in most of their locations it is only half that so should we be surprised that Moneycorp have walk-up rates at the airport that are not as competitive?

So the moral of the story is however often you travel, ticking off the items on the holiday extras list as early as you can by booking in advance may help you to enjoy some little extras when you reach your holiday destination!

Posted by Graham Morley

Graham Morley

Graham is the Business Development Manager for Compare Holiday Money.

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