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I've worked in my current job for about two years and have only had to travel a couple times. Even so, it's never been by air. Typically, I would rent a car and drive a few hours away to the customer's location.

The people that do regularly travel by air have to drive to the airport and leave their car. They can also take a taxi/Uber/Lyft, but that's only for the in town airport. Usually they need to travel to the neighboring city's airport because it's bigger.

So I have to travel by air in a couple weeks out of a neighboring city's airport. My problem is that I just bought a new car last week. I'm extremely paranoid about leaving my car at an airport for a week while I'm gone, but I don't see another option. Uber is out of the question because it's way too far. Renting a car will most likely be denied as well because I know my boss won't want to rent two cars for one job visit. This is especially true because one of the cars will just be sitting in a parking lot for a week.

What are my options for dealing with this?

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    Your workplace options are to just go along with it or to refuse and insist on another option, and deal with whatever consequences come with that. Have you spoken to your boss about this? You seem to be making a lot of assumptions about what they'll do. Any other possible way you could get to the airport wouldn't really be workplace related. Although it's worth noting that a lot of car rental services (at least where I'm from) allow you to return cars to one of many locations (sometimes with a small surcharge), so it wouldn't necessarily be "sitting in a parking lot for a week". – Dukeling Jun 13 at 21:53
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    Where are you located? Depending on your state/country, you can expect full reimbursement for all reasonable expenses incurred for work travel - including getting to/from the airport. — If Uber is too far, can you pre-arrange a taxi or car service? – Jay Jun 14 at 5:52
  • What would happen if your car was not available? If you had none or if your's needed repairs? – nvoigt Jun 14 at 8:13
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    @JoeStrazzere He could even talk to his boss about one of the coworkers dropping him off. It really isn't a difficult situation. – Tryb Ghost Jun 14 at 11:02
  • Get a ride from a friend? – Keith Jun 14 at 11:54

10 Answers 10

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Some areas have shuttles that run between the nearby towns and the airport. If this is less than the weekly parking rate you may be ok.

Also, you have comprehensive coverage on your car for a reason. Check your deductible and make sure it is at a point you are comfortable with paying should something happen. Possible, but not guaranteed, if you car was damaged while parked you could file the deductible as a business expense. That might be a stretch, but you never know.

You could also ask your employer if they will pay the 'garage' rate at the airport. Many large airports have private parking options that are covered and have security.

Lastly, don't rule out Uber. Price it out and ask your employer if they will pay this in lue of parking. It is not exactly cheap to park at the airport for a week.

The likelihood of an incident while parked is low. Not impossible, but low. So don't worry so much if you go that route. I would opt for the covered parking though, even if you have to pay extra out of pocket, in case it hails or something.

  • RIght. Plus, busy urban airports' parking garages have good security patrols, even the long-term parking areas. – O. Jones Jun 14 at 14:11
  • OP is right to be concerned. My friend had his car stripped in the airport parking. There’s some pictures and a video in this article: pzc.nl/zeeuws-nieuws/… – Cyonis Jun 15 at 14:56
  • @Cyonis - I know that the plural of anecdote isn't fact, but I've been parking cars at airport garages for a week or more for 30+ years. Never not once had a car intentionally damaged, and I don't recall anything more than a door-ding. – Julie in Austin Jun 15 at 20:58
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This isn't uncommon. Everyone is concerned about that first ding on their brand new car, and wants to forestall it as long as possible; however, it is going to happen sometime. So, it's unlikely that you will get a lot of sympathy from your boss, co-workers, etc.

You don't say what your employer will pay for, but in my experience they will usually reimburse you for reasonable expenses getting to & from the airport and for parking your car there if you do. This usually includes some sort of payment for mileage driven in your own car. However, there might be limits (e.g. you probably can't hire a chauffeur-driven stretch limousine). Options I can think of, all or most of which I'd think your employer would cover:

  • Bite the bullet, drive to the airport, and park your car for the time you're gone. Do what you can to minimize your risk while the car is parked (park it away from other cars if you can (although that's difficult in my experience), remove valuables,etc.).

  • Get a friend or family member to drive you, then pick you up when you return.

  • Take an airport shuttle if there is one in your area. These are sometimes less expensive than a week's worth of parking at the airport.

  • Take a cab, ride share, or something similar. This is probably more expensive than a shuttle, but more flexible as well. Which means your employer might balk at paying full fare for this.

Often I take a shuttle: they are (usually) reasonably priced and will pick you up and drop you off at your front door and the airport gate you need, eliminating the hassle and risk of having your car at the airport or imposing on friends or family.

  • It's completely unreasonable for an employer to require you to risk your personal equipment for a business trip. If the company is under such financial distress that they can't cover a 80 - 120 <currency> taxi ride, it would be better if they arranged an online meeting instead of a on-premise visit. – Juha Untinen Jun 14 at 6:34
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    @JuhaUntinen: "It's completely unreasonable for an employer to require you to risk your personal equipment for a business trip." Nothing is risk free. In my experience, employers require you to risk your personal equipment every regular work day. Maybe things are different in Finland: Does your employer provide door-to-door service from your home to the workplace, provide meals, etc. so there is no risk to any of your personal equipment? – GreenMatt Jun 14 at 13:41
  • @JuhaUntinen: (Continuing) Here in the US, I have to get myself to work using my own car: A couple years ago I was driving to work when another driver failed to stop when he should have and rammed into my car at a fairly high speed. My car was declared a total loss; should my employer have paid for my replacement car? My medical bills? Should they have paid me for the time off due for medical care? I'm now with a new employer, which one should pay me when I finally end up in court to get the other driver and his insurance company to reimburse me and my insurance companies for this? – GreenMatt Jun 14 at 13:43
  • @JuhaUntinen: (One more) At least in the U.S. there are professions where you are required to provide your own equipment - mechanics and carpenters usually need to provide their own tools. Why should it be different for a white collar worker to get to an airport? It's not clear where the OP is, but U.S. custom is that you find your own way to the airport and the company pays for it ... within reasonable limits! As noted in other answers, risks here are low; furthermore, there may be equal risk leaving the car at home (especially if it isn't in a garage). – GreenMatt Jun 14 at 13:49
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    Driving to work is very different from driving for a business trip, ar least here. In fact, there is a separate sizable reimbursement mandated by law. An average business trip of 2 days will be roughly 10 % of your monthly salary, on top of your salary. – Juha Untinen Jun 14 at 14:32
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The possible options (possible options, not options that you or your boss necessarily like) are: You take a taxi, public transport, or help increasing Uber's annual losses by using them. You rent a car and leave it at the airport. You get a colleague to drive you to the airport and pick you up. You get a family member or friend to drive you to the airport and pick you up. You drive to the airport and leave your car there. You drive to the nearby airport and fly from there to the larger airport. You stay at home.

I'd expect your company to pay the cost - in the UK that would be 45p per mile driven if it is your own car or your colleagues or friends car, plus either the cost of parking, or the cost of doubled mileage if someone takes you, or the actual cost of taxi or public transport. And I'd expect the company to either insure your car, or pay for uninsured damages. That's something you want in writing. Some possibilities may not work - public transport may not be available, you may have no colleagues or friends who can take you. So your boss has to make a decision.

And your boss need to consider that some people can't drive, or have anxiety attacks driving long distance (I knew a person like that, and it's no fun for them), so he can't force you to drive. And parking your car for a week at some airport is no job requirement, so he can't force you to do that either. And of course it's not free.

  • There's also Lyft, OLA, Careem, Didi, Taxify, and Yandex.Taxi. (Thanks, Uber, for spelling this out on your IPO.) That said, other than that list and public transit, this is basically what I would've answered, so +1. – Ed Grimm Jun 15 at 1:45
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Whatever option you choose, don't forget to compare its cost against the cost of airport parking, which usually isn't cheap. It's possible (but not guaranteed) that you could save money with a taxi rather than parking for a week.

Check to see if there is a car rental company with an office near you and the airport you'll have to fly out of. I've done this, and it's pretty convenient. You can rent a car for the trip to the airport from a location near your home, return it to the rental company at the airport you'll depart from, and then rent another car at your destination for the duration of the trip, then do the same in reverse when you come back. Only one car is rented at a time, and only at times that you're actually using it.

If you don't have that option because there isn't a car rental company with appropriately located offices, consider public transit or long-haul buses (like Greyhound). Both will probably be less expensive than a personal taxi for a sizeable trip, though scheduling might be problematic. You could also try a shuttle service (many airports have affiliations with these), which are usually less expensive than a taxi and more flexible than a Greyhound or public transit bus.

Finally, if your only workable option is to drive your own car to the airport and leave it, but you don't want to do that, recognize that your employer doesn't have any particular reason to accommodate your personal desires for your personal property in this case. If the only thing stopping you from using your own vehicle is your own preference to not do so, it's not unreasonable for you to bear the cost of satisfying your own preferences (which have no bearing on your employer).

The least expensive way to do that last one would be to have a friend drive you, in their car or your own, so that no one has to park. A friend will usually do that for free (I've done it for free plenty of times!), but if the trip is really onerous a token payment can sweeten the deal-- I've gotten favors from friends in exchange for drinks, or promises of reciprocal favors down the line.

  • Mass transit, if available, is probably cheaper than the cost of the friend's time, gas, and vehicle maintenance. – Ed Grimm Jun 15 at 1:48
  • There is no reason why you would use your personal property for work at all. A "token payment" for a friend? In the UK, 45p per mile, both ways, and twice more for picking you up on your return. – gnasher729 Jun 15 at 7:47
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Look for a covered parking lot near your target airport.

At my airport, they can even wash your car and detail it for an extra fee on the day of your return.

Then just take an Uber from the parking location to the airport itself (I assume most places have free shuttles, but taking an Uber/Lyft is usually much faster anyway).

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If your flight home arrives at a reasonable hour a pair of one-way rentals might be an option instead of leaving a rental in the airport parking lot all week. They're normally a bit more expensive than renting a car and returning to the same place; but a week of parking fees is probably going to be higher. You may also be able to get a better rate on something like this if you speak to someone directly and book the two rentals at the same time because your return trip will return a vehicle to the original rental location.

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If you didn’t have a car, or if you had family that would need the car for the time period, what mode of transport to the airport would your employer approve of, and reimburse? There has to be an option for people in that position...unless there is a term in your employment agreement that you will maintain a car for employment purposes? If the latter is the case, then you pretty much have to go with it. Otherwise, say that your car is unavailable that week and ask what other means can be reimbursed.

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I've had to do this quite a few times. Including some odd fights about "park using this lot, its cheaper" and I usually refused and instead picked the nice safe indoor heated parking stall because you know what, if I have to travel for a week, I am not coming back to a frozen battery in my car after a week of -35C. I can confirm that most airport parking, you might as well take a baseball bat to your own car and get it over with.

So how to solve all this?

Around airports there is almost certainly other lots, these other lots almost always have a shuttle, and usually cost roughly the same as the long term parking rates at air ports. So go and scout them out ahead of time. Some even offer valet style parking where you unload your luggage into a shuttle, then someone takes your car and parks it. The risks with this style are lower because no one is shoving their door into yours while trying to load their luggage. So assuming the spaces aren't 1 inch wider than your car, you should be fine.

One other trick, is you can get short term car rentals and exploit a neat trick. Car rental companies typically don't care which lot you drop your car off at. So you can go to Enterprise or something, rent a car, drive to the air port, and leave it in the Enterprise lot. When you get back, do the same but in reverse.

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Depending on your location specialist long distance taxis may be an option.

e.g. http://www.wintaxcars.com/airport-transfers

Local taxi companies also offer favourable/fixed rates for long journeys. In the UK the cost of this kind of transport isn't too far away from the cost of parking + petrol (the taxi is less than double). Obviously costs will vary dramatically by country.

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At my airport there are valet parking lots. You drop your car off, someone parks it for you in a secure lot (where nobody except the employees will get at it). You can get the car cleaned while you are gone. When you come back your car will be warmed up and waiting for you. I'm pretty sure if it was even dinged slightly they would pay for the repairs.

Since the company is paying I would go for that.

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