A long term parking checklist

Posted: January 9, 2013 in Cruise, Flying, Parking, Travel
Tags: , , ,

Happy new year everyone!

Hopefully, many of you made resolutions to travel more and spend less this year. With that in mind, rather than talking about the latest antics of parking authorities and parking companies (I’m looking at you here Chicago) I’m going to pass along a few pieces of advice that can help you save on money and unnecessary stress the next time you have to use long term parking on a trip.

My boss Daniel Jadick always recommends putting together a parking checklist that you bring with you to the parking facility to make sure you don’t forget anything. This is an especially good idea for the frequent traveler. He suggests that these things be on your checklist:

  • Remove valuable items (electronics, money, jewelry, media, anything worth more than $1.) from your vehicle. If not possible, store them in the trunk. At the very least, place them out of sight in the vehicle. Cover them with a piece of clothing.
  • If parking for more than a couple of days in a humid environment, consider purchasing and opening a can of desiccant in the vehicle. Sold at drug and hardware stores, this product will absorb moisture so your vehicle does not smell musty when you return.
  • Make certain that all windows are closed including the sun roof.
  • Turn your lights off!
  • Unplug cell phone chargers and other accessory power supplies.
  • Lock your vehicle and right now put your keys in a safe place where they will stay for the duration of your trip. Self-park facilities will not keep your keys for you.
  • If you are concerned about dings and dents, walk around your car and make note of existing dings and dents, or better yet take some pictures with your cellphone, before you part ways. You may discover one that you were not aware of. When you return, walk around your vehicle and again look for dings and dents. Any new ones should be reported before you leave the parking facility. Important: Any vehicle damage needs to be reported BEFORE you leave the parking facility.

In addition to the checklist above, here’s some helpful advice from Daniel for valet and self-park facilities:

Self-Park

  • Do not park under a tree! It looks inviting but trees carry a number of problems that can leave you with a dirty or damaged car including damage from broken branches, birds and their “leavings”, sap, pollen, leaves,etc.
  • Do not squeeze in between two large vehicles if you want to avoid door dents.
  • If the surface is paved, don’t choose a spot with an obvious low spot if you think it might be raining when you return; or if it’s raining when you are parking. That way you don’t have to swim through a puddle to get to your car.

 

Valet Parking

  • If you are at all concerned that a driver will a Ferris Bueller on your car, write down the odometer reading or punch it into your smart phone or PDA. Or write the mileage on your claim check. It is highly unlikely that your vehicle will be removed from the parking facility, but recording the mileage will put your mind at ease when you return.
  • If you find that your radio has been “reset” upon your return, this probably means that your battery went dead in your absence and your car had to be jump started by the valet driver. A dead or weak battery will usually reset your radio presets.
  • Take your house keys off of your car key ring and put them in your luggage. If your vehicle came with a valet key, give only that key to the valet driver.
  • It’s not a bad idea to have a spare vehicle key with you in addition to the key you give to the valet. The reason is that sometimes, rarely, but it happens, the parking facility will lose your key. If you have a spare, you won’t have to wait around until they find it.
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