What is the difference between short-term and long-term airport parking?

If you’re considering parking your car at the airport for your next flight, you might be wondering what the difference between short-term and long-term airport parking is and how to choose the best one for your stay.

The fact is long-term and short-term parking means different things at different airports. Some airports shift long-term parkers to satellite lots and provide shuttle service to the terminals and may offer discounted parking, while others have both options on the airport property.

We’ll focus on Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport parking options for long-term and short-term parking spaces.

MSP Terminal Ramp Parking Options

Both terminals offer short-term and long-term parking options for travelers flying out of the Minneapolis airport.

Short-term parking at MSP airport

Terminal 1 limits short-term parking to stays up to four hours maximum, while Terminal 2 recommends short-term parking for visits less than four hours, but can allow longer.

In general, at MSP short-term is suitable if you are picking up or dropping off someone and want to accompany them to the ticketing area or if you have a meeting at the airport. If you’ll be picking someone up from the airport there is also a nearby cell phone lot nearby that is free!

As of the writing of this piece, the following parking rates apply for short-term hourly parking at MSP Airport.*

T1 Limited to 4 hours – 1st hour $5, then $3 per additional hour – max daily charge is $28
T2 Recommend for visits less than 4 hours – 1st hour $5, then $3 per additional hour – max daily charge is $36

Long-term parking at MSP airport

Anyone who has a flight or will be staying on airport property for longer than four hours should choose a long-term airport parking spot.

The parking ramps are on the airport property and offer skyways and trams to access the ticketing areas of the terminals.

MSP Airport does not currently offer satellite parking at the time of this writing*, so travelers pay a premium price compared to offsite airport parking which is typically a less expensive daily parking option. Terminal 2 is considered the economy parking option at the airport and offers lower daily rates than the Terminal 1 parking ramp.

Daily Parking$28
Terminal 1:
$5 for the first hour, then $3 for every additional hour
Value Parking
(in Terminal 2)
Terminal 2:
$5 for the first hour, then $3 for every additional hour
ePark Elite$65 per month + usual T1 rate for time parked

*Information deemed reliable as of 4/27/2022


Ready to book long-term airport parking? Click here to reserve now.

Long-term offsite airport parking options for MSP

Have you ever parked at an offsite lot near the airport? Some people are hesitant to try offsite parking because it is new to them and they don’t know what to expect.

Offsite parking lots typically offer door-to-door service or a convenient central pick-up location at their parking lot. Their goal is to make airport parking a quick and easy option because they know their customers have enough stress during travel already.  Here are some of the best reasons to choose offsite airport parking:

  • • The daily rate for parking at offsite lots is often half of what it would cost for on-airport garage parking.
  • • Parking off-site is a great option to help you avoid airport area traffic, which can get very busy and confusing with multiple ramps and drive lanes.
  • • If you’re looking to earn rewards, many privately owned parking lots offer rewards programs to stay competitive and keep your business. Perks like free parking, luggage assistance, emergency car starts, and help with flat tires not only save you money but give you peace of mind.

Still curious, check out how airport parking works.


There are also some hotels that offer long-term parking with shuttle service to the airport. Check out our handy guide on how to determine how to choose between offsite parking lots or a hotel park, stay, fly package for your vacation.

How long does it take to get to the airport from a long-term parking lot?

Offsite airport parking lots around the Minneapolis Airport are typically within 10 miles of the airport.

Depending on the time of the year, traffic patterns, and weather, a shuttle to the airport will take around 10-15 minutes.

Traditional offsite airport parking operations run continuous shuttle service 24 hours a day.

Hotels that provide shuttle buses often operate on a fixed schedule providing drop-off and pick-up services at specific times and limited hours of operation. They may not be the most convenient option for those with very early or red-eye flights.

Can you reserve long term airport parking?

You wouldn’t plan a trip without planning for transportation, hotels, and excursions. Long-term airport parking shouldn’t be any different.

Parking availability fluctuates throughout the year based on busier travel periods. Many long term parking lots provide the option to reserve long term airport parking ahead of time so you can rest assured that parking is available when you arrive.

First, get a quote, then book within a few easy steps!