Can You Park at Hotels Without Staying? The Surprising Truth

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When traveling to a new city, finding convenient parking can be a challenge. Many people wonder – can you park at a hotel without staying there?

The answer is yes, but often with restrictions.

Hotels provide parking for their guests as an amenity and revenue source, so allowing non-guests to park is carefully controlled.

While searching for the right 18+ hotel for yourself, it is important to check the parking is available or not as well.

This article will explore hotel parking policies, factors that determine if parking is allowed for non-guests, how to request parking validation, best practices for using hotel lots, and alternatives for visitors needing convenient city parking.

Can You Park at Hotels Without Staying? The Surprising Truth

Can You Park At A Hotel Without Staying There: Hotel Parking Policies

Hotels want to reserve most parking for hotel guests who are also spending money on lodging and other services.

Expensive hotels have generally parking available for everyone. However, some hotels do allow a certain number of public parking spaces or short-term parking.

Policies vary greatly depending on the individual hotel’s location, setting, parking capacity, and management. Every hotel handles parking differently.

There Are A Few General Scenarios:

1. Completely Restricted

Hotel Parking Major city hotels with limited parking rarely allow non-guests to park on their lot without permission.

Space is limited, and most spots are allocated to guests only. Attempting to park without permission may result in being towed.

2. Paid Public

Parking Some large hotels in downtown areas sell a allocated number of public parking passes.

These allow visitors to pay a daily fee, usually comparable to prices at other public garages and lots in the vicinity.

This essentially converts part of the hotel lot into public parking space to produce revenue.

3. Validated Parking

Many hotels will validate parking for non-guests who are patrons of hotel businesses like restaurants, spas, salons, shops, etc.

This allows a set period of free parking, often 3-4 hours. The business validates the parking ticket to waive the normal fees.

Can You Park at Hotels Without Staying? The Surprising Truth

Factors Determining Hotel Parking Allowances

Several key factors shape whether a hotel will allow any non-guest parking:

  1. Location: Hotels in dense urban areas with limited total parking availability are far less likely to allow the public to use up spaces. Suburban, airport, and resort hotels with more spacious lots are more flexible.
  2. Parking Capacity – The overall number of spots available affects if the hotel can allocate any to non-guests. During high occupancy, all spaces may be needed for guests.
  3. Existing Demand – If the hotel parking is consistently full from guest vehicles alone, allowing public parking becomes difficult. But if vacancies exist, the hotel may allow outsiders to fill unused spots.
  4. Revenue Generation – Paid public parking and validation programs allow hotels to monetize excess capacity. Allowing any public access often requires ways to collect fees.
  5. Security Issues – Safety and liability risks require hotels to control access. Parking capacity getting filled by non-guests can create problems for guests needing to park.
  6. Management Decisions – Hotel policies come down to choices made at a corporate or local level regarding the allocation of parking capacity. Non-guest allowances require active enablement.

In summary, allowing any public parking requires the hotel having adequate capacity, established systems for access control and fee collection, and deliberate policy decisions to enable it.

For these reasons, most hotel properties restrict use solely to guests.

Parking Requesting Validation

For hotels with validation programs, the process to get your parking ticket validated typically involves:

  1. Parking in the designated validation area, often noted with signage
  2. Bringing your parking ticket with you for timestamping by the merchant
  3. Making any required minimum purchase at the validating business
  4. Having the merchant stamp/sign/mark the ticket
  5. Inserting the validated ticket into the payment machine upon exiting

Be sure to check the machine upon entry to see parking rates and confirm validation policies for that hotel.

Read all posted signs about parking areas, rules, and validation procedures. Abide by time limits, or pay normal rates for any excess duration.

Do not lose your ticket after validation, as normal parking fees will apply without the stamped ticket as proof of validation upon exit.

Best Practices for Using Hotel Parking

If you get permission to park at a hotel lot without staying there, being respectful and following rules is essential. Wise practices include:

  • Verify parking is allowed before leaving your car – don’t assume
  • Carefully note if there are fees, time limits, or other rules
  • Be polite if asked for information by hotel staff
  • Avoid taking spots likely needed by hotel guests
  • Patronize the validating business as required
  • Tip attendants if they assist you
  • Follow all posted regulations and be watchful for restrictions
  • Keep valuables out of sight; the hotel is not liable for damage.

Almost all hotels have their own parking available Including the no-deposit hotels.

Seeking other Options For Parking

Since non-guest parking at hotels is uncertain, having alternative parking plans is smart. Other visitor parking choices exist in most destinations, including:

Municipal parking garages and surface lots Metered street parking (observing time limits) Public transportation park-and-ride facilities Private parking operators
Nearby retail/dining validation programs Residential street parking where permitted Asking friends, family or colleagues in the area

Saving on parking costs while visiting unfamiliar areas does require some savvy and planning.

But options exist in most cities for non-hotel guests needing convenient daily parking near their destination.

With flexible transportation alternatives now like Uber and Lyft, even parking further away and using rideshare can work.


In closing, proactively checking hotel parking policies, considering backup ideas, and respectfully abiding by all rules will serve you best on your travels when parking is not included with your stay.

Safe journeys!


I'm Jennifer Tuffen, a travel enthusiast and storyteller, six years and 10+ countries deep into a journey of discovery and cultural immersion.