Finding parking spots on campus was always a nightmare. No matter what time of day I went to the lots, they always seemed to be full. Thankfully, I have my own spot at the sorority house now so I don’t have to worry about finding a spot! Over the last year I pieced together my best strategies on finding parking spots, and I think I came up with some pretty decent solutions! Here
Leaving twenty to thirty minutes early before your classes can help beat the parking panic that overwhelms you when you can’t find a spot. Most college students aren’t a fan of getting up early, which is why around 7:30-8 AM, the lots are scattered with open spots! It sounds like a complete drag getting up that early, I hear ya, but use that extra time before your class to study or get some productive things done! You can do homework, call your parents, surf social media (okay maybe not the most productive thing). The point is, you can use that extra free time for so many things!
Search For Spots On The Weekend
The weekend is perfect for finding parking spots because most people either drive home for the weekend or are usually working! If you have a sucky spot in a lot that seems miles away, try moving your car to a closer lot. Most often there will be a few spots here and there. I used to do this all the time and it saved me from having to walk a mile in the rain to the parking garage!
Follow Someone To Their Car
Yeah I know, no one wants to be known as a car stalker, but most likely if you see someone walking to their car, they’re going to be leaving the lot! Keep an eye out for stragglers walking into the parking lot and see if you can nab their space after they leave. This is one of the most common strategies my friends and I use when grabbing spots and it tends to work out pretty nicely. It may take some time to find someone but usually not longer than 10-15 minutes.
Swap Spaces With A Friend
If you know of a friend who is leaving their class at a certain time in the same building you have class in after them, see if you can trade spots! This trick may not work for everyone if you don’t have a lot of people in your same classes or buildings, but it’s worth a shot!
Search Far Away Lots
Try visiting the lots far from campus! I know at my campus people tend to forget about Orange Lots. They’re the farthest from campus but they have TONS of spots! Literally hundreds, but no one knows about them! Find a directory of all the spots available on campus and scope out the least used ones, and you’re sure to find a spot there!
Use Parking Meters
If you’re really desperate for a spot, use a parking meter. I always carry a handful of change in my car for this particular reason just in case I somehow can’t find any spots on campus. Most students aren’t going to want to shell out any money for parking, so these spaces are almost always empty!
Buy Different Colored Parking Passes
If you’re willing to spend some extra cash because you don’t want to spend hours searching for parking, buy several different parking passes. This way you can search multiple lots and your parking spot success rate can go up!
Take Note Of Campus Events
Always look at campus events! In one of the lots I parked in last year, at certain times of the year all cars had to find other spots due to certain school events. Once those events are over, everyone can park their cars in that lot again. Find out the times those events end and haul over to that lot!
If All Else Fails
Park At a Local Business
Know of a local church or Walmart not too far away? Park your car there so you can at least get to class. If it’s too far away you can always hitch a ride back with someone to pick up your car later.
If you live close enough to campus, walk instead of driving! You may have to leave a bit earlier to get to class but you won’t have to worry about moving your car.
Use Public Transportation
At my college campus, we have a bus system called The Bearline. There are multiple shuttles that can take you to and from buildings on and off campus! They also run nearly all the time, and it’s free! I’ve used The Bearline to get to parking garages, classes, my dorm, and it’s so helpful! If your campus has public transportation, take advantage of it.
Have roommates or neighbors that are also going to campus the same time as you? Carpool with them to save you some time!
Borrow Someone’s Parking Sticker
Okay, this sounds bad, but is totally legit! If you’re really desperate, see if you can borrow a friend’s parking sticker for a few hours. I know that the serial number usually tracks back to the actual owner’s license plate, but if you’re only using it temporarily, no one will probably notice. By borrow, I MEAN BORROW. Stealing is bad, don’t do it.
Ride Your Bike
Get some fresh air and ride your bike to class. There’s always open bike racks everywhere I look and students never even notice them. If you have a bike sitting at home, dust it off and start using it!
What are some creative ways you’ve found parking? Leave a comment below!