3 Tips For Snagging A Parking Spot During The Holiday Shopping Rush

For those shoppers scrambling to finish up their holiday shopping for the next week, there may be times when — gasp! — they must leave their homes and visit brick-and-mortar stores or malls. Those people are most definitely dreading the idea of finding parking, but you can make it a bit easier on yourself by keeping a few tips in mind.

MarketWatch spoke to some parking experts in the know to get some parking “secrets” to help during this particularly tasking time for parking. Check out a few we found especially noteworthy, and MarketWatch’s slideshow for more.

1. Take the first spot you see: Those people who circle lots constantly know who they are — you’re a “vulture.” And if you stalk someone else, waiting and waiting on them to load their cars up and leave, you’re, well, a “stalker.” And your creepy tactics could be backfiring — the experts say it’s better to just pick the first open spot you can see and walk to the store door from wherever that is. Unless the lot is completely full, in which case, back to creeping.

2. Get there early or go late: Holiday season or no, shopping in the middle of the day or right after work is going to be prime rush time. Instead, go in the first hour the store opens or the last hour before it closes, says Casey Jones, the former chairman of the board of the International Parking Institute.

“This way there’s not as much competition with shoppers who shop during their lunch break of right after work,” he says.

3. Bend technology to your will: Maybe you never thought of casing the joint beforehand to find little-known entrances and exits, but there’s a thing called the Internet and it can help. Simply pull up a map of the parking lot using a map app and check out the bird’s eye view of the area. That way you can look for ways in and out that others might not use that could help you better plan your parking.

7 secrets to scoring a plum parking spot [MarketWatch]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.