Leeds motorists wanting to steer clear of any additional Christmas stress have been offered advice for finding a retail parking space during the hectic festive period.
The smarter driving team at LeaseCar.uk have revealed 11 top tips to help last minute Christmas consumers save time and effort when trying to get parked.
From heading to the back streets and reaching for the sky, to going super early or after dark, UK shoppers who spend just a few moments to read the guidelines could remove the pressure and difficulty of parking on the most frantic shopping days of the year.
1. Go super early
The easiest way to secure a parking space in city centres on the busiest shopping days before Christmas is to leave the house as soon as possible.
By pulling in to the car park or multi-storey facility before the shops have even opened, keen festive consumers will have a full choice of parking spaces and be able to smugly stroll around town while others are still stuck in traffic.
2. Use a Park & Ride
Many major cities and shopping destinations will offer a park and ride service, where drivers can pay to leave their vehicles in a large, stress free space and hop into the action on a free shuttle service.
Where an organised park and ride isn’t available, motorists can still do it themselves by parking in the suburbs and utilising public transport to reach their final destination in the city centre.
3. Back streets
Most towns will have ample parking away from the main shopping districts in the back streets of residential areas.
Parking on the outskirts of a city can often be free too, where residents’ permits or pay and display aren’t in place.
The price of using the back streets is a short walk, but this could prove a good warm-up for a hectic dash around the Christmas stores
4. Think outside the box
When searching for a parking space ahead of frantic last-minute festive gift hunting, it can pay to consider unusual options.
If a place of work, gym, club, pub or tourist attraction offers convenient parking for Christmas shopping, don’t be afraid to utilise it – just remember to obey the rules.
5. Be smart
Keeping a keen eye out for signs revealing when and where street parking is permitted could save British shoppers significant time and effort.
Large urban centres will often also have live digital displays on major routes that detail which car parks are closest to capacity, so make a note.
6. Reach for the sky
Trundling around the ground floor of a multi-storey scouring for the ideal space by the doors will only waste time and cause stress – it was likely snapped up a long while ago.
Festive UK shoppers should instead head straight to the upper levels of multi-stories for quicker and easier Christmas parking.
7. Be prepared
Doing a little online research or asking more knowledgeable friends and family could help Brits stay one step ahead of the competition in the fight for festive parking spaces.
Find out which car parks are in popular locations for certain shops, research what is likely to fill up first or be busy all day, look if any particular events could affect one location and hunt for tips from drivers who have been there and done it before.
If a friend or relative is planning to do some last-minute Christmas shopping too, consider travelling in the same vehicle.
Sharing a car will spread the task of spotting one space between two, whilst taking one less vehicle will also leave a slot available for someone else and help the environment too.
9. Use an app
Festive British consumers can choose from a range of helpful smartphone applications designed to solve tricky parking problems.
From picking a site to locating a space, taking advantage of technology could make travelling in the run up to the big day much easier – some locals’ driveways can also be temporarily rented via certain apps.
10. Go at night
Shoppers who have the luxury of a free evening should consider taking a stroll around their favourite stores after dark.
Present hunting in the last hour or two before shops close will mean the roads, car parks and retailers are all much quieter – bliss.
11. Head out of town
If searching for last minute Christmas gifts on an industrial estate or retail park away from town centres is an option, take it.
Avoiding the transport chaos of major cities during busy periods is a no brainer; it’s why out of town superstores were built.
Tim Alcock of LeaseCar.uk said: “Parking a car in some of the UK’s major cities can be a challenge at the best of times, never mind on the frantic few days before Christmas.
“Many Brits will be panicking about their last few presents this festive season and planning an urgent trip to their favourite stores.
“The last thing they need is to spend ages trying to find a space to park their vehicle before they’ve even hit the shops.
“So our researchers have compiled eleven handy hints to help Christmas consumers take the hassle out of parking this year.”