When we took the kids to Punta Cana earlier this year, our flight left Pearson at 6:30 a.m. We had to be there two hours in advance to do the baggage dance, and we live more than an hour away from the airport.
Add one of the worst snowstorms of 2014, and you can figure out that the math was not on our side. We got those poor kids out of bed at 3 a.m.
So when we went on our recent family vacation to Orlando, Florida, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that we needed to stay closer to Pearson. After a bit of Googling, I discovered that the Holiday Inn (located just five minutes from the airport) has this tidy little package called “Stay, Park & Go.”
I probably don’t need to break that down for you. You stay overnight before your flight, leave your car parked where it is and go directly to the airport via the hotel’s free shuttle.
With another early-morning flight in the mix, we booked. And we were thrilled that the Holiday Inn then invited us as guests to check out this convenient travel package.
For $169.99, you get one night’s stay at the Holiday Inn on Dixon Rd. in Mississauga, parking for up to 16 days and a free shuttle to and from the airport, which runs at 20-minute intervals. Compare that to more than $100 per week for the mid-range Park ‘N Fly lot, and not waking up at 3 a.m. to catch a flight and I’m down with the extra $70.
The shuttle runs 24/7: on the hour, and then 20 and 40 minutes after the hour. It didn’t feel like a very long wait going out or coming back.
The hotel has indoor and outdoor pools, fitness centre and a hot tub.
While basic, we found our room at the Holiday Inn spacious and clean. It was perfect for a one-night stay with a purpose.
Parking was easy breezy; and it was no problem retrieving our vehicle when we returned (thankfully, since it was after midnight and we had two small kids in tow).
For families who live a good distance from Pearson airport and/or have kids who’d find it challenging to get up in the middle of the night to travel, this is a smart option. It shaves off that “what-if” travel time you need to consider should you run into traffic or bad weather. We woke up, grabbed a shuttle 15 minutes later and were at the airport within 30 minutes of rising. We could never accomplish that driving all the way from our home in Courtice.
There’s only one room available with the park and go package, so if you want a king-sized bed or a suite or anything beyond two double beds, you can forget it.
When you return from your trip, you will have to wait for a shuttle to get back to your vehicle, so consider how old your kids are and the time of day you come home to weigh whether it’s better for you to have your car immediately accessible or not. For us, the package was still a better choice because of our early outbound flight at the front end of the trip.
4/5 (higher marks would be awarded if there were additional room categories available with this package)
DISCLOSURE: IHG, which owns the Holiday Inn brand of hotels, is a client at the firm where I work. I do not work on the file, nor am I encouraged in any way to report positively about Holiday Inn or other IHG properties. Opinions expressed here are entirely my own.