SmartPark’s Suggestions for What to Carry in Your Carry-On

We love to help our customers travel smartly here at SmartPark JFK and LGA. Not only are we your “intelligent choice” – we want to help you make intelligent choices!

We put togther some top tips for what to take in your carry-on bag according to our panel of experienced travelers. Of course, the more you travel, the more you learn about what will suit your specific needs.

Please remember to book direct with us well in advance, especially with Thanksgiving and the holiday season upon us. We offer far more benefits right here on smartparkparking.com than if you book with a third party provider.

Here are today’s tips:

  • Pick a suitcase that fits your airline’s carry-on regulations. You may get a cranky flight attendant that will force your luggage into the checked area.  And with extra fees, that could be an expensive oversight.
  • Include essentials like prescriptions and travel documents that you can’t be without for immediate access.
  • Better to be safe than sorry, so prepare for the worst. Fit in an extra set of clothes, underwear, and toiletries in case of extreme delays or lost luggage. It happens far too often.
  • Remember your carried-on gels, liquids, and aerosols must be 3.4 ounces or less. This isn’t our rule – it’s the TSA’s!
  • Keep your favorite productivity gadgets and entertainment options with you. It will help with everything from delays to stress relief.
  • Don’t forget the chargers! Sadly, we rely on that cell phone for most everything and would be lost without power.

7 Simple Packing Tips for your Next Exciting Excursion

“Always here to help” is one of our unofficial mottos at SmartPark JFK and LGA. With that in mind, we thought we’d share some packing tips that we’ve found to be useful throughout our years as experienced travelers.

Besides booking direct with us well in advance, your mom told us also to include “always pack clean underwear” as our number one tip! Thanks, mom!

  • Power Up – Charge your devices the night before and don’t forget those portable chargers.
  • Toiletry Bag – Keep it ready at all times, so you don’t have to worry about packing one.
  • Versatile Clothing – Pack clothes that can be mixed and matched into different outfits. Nice jeans can go with almost anything.
  • Travel Docs – Store important documents such as your passport or hotel vouchers in your carry-on so they are never far away.
  • Roll ‘em, Don’t Fold ‘em – Tightly rolled clothes take up less space than folded ones – it’s a proven fact! Plus, clothes are less likely to get wrinkled. Who wants to iron on a trip?
  • Santa Says, “Make a List and Check it Twice” – Jolly ‘ol Saint Nick is no fool! This is a universal rule for all travel, not only gift giving. Procrastinators beware of coal!
  • The 4-1-1 is to Know the 3-1-1 – Consider the TSA’s rules for carry-on’s. All liquids brought onto planes must be in 3.4-ounce bottles or smaller and inside a single, clear, quart-size zip-top bag. Don’t let that expensive bottle of shampoo or sunscreen get confiscated because of an oversight.  You just saved so much money on parking with SmartPark; you don’t want to throw it all away!

6 Ways to Ease Your Stress When Parking at the Airport

There are a lot of things to stress about in life, but parking doesn’t have to be one of them. When you choose SmartPark, we promise to be your stress-free option and make your business trip or vacation that most efficient it can be – at least in the parking department. Sorry, we still can’t control airport delays or traffic, but our team is working on it!

Today we present some simple tips to ponder when you are considering using an off-airport lot like our SmartPark locations at JFK and LGA.

  • Make a reservation. Reservations are free and easy, but we want to make sure we have your parking spot waiting for you on our busiest days. We hate turning away anyone, so please make sure you book early, and we’ll have your back.  After all, it only takes a few moments with our easy to use online system.
  • Book with a reputable company. There are some fly-by-night operations out there so be careful with who you trust to take care of your car. We are officially licensed by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and a certified vendor of the Port Authority of NY/NJ. We even take video footage of your car when it enters our lots to ensure your car leaves in the same condition as it arrives.
  • Book direct for more rewards. We offer a free rewards program where every 7th day is free – but only by booking through our website and not a third party vendor!
  • Is your reservation easy to cancel? Will you be charged?  SmartPark offers free reservations and no credit card is required.  As a courtesy, please let us know if you will not be using your reservation so we can offer our great deals to other patrons.
  • Hold on to your ticket and reservation email. You will need this to contact us for pickup at the terminal when you arrive home.
  • Be flexible and arrive early. We all know the hazards of traffic and road conditions around LGA and JFK, and you want to be sure you leave enough time to accommodate for traffic. The airport has a lot of great places to relax before your flight.  It won’t hurt to arrive early and give yourself plenty of wiggle room to grab a cup of coffee or a quick bite. More time = less stress!

Ok, now click on over to our reservation portal and park with us!  We’ll see you soon!


Research Says Traveling Makes You Smarter!

You know parking with SmartPark is always the “Intelligent” choice when traveling through JFK and LGA. But did you know the benefits of travel are so abundant that it can help you advance at work and lead a healthier life?

According to recent studies, using all your vacation time each year can help you advance at your job and visiting a beautiful beach can reduce stress levels (we kinda knew that already!). Plus, sharing vacation photos can make you happier.

A new study by William W. Maddux, an associate professor of organizational behavior at graduate business school INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, found that traveling can make you smarter and lead to more job opportunities.

Professor Maddux contends that individuals who take time to travel and engage with new communities will have a higher number of job offers thanks to their multicultural learnings.

And there is science to back up Maddux’s claims. It is stated that “the study proved a link between a person’s “multicultural engagement,” which is their ability to adapt to and learn from new cultures, and their “integrative complexity,” which is a person’s willingness to acknowledge competing perspectives on an issue.”

“When individuals are exposed to the same multicultural environment, it is their psychological approach and engagement with different cultures that determines growth in integrative complexity and tangible increases in professional opportunities.”

But Maddux isn’t alone.  The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that students who lived abroad were 20 percent more likely to solve a computer task than those who simply stayed in their home country. Additionally, a 2015 study showed that those who simply looked at a photo of nature for 40 seconds had drastically improved performance on their next task, so imagine actually seeing those sites in person!

So, what are you waiting for?  Book that trip and your SmartPark spot today and get the heck to someplace fascinating and stimulating!


Don’t Forget These Oft-Forgotten Essentials When You Pack

You’re all ready for that vacation or business trip and have checked your list four times, but as you leave your home you still get that nagging feeling that you forgot something, right?  Us folks at Smart Park know the feeling all too well – even though we are in the travel business!

It seems only normal to worry if you forgot your underwear, but it’s usually those little annoying things we forget to throw in our bag that make us imitate Homer Simpson with a “D’oh!”

Let’s look at some essentials you should pack in that first aid or toiletry kit that you may not have thunk of, but will be a lifesaver if needed.

  • Medicated Cream
  • Tylenol or Advil
  • Band-Aids
  • Allergy Meds
  • Scissors or tweezers
  • Contraception
  • Spare Glasses
  • A few days worth of extra meds and vitamins in case your trip gets unexpectedly delayed
  • Dramamine (for those that get queasy)
  • Backup charger
  • And don’t forget some extra clean underwear – your mom would be proud!

You may also want to jot down a list of prescriptions before you go just in case you get separated from them and need to refill.


How to SMART-ly Lighten Your Load When Traveling – Part 2

Here are some more packing – not parking – tips from the editors at Travel & Leisure. After all, we’ve got all your parking needs already covered here at SmartPark!  Pack smarter and park SMART-er!

Pack Socks Inside Shoes

“To save more space in your carry-on bag, try packing your socks inside your shoes. Not only will that save space in your bag, the socks will help your shoes retain their form and prevent the shoes from getting squished in an overpacked bag.” — Mary Robnett, Assistant Photo Editor

Have a Ready-to-go Health Kit

“After going on international adventures and suffering food poisoning, sudden fever, cuts and scrapes, terrible bug bites, and other ailments — and then having to navigate a foreign pharmacy — I’ve learned to always pack a small medical kit. I keep a toiletry bag ready to go stocked with Band-aids, Neosporin, pain relievers, cold medicine, medicine for stomach trouble, itch relief ointment, antibiotics (you can ask your doctor for an emergency prescription before you travel), and ear plugs (life savers on long-haul flights and trains). And if you never have to use it, all the better!” — Karen Chen, Digital Producer

Separate Jewelry With Snack Size Bags

“Buy ‘snack size’ plastic bags for packing necklaces. To prevent tangling, give each one its own bag and fasten the clasp.” — Kathy Roberson, Copy & Research Chief

Check the Hotel Closet

“In the closet of most high-end hotel rooms, you’ll find draw-string fabric bags for laundry and shoes. They’re semi-disposable, but fantastic for packing. Trust me, using them to separate shoes and dirty laundry will totally transform your return-journey packing experience.” — Flora Stubbs, Features Director

Use Dryer Sheets to Stay Fresh

“Put Bounce dryer sheets between items of clothing in your suitcase to keep everything fresh.” — Jesse Ashlock, Executive Editor

Pack Your Favorite Toiletries in Travel-sized Bottles

“Instead of relying on hotel shampoos and soaps, pack your favorite products. Nalgene has a cheap, simple travel kit that allows you to fill a few bottles with your own body wash, shampoo, and other toiletries. It’s TSA-approved, spill-proof, and comes in a translucent carrying bag, so you don’t need to worry about getting through security.” — John Scarpinato, Assistant Editor

Be Prepared for Wet Swimwear

“I always pack a plastic grocery bag — or steal the shower cap from the hotel if I forget — to stash a wet bathing suit in for the return home. That way, we get to enjoy every last second on the beach.” — Jacqueline Gifford, Special Projects Editor

Waterproof Your Bag

“My favorite tip is to waterproof my bag using what I’m already bringing with me. I line my suitcase with water-resistant things: rain boots on the bottom, for example, zip-locked toiletries and makeup bag on the sides, and a rain jacket on top. Voila: instant weather-tight luggage.” — Melanie Lieberman, Associate Digital Editor

Bring a Laundry Bag

“Bring a mesh or collapsible laundry bag with you. When you’re traveling to your destination, you can lay it over all your clothes to keep things in place. During your trip it helps keep your clothes off the hotel room floor and on the way home, it helps separate dirty clothes from clean — easy to grab and do your wash after a trip, too!” — Lindsey Campbell, Senior Audience Engagement Editor


How to SMART-ly Lighten Your Suitcase When Traveling

You’ve secured the perfect parking spot at Smart Park JFK or LGA and now you are ready to load up the car.  But don’t those bags seem a little cumbersome and heavy? Thinking you maybe should have packed a little lighter?  After all, you don’t want to be charged even more for a bag that is overweight!  Well, we’ve found some great tips from the editors at Travel & Leisure to lighten your load and pack SMART-er.  Enjoy!

  1. Keep a Packing Checklist

“I keep an ongoing list in my phone of items of my absolute essentials to pack for every trip (charger, cleanser, bathing suit, daily sunscreen, etc.). It makes last-minute packing a lot less stressful because there’s always a checklist for reference.” — Katie Fish, Fashion Market Editor

  1. Use Packing Cubes

“There’s not much that makes me feel like an organized human as much as dividing my belongings into color-coded cubes. It’s so wonderful to know exactly where everything you brought is as soon as you unzip your suitcase. Plus, you can very easily move your packing cubes into the drawers of your hotel dresser and instantly be done unpacking and ready to go.” — Richelle Szypulski, Assistant Digital Editor

  1. Roll, Don’t Fold

“I am a roll-don’t-fold devotee. I also never check a bag, unless I’m taking my snowboard with me. Even then, only the snowboard gets checked, not the suitcase.” — Laura Teusink, Managing Editor

  1. Pack In-flight Essentials in a Separate Pouch

“I have a small zippered pouch that I always put in my carry-on bag — in it I stash all the things that I want to keep with me on a flight (headphones, earplugs, EmergenC, phone, wallet, etc.) so that when I board I can just pull that pouch out, toss it into my seat, and then place my carry-on in the overhead bin, quickly and efficiently.” — Nathan Lump, Editor in Chief

  1. Pack by Outfit

“There’s nothing more annoying than struggling to stuff everything back into your suitcase at the end of a trip only to realize you didn’t even wear half the clothes you brought. That’s why I started strictly packing by outfit — not individual item — and only letting pieces I had a plan for make the cut. I’ll take a skirt only if I know I’m bringing a top and shoes that I would wear with it, and I’ll think about the activities on my itinerary and what I see myself wearing while doing them. I hate checking a bag but love clothes, so being realistic and planning ahead is key.” — Nina Ruggiero, Senior Digital Editor

  1. Keep a Prepacked Dopp Kit

“As my collection of skin-care products continues to expand (I’m not 20 anymore), so has the time required to sort through it all — at the last minute, with my Uber to JFK honking downstairs. I recently started keeping a separate Dopp kit stocked with travel-size duplicates of all my essentials. This means I can just grab my toiletries and go, with no risk of forgetting some crucial cream or spray — plus it gives me an excuse to go nuts on all those cute mini items in line at Sephora.” — CB Owens, Copy & Research Editor

  1. Bring Half of What You Initially Packed

“When I went on my first international trip, I was advised to pack everything I’d like to take with me — and then remove half of it from my suitcase. I find this really helps in terms of figuring out what I actually need for a trip and bringing just the essentials.” — Elizabeth Preske, Digital Editorial Assistant

  1. Choose a Soft-Sided Bag

“Packing in a soft-sided weekender or duffel gives you the flexibility (literally!) to shape your bag to what you’re packing instead of the other way around. My canvas overnighter takes on a different shape depending on what I need it to hold and will squish, even when packed almost beyond its means, into spaces a hard-sided roller bag just won’t go. I hope my current bag will last forever but I’m eyeing this simple weekender from Makr as its eventual replacement.” — Skye Senterfeit, Photo Editor

  1. Always Be Ready to Go

“The more you pack, the easier it gets (or at least, the easier it should get) — so make being ready to travel part of your everyday life. Collect travel-sized toiletries when you have the chance: Get an extra toothpaste when you go to the dentist, ask your hair stylist for shampoo and conditioner samples, and keep all of them organized in a ready-to-grab toiletry bag. Learn which items of clothing work best for travel: They shouldn’t wrinkle easily, they should work for day or evening, and they shouldn’t take up a lot of space in your bag. And always pack less: What didn’t you use on your last trip? Don’t bring it.” — Jessica Plautz, Deputy Digital Editor


Do I Really Need Travel Insurance? Here’s What to Consider

Your friends at SmartPark JFK and LGA are always looking out for your best travel interests, so we thought we’d share these tips regarding travel insurance from the folks at Travel and Leisure.  Travel insurance is a tricky topic with a lot of questions surrounding it, but this article should clear them up.

From Travel & Leisure:

Do I really need travel insurance?

It comes down to one question: “How much can you stand to lose if something prevents you from taking the trip?” asks Dan Skilken, president and CEO of insurance retailer TripInsurance.com. Always cover cruises or package tours. Also consider coverage if you have a long itinerary or are traveling overseas.

What does it usually cover?

Most policies allow you to cancel or interrupt your trip for a covered reason — which can include an injury or illness, a missed connection, or an unpredictable event such as a terror attack. If your trip is derailed for one of those reasons, you’re entitled to a reimbursement for costs that are usually not refundable (like plane tickets).

“Cancel for any reason” policies have broader coverage (though there may be exclusions, so read the fine print) and tend to be more expensive. What most travel insurance doesn’t include is health care abroad.

So will my health insurance cover me overseas?

It depends on your plan. Medicare, and even most private health plans, won’t cover you outside the U.S., so check to see if it has overseas coverage. Many European countries offer universal health care — even for visitors — that may be free or cost a small fee. But you might want to shop for separate travel health insurance. Medex sells supplemental medical plans that pay for physician fees and hospital expenses, and MedjetAssist offers evacuation coverage. Many companies, like Travelex, offer hybrid policies that include both travel and primary health insurance.

Where can I find a good policy?

Travel agencies offer policies that will generally cover you for the duration of your trip, but agents may push for a plan that pays them the highest commission. Most airlines, cruise lines, and tour operators offer optional insurance (also called wholesale policies) that tend to have more exclusions. Before you buy, review one of the websites that specialize in comparing insurance policies, such as Squaremouth, Travel Insurance Review, Triplnsurance.com, and InsureMyTrip. You can also buy direct through one of the travel-insurance companies. The big players are Allianz Global Assistance, CSA Travel Protection, and Travel Guard. Choose a company that is a member of the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (UStiA).

What’s it going to cost?

A few factors determine the cost of your insurance: the price and length of the trip, your age, and optional add-ons. A policy typically costs 3 to 5 percent of your trip’s prepaid, nonrefundable costs. A “cancel for any reason” policy can run you 7 to 10 percent of the nonrefundable cost, sometimes more. Some plan provisions are available only if you buy the policy within 14 days of your initial travel purchase. For example, an Allianz policy will cover most preexisting conditions if you buy insurance within the first two weeks. Some policies are more expensive if you’re older or are engaging in risky activity.

Do I have to read the fine print?

Yes. And don’t wait until you have to file a claim. If anything is unclear, call the insurer and ask for explanations in writing. Even if you’ve already clicked “buy,” you can reconsider. All policies have a “free look” period of 10 days.

“If you review your policy after purchasing it and decide it isn’t the right fit, you can cancel it within that period for a full refund,” said Rachael Taft, a spokesperson for Squaremouth.

What should I look for?

Make sure you understand whether the policy you’re buying is appropriate for your situation, advises Megan Freedman, UStiA’s executive director. For instance, if you or a family member has a medical problem that could require a cancellation, confirm that your policy includes a waiver for preexisting conditions (this is the most common reason claims are turned down).

My trip was canceled. Now what?

Typically it takes up to four weeks to process a claim. Expect to first receive an acknowledgment of your claim and then a final decision within one to two months.

“One of the things that most frequently holds up claims is incomplete documentation,” said Daniel Durazo, a spokesperson for Allianz. And remember, a rejection isn’t necessarily the final word. A brief, polite, written appeal with any new information relevant to your case will be taken seriously and will usually be reviewed by several adjusters at a more senior level. This process can sometimes take as long as the initial claim, so be patient.


Getting to Know LGA – Some Smart Facts

You may travel through our local airports all the time, but we bet there are quite a few basic facts about them you didn’t know. Your friends at SmartPark spend a lot of time driving around the airport, so you can say we are experts on the in’s and out’s. The next time you’re in one of our new air-conditioned shuttles heading to your terminal, you can now show your traveling companions how smart you are by dropping some trivia knowledge about good ole LGA!

Here are some fun fact about LaGuardia:

  • LGA is located just eight miles from midtown Manhattan in the borough of Queens, New York.
  • Since 1947, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has operated LaGuardia under a lease with New York City.
  • The airport sits on 680 acres, has two 7,000 ft main runways and four terminal buildings that house up to 72 aircraft gates.
  • Opened in 1939, LaGuardia Airport was builton the site of the old Gala Amusement Park at a cost of $40 million.
  • Once called the Overseas Terminal, and then the Marine Air Terminal, Terminal A was the original airport terminal building, serving international flights throughout the 1940s. In 1995, the terminal was designated a historic landmark.
  • Terminal B, also known as the Central Terminal Building, opened in 1964 followed by Terminals C and D in 1983 and 1992.
  • In 2016, LaGuardia Airport handled 29.8 million passengers, 369,987 plane movements and 7,586 tons of air cargo.
  • LGA employs 12,341 people.
  • The airport contributes $18.8 billion in economic activity.
  • LGA generates 135,599 total jobs and $6.8 billion in annual wages as salaries.
  • The terminals at LaGuardia Airport are open to the public from 4 am to 11 pm daily.

All information provided courtesy of laguaradiaairport.com.


Consider These Money Savings Tips for Snagging the Cheapest Flights

So you want to save some money, huh?  Well, fortunately, you made the “Intelligent Choice” for affordable parking rates here at SmartParkParking.com as we offer the most added benefits, free days and reward points!  Now, what about the rest of your trip?

Here a few handy tips for booking air travel that we are happy to share!

Shop Early and Often

Fares can jump by over $200 based on the day you buy your ticket. Airlines fares constantly fluctuate – even within the same day. So when it comes to buying an airline ticket, timing is everything. Start scouting out fares as soon as you know the dates of your trip. Then check regularly to get a feel for the best deals. Get that credit card ready to jump on it when you see a price dip, so you’re not kicking yourself later.

When is the Right Time?

Being a good planner always keeps you a step ahead, so let’s hear it for those folks.  To save some serious dough, know when to book.  Booking too late or early can boost the cost.  Between three weeks and four months in advance is usually the optimal window for the best price.

What’s the Cheapest Day to Fly?

Simple supply and demand rules tell us that the day of the week you fly will result in a large swing in your ticket price. The least expensive are usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays, while Friday and Sunday are the most expensive – the rest fall somewhere in the middle.

If you’re able to be flexible, play around with some creative planning and tweak the trip a bit. It could leave extra cash for an excursion or spa treatment that wouldn’t fit in your original budget.

No Need to Book a Round Trip with One Airline

Some travel websites offer options to depart and return on different airlines – and that could lead to savings.  Check the rates on several flights from each of the airlines at your favorite airport.  It may also turn out that another airline has more convenient departure or arrival times, or fewer stopovers.  Play out your options.

With just a little extra attention and flexibility, you can turn your vacation into a much better (and cheaper!) experience.  And you can hold your head high and brag to your friends and family about how much money you saved.  But they may already know that since you made the “Intelligent Choice” of parking at SmartPark!