5 ways to survive chaotic mall parking this holiday season

  • Kara Driscoll
  • Staff Writer
9:36 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 What To Know

Local malls are packed with shoppers buying gifts for the holidays.

Holiday spending in Ohio is expected to grow 2 percent this year compared to 2016, bringing in an estimated $24.1 billion statewide — and people in the Dayton region are expected to spend more than last year.

NRF projects that holiday retail sales in November and December this year will be up between 3.6 percent and 4 percent for a total between $678.8 billion and $682 billion. Consumers say they will spend an average $967.13 this year, according to the annual survey conducted.

Check out some tips for surviving parking disasters at malls and shopping centers:

1. Get walking. Don’t park near the main entrance of the mall, which will surely be packed. Look for back entrances that are less often, and there are often open spaces on the outskirts of parking lots.

2. Get up early. Arrive to the mall 15 minutes or so before stores open to land a prime parking spot. Shoppers will have a more difficult time finding parking during lunch hours, weekends and after work.

3. Consider valet. “Valet parking offers an alternative for shoppers to conveniently find a parking spot with little stress. Many stands also offer loyalty programs for shoppers that regularly visit the mall,” said Todd Brosius, president of national retail parking operator AmeriPark.

4. Wait for departing shoppers. Now is the time for shoppers to test their patience. Scope out shoppers leaving the mall and walking to their cars. Shoppers can snag good parking spots close to mall if they wait, but make sure to accommodate pedestrians and lot traffic.

5. Come up with a game plan. Shoppers should map out their route for the day before they leave for the day. Avoid going to larger mid-day when crowds will be busier and considering shopping in the early hours or around closing time.

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