If you live in Melbourne and are flying out of Tullamarine Airport it can be tricky to figure out the best way to get to and from the airport with luggage, car seats, and prams.  Here’s our recommendations depending on the length of your trip and the amount of luggage you will have for each journey.

Parking at the airport

If you are going to be away for a week or less, one option is to drive to the airport and park at Melbourne Airport Parking in one of the long term car parks.   When you are taking your own car, you already have your kids car seats installed and can simply pack your luggage and be on your way.  Its best to book your parking in advance (at least 24 hours before you arrive) as its much cheaper when pre-booked online.  When you get to the airport, make sure you insert the same credit card at the entry gate as you used to book your parking, and your card will be charged the discounted amount at the end of your stay.

When we are travelling with a lot of luggage and a pram, Steve drops me, Little Miss, and all the luggage at the terminal where we wait while he goes and parks the car in long term parking before we all check in for our flight.  If you don’t have too much luggage, you can take the car park bus from the car park to the terminal.  You would need to allow at least 15 – 30 minutes extra for the bus trip.  The buses come regularly through the carpark and there are some racks on the bus to store suitcases when you get on.

There is also now a long term car park in the multi level car park which is much closer to the terminal.  From here you can walk across to your terminal in about 5 minutes, however the prices at this car park are higher than the open air long term car park.  If you are just going away for a weekend or short trip it might be worth considering this option for the convenience of quick arrival and departure.

If you are planning on taking your car seat(s) with you, its a good idea to bring the original box and some packing tape and pack it into its box when you arrive at the airport.  We have done this a number of times and haven’t had any issues with damage in transit as it’s much better protected than if just travelling on its own.  If you don’t have the original box, visit one of the large baby shops where they do car seat fittings and ask if they have a spare box that will fit your car seat.  They are usually discarding a few each day and are happy to give you one to take with you.

You can of course, hire car seats at your destination, but the quality and cleanliness can vary greatly.  If you are planning on hiring a car for the whole time you will be away, its worth considering taking your own car seat. If you are only going to need a car for part of your trip, it would be easier to hire it as needed so you are not lugging it around the rest of the time.

Parking near the airport

There are quite a few private car parks near the airport which offer cheaper rates and complementary transfers from their base to the terminal.   We have previously used Andrews Airport Parking and found it to be a good option.  Here you can park your car in either the open or under cover car park for the duration of  your trip and then take their transfer bus directly to your terminal.

When you arrive at the car park, drop all your passengers and luggage off at the office before parking and the staff will then help you load it all onto the transfer vehicle.  The transfers are in mini buses and so everyone has a seat (unlike the airport parking buses which can be very crowded and sometimes there is standing room only).  Its only about a 10 minute ride to the airport, but you should allow about half an hour to get the luggage sorted, check in at the car park and get your transfer.

Andrews can also provide car seats and capsules in the transfer bus, so you have peace of mind that your bub or little one is safely seated all the way to the terminal.

Taxis

If you are going away for an extended trip, it can be tempting to take a taxi to the airport, however be aware that in Victoria, taxis are not required to provide car seats for infants or kids. I’ve never felt comfortable taking a long trip to the airport holding our baby on my knee.  Once she got to the crawling / walking stage, keeping her sitting down for that long without a car seat would be a nightmare.

We have used corporate cars instead of taxis and found that the service is much better and the car seat can be guaranteed in advance.

Corporate cars

A good option for a long trip away is to book a corporate car.  On our last trip overseas trip we went away for 5 weeks and I pre-booked with At Call Corporate Cars and they provided us with a good quality car seat and a nice vehicle for the trip.  It was good to know that we had the transfer organised in advanced for our pick up time and we had a car seat guaranteed and we were happy with their service.  There is an extra $15 charge per car seat, but even with the return journey, the cost of the transfers was less expensive than parking at the airport for our whole stay.

How do you usually juggle getting to the airport and needing car seats?

Do you have any other great services to add to this list?

 

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