Make Finding A Car Park Less Of A Chore

Make Finding A Car Park Less Of A Chore

Using a car park is never an enjoyable experience. But whether you’re stuck circling around looking for a spot, trying to get out quickly, or just trying to find your car, the combination of a little common sense with technology can make the experience less stressful.

Title photo by Kevin Krejci

Find A Spot Quickly


Faced with a crowded car park, it’s often best to venture straight to the roof, or the location that’s the furthest from the actual shops/venue. Yes, your car won’t be protected from the elements, but if there are spaces to be had, that’s usually the safest place to look. On the busiest days even the biggest car park can get full.

Other tactics to consider:

  • Follow people who look like they may be returning to their car.
  • Drive extremely slowly to maximise your chance of encountering a departing vehicle.

These strategies will have a fair chance of annoying your fellow drivers, so use with discretion.

Focus On A Quick Exit

It’s a natural reaction to try and find the closest spot to the entrance when you’re looking for a parking spot, but as we’ve noted before, it might be better to consider how quickly you can leave instead. [clear]

Use Your Smartphone To Find Your Park


If you’re parking in a gigantic car park, then it’s incredibly easy to lose track of it. Thankfully, your smartphone (or a piece of paper) can keep you from losing it. Photo by Brian Reynolds.

All you need to do is snap a picture of where you’re parked, and make a note (in any app you like) with any other details to help you remember where you’re parked. This might include which store entrance you walked in, and what department that entrance is in.


  • Lame post. Thanks for stating the obvious.

    My trick is to head for the emptier car park that’s further away from the main section of our local shopping centre, it’s quicker to walk the extra distance than crawl slowly around a car park millions of times waiting for someone to come out.

    • Lame post. Thanks for stating the obvious.

      As soon as I read this i realised it was a Thorin post. This is actually relatively helpful compared to his other posts

    • + 1.
      Also less likely to get your car scratched.

      I really don’t understand people who circle the closest car spots trying to find a spot, only to traipse up and down the shopping centre anyway. Would the extra couple of metres really been that much of an issue?
      Meh, I’d rather park in the farthest spot away from everyone anyway. It’s also fun when people ask if you’re leaving, you say “yes”, only to lead them to your car surrounded by empty spots.

  • And to check for a free space, rather than driving down a line of cars just drive past the end and look down the row at the shadows they make. You’ll see straight off if there’s a space rather than driving half way down the row to what you thought was a space only to find a small car hidden by the 4WD in front of it.

  • Buy a Marauder for those time when someone steals your spot just park on top of them, the choice would be yours wether to wait until they have left car before parking on top of them.

  • There is a new(ish) system that was developed by a friends father of mine in Melbourne, that is in-use in several locations now. Chadstone shopping complex being one of them. There are LED screens that tell you how many bays are available in each row, and has lights above every bay, red for taken and green for, well obviously free. Works very, very well.

    • It works 95% of the time. There are sometimes small cars that don’t set off the sensor, resulting in it saying that there’s a spot available when there actually isn’t. But, having used that system in Melbourne, then coming back to Perth the week before Christmas, I much rather would have the system, than not.

  • Agreed. It seems like it’s assumed we’re all braindead morons who need explicit play-by-plays on how to navigate everyday life. Are you really that desperate for content, Lifehacker?

  • I spend some time building a physical model of the parking lot and a psychosocial model of the people there, so I can predict where to park as soon as I arrive.

    I think this is how Hari Seldon got started.

    • And while looking for a park Seldon meets Yugo Amaryl working in the lot’s car wash??

      Strangley enough you probably could use a similar technique to study parking lot layouts and the way people use them to find the most likely way it will fill up and empty. Then work out the best way to get to and from the empty spots in the lot.

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