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Car parking pointers for your weekend

By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Posted: 8 am ET

Parking your car for weekend fun, especially if you live in a big city, can be really stressful. Few things are more annoying than forgetting where you parked and having to conduct a late-night search, or worse yet, running out of time on a parking meter and getting a parking ticket.

Smart phone apps and regular phones can help keep track of time left on parking meters when parking your car

Smart phone apps and regular phones can help keep track of time left on parking meters

Wired has an excellent how-to on using simple tricks to make sure those nuisances don't spoil your fun. The article names a host of free smart phone apps, such as Parking Mate for iPhone and Car Matey for Android that can use GPS to remember where your space is. The apps also allow you to plug in the amount of time left on a meter, and the apps will give you a countdown to when you need to return and either move your car or put in more money.

But the article also highlights a number of techniques that don't require a smart phone. One I thought was really clever was taking a cell phone picture of the nearest street sign if you're parking on the street or the nearest parking location sign if you're in a parking lot or garage. And even basic cell phones usually have a timer function that you can set with the time left on your meter to let you know when you should return.

Don't have a cell phone handy? There's still this old trick:

Tie a flag or stick some sort of tchotchke on the end of your antenna to help you find your car in a crowded lot.

Or if you're think your nearby, you can just hit the panic button on your key fob and follow the noise, although this probably won't win you any popularity contests.

How do you make sure you don't forget where you parked? Got any other tips related to parking?

(h/t to Consumerist)

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