I don’t know about you all, but over the course of the last ten years or so I have become much less a fan of air travel. I guess I never used to be crazy about it, but over the last decade air travel (in the US at least) has become increasingly painful. Security is more rigorous (remember the good old days when you could just walk on through without taking off your shoes?), flights are more crowded, and any and all potential perks such as free meals have completely disappeared. Heck, they didn’t even hand out pretzels or any sort of snacks at all on the last United flights that we took two weeks ago. And hey, remember back in the day when the size of your shampoo bottle was not a matter of national security? Weren’t those the days?
I do get it, folks; I understand the reasons why all of these things are now the norm. But nonetheless, even though I love to earn travel rewards, it has made me less excited about air travel in recent years.
Wow, I sound like a real complainer, don’t I? Yep, I can complain with the best of them! But hey, I do actually have some good news for you here: there are still ways to save money at the airport! Check out these ideas below. Also, I’d love to hear from you all in the comment section on the ways that you save money at the airport.
5 Easy Ways to Save Money at the Airport
- Pack light to avoid bag fees. This is one that I was doing even before airlines started charging crazy fees to check a bag (or even carry on now!), primarily because I have had one too many airlines lose my luggage. I always pack everything I will need into a carry-on sized bag. If I can’t fit everything I want to take into my bag, then things get left at home.
- Eat before you go to the airport. This one is a biggie because airport food is notoriously expensive and unhealthy! If you are anywhere close to a meal time when you have to fly, eat before you head to the airport. You’ll undoubtedly have access to cheaper and healthier food at home or basically anywhere other than the airport.
- Bring snacks. Peanut butter sandwiches, fruit, dry cereal, granola bars, beef jerky, and crackers are all things that you can totally take through airport security without any fuss. And this will almost certainly be cheaper than buying one of whatever they’re selling on airplanes for food these days (and maybe healthier, too).
- Take an empty water bottle through security with you, and then fill it up at a water fountain. This is one that I do literally every single time I fly. I am not particularly picky about how my water tastes, so this one is a frugal no-brainer for me (if you are particular about the taste of your water, you could always bring along some of those water flavoring packets). For some reason when I tell people this they often ask me if airport water is safe. Here’s my answer: if you’re in the US or Canada or pretty much any other developed country, it’s probably safe. If you’re somewhere else, maybe not- so maybe that’s the time when you need to buy bottled water if you’re thirsty. Or you could just wait until you get on the airplane and they offer you water, which is usually bottled.
- Plan ahead. Are you always cold on airplanes? If you fly a lot it might be worth investing in one of those lightweight blankets they sell at airports that pack down super small- but if you buy it at the airport you’ll almost certainly pay a higher price. Better yet, dress in layers on your flight- you can always remove layers when you arrive at your destination if it is warmer there, or vice versa. The same thing goes for reading material- obviously they sell books and magazines at the airport, but if you bring something with you to read you can avoid paying top dollar at those airport book stores.
Suggested Reading: A great resource for more frugal travel tips is How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter.
Your turn! I want to hear all about ways that you save money at the airport! Are there other things you do to be a frugal flyer?
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