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3 Tips for Saving Money at the Airport

by Bucksome Boomer

airport travelers blurSo, you are ready to head to the airport. Your flight has been booked and you are ready to take to the sky. Although you will find yourself in the sky soon enough, before taking your seat you will be spending a bit of time in the airport.

Unfortunately, many people have a hard time controlling their spending while in the airport. This is particularly true for those who have long layovers. Airports have notoriously high prices, and are certainly no place to relax your otherwise smart spending habits.

Here are three tips you can follow to save money at the airport:

1. Allocate Specific Funds for the Airport
Once you set a limit, stick to it, and spend no more. For example, you may allocate $10 for food and beverages before and after your flight. While this may not sound like a lot of money, you can make it last if you search for the best deals and avoid soft drinks and alcohol.

2. Book Your Travel Arrangements in Advance
This is one area in which travelers spend entirely too much money. For example, if you show up to a car rental agency in your destination city without making prior arrangements, you will likely overspend. While you may be able to secure a rental car, you will be offered no opportunities to save.

However, when you book online in advance, prices are often much lower – not to mention, you have a better chance of reserving the type of car that is right for you and your traveling party. The last thing you want is to show up at the airport looking for a compact car, just to find that the only thing available is a large SUV.

3. Don’t Buy Anything You Don’t Need
Sure, you may be tempted by those headphones or that new paperback book. But guess what? Retailers in airports know that you have no other option but to buy from them, and they price their wares accordingly. As badly as you may want to purchase something, you are going to spend much more than you would online or at a store outside the airport. Unless you absolutely need the item, it is best to delay your purchase.

Final Thoughts
Day after day, businesses in airport terminals all over the world cash in on consumers who are willing to spend money aimlessly. Don’t fall prey to their high prices. With the three tips above, you can save money on your next trip through the airport.

What other money-saving tricks can you suggest for travelers?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna Freedman August 12, 2012 at 10:26 am

Bring an empty soda or water bottle through security and fill it once you’re at the gate. If the water there tastes gnarly (yo, Philly!) add part of a packet of those “Crystal Lite To Go”-type drink mixes.
I use the Wyler’s Sugar-Free Lemonade ($1 for a box of 8 to 10 packets) and I find you don’t have to add the entire thing — just enough to disguise the water’s natural taste. Somehow room-temperature water lightly flavored with lemon is more palatable to me than full-fledged lemonade is at room temperature. YMMV.
Oh, and keep drinking: It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, which could make those $9 snack packs look irresistible mid-flight. I always carry a granola bar or some other portable snack (nuts, dried fruit, a bagel) to keep from succumbing. Apples are good, too, since they’re sweet and also help you deal with thirst. None of these snacks take up much room in your bag, either.

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Lisa @ Cents To Save August 26, 2012 at 6:32 am

Good tip about bringing the empty water bottle! Will have to remember that :)

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Marie at Family Money Values August 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm

If you have been wronged by an airline and are stuck because of that, ask them if you can use the employee cafeteria – it’s much cheaper.

I used to work for TWA…..

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Amanda L Grossman February 28, 2013 at 5:19 am

Neat–I didn’t even know that they have an employee cafetaria!

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Maggie@SquarePennies November 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm

I always bring several healthy protein bars–as many as I can pack in my purse. Often I don’t have enough time between flights to buy food and you can eat them anywhere. If there is a delay once we’re on the plane, the protein bars come in handy too! I also carry string cheese and a ziploc bag of nuts for the same reasons.

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Amanda L Grossman February 28, 2013 at 5:20 am

If you are renting a car, I have found that it can be much cheaper to take a bus to a nearby car rental place and rent from them (and it’s normally along a bus route to and from the airport anyway). We don’t typically rent a vehicle, but when we have, this saved us gobs of money!

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