When I traveled in the past, half of the fun was on the way to my final destination. I would get to the airport early, hit Hudson News for a new book or magazine and post up at a restaurant or Vino Volo until boarding began. I would also always check my bag so that I wouldn’t be burdened by the overpacked ridiculousness that I called luggage. I looked at the airport as a mini-vacation before the actual vacation, but all of these luxuries definitely added up. When I went through my finances to see how much I have spent while traveling, I almost fell off my chair.
Think you are saving money by booking budget airlines? Even if you fly with the low-cost airlines like Spirit or Frontier, they are counting on various fees to make a profit. From extra leg room to print your ticket at home, budget airlines will rack up the charges to make up for the cheaper cost.
Now that I am traveling even more for work, I refuse to throw my money away at the airport. Here are some quick tips that I have put into practice while on the road.
Bring a reusable water bottle
I have been known to put away 10 bottles of water in a day. I drink water like I am never going to see water again. When I am traveling, it gets worse because flying dehydrates and decreases circulation. I used to spend upwards of $12 on an extra-large Fiji while traveling, which is ridiculous because there are water fountains everywhere and you can get free drinks on the plane. To stop wasting that money on something that is free, I started bringing a reusable water bottle to the airport (just make sure it is empty before going through security).
Always carry on
Unless you are going to Europe for a three-week vacation, then you probably shouldn’t be checking a bag. Bag checking fees have grown significantly over the years, and unless you have membership status on an airline, you are going to pay around $25 per bag. Even some airline memberships can’t save you from baggage fees for international travel. Savvy travelers can save between $25-$50 per trip if you really plan ahead with outfits and commit to wearing things more than once. If you’re not sure how to pick efficiently, this article could help.
Bring your own snacks
Airports have crazy markup prices in their restaurants and convenience stores. I tend to travel for work pretty early in the morning, and the first thing I want is a Starbucks coffee and breakfast sandwich when I get there. But these little luxuries add up. You can save money by eating before leaving or packing snacks like pretzels, chips and granola bars. Another travel tip if you can’t live without a glass of wine before you take off: join the Vino Volo loyalty program. Members receive up to 20% off specific wines, free snacks, and $2 wine tastings.
Don’t get there too early
If airlines say they are going to board 45 minutes before the flight, then you don’t need to be there two hours before that. I paid $85 for five years of TSA pre-check, which I think is an excellent investment. I can now cruise through security and get to my gate a few minutes before boarding begins. If you arrive too early, you are more likely going to be tempted to walk around, grab a snack or a magazine, and waste your money on things you don’t need.
Article By Meghan Gardler