Of course, you might need a new pair of headphones because yours broke at the airport. In these cases, Woroch advises using your phone to compare the airport shop prices with those listed online to determine which options offer a fair price. Otherwise, keep your wallet stowed and fill your time with people-watching.
“When your flight gets delayed or you have a long layover, you may be tempted to start shopping to kill time and boredom, but there’s nothing good that comes from shopping at the airport,” she said. “Prices at these boutiques and shops are higher than regular locations. Not to mention, you will get stuck with more stuff, which may cause you to pay more when traveling back to check a bag or pay for an overweight bag.”
Packing The Wrong Things In Your Carry-On
“Another mistake people make at the airport that costs them more money is not understanding carry-on restrictions,” McKague said. “For example, a client recently had their perfume taken away at the security checkpoint because they packed the full bottle of perfume in their carry-on, which was over the 3.4 oz carry-on rule. She didn’t have time to run to the car or ship it home, so she wasted more money disposing of her perfume.”
While you should pack carry-on-restricted items in your checked bag, you should be sure to pack your personal essentials in your carry-on bag.
“It’s annoying lugging your things through the airport, but if you are checking a bag, make sure you have a small carry-on with some essentials,” Wheaton said. “If your bag gets lost or you get stuck at the airport for an extended period of time, you won’t need to spend any money to purchase items like a toothbrush, sweatshirt or charger for your phone.”
Missing Out On Free Amenities
One big way to cut down on airport expenses is to look into the free amenities you might qualify for. For example, your airline loyalty program status might include vouchers or club access for certain itineraries. The same goes for your credit card.
“If you are a frequent traveler, consider a credit card that would provide you with complimentary lounge access,” Wheaton said. “Choose a card that has lounges at destinations you normally visit. While these cards normally charge an annual fee, if you are a frequent traveler, the amenities can easily outweigh the fee. Lounges generally have free food, beverages, wi-fi and are staffed with people who can help you if you experience a flight delay or cancellation.”
Not Being Strategic About Snack Purchases
Even if you don’t have access to free food at the airport, there are ways to cut down on the money you spend on snacks during your travels.
“While the smartest thing to do would be to bring your own TSA-friendly snacks, sometimes we forget,” Dunavant said. “Make sure you purchase your snacks by your gate versus in the air. Some in-flight meals must be pre-booked before flying, and snacks can come at a much higher price point in the air vs. on the ground. So save yourself some change by grabbing yourself goodies at your gate’s Hudson News or CIBO Express.”