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7 Ways to Save Money at the Airport

©istockphoto/sihasakprachum

©istockphoto/sihasakprachum

For many of us, it’s hard not to go a little overboard spending money at the airport. You’re held captive, there’s not much to do, you’re desperate for distraction—and that key chain/bag of chips/paperback is looking very tempting right about now.

Stop! Before you hit the airport, check out these tips. They’ll help save you a few extra bucks, meaning that you’ll have more money to spend once you’ve actually arrived at your final destination. Here’s what you need to do:

Pack Snacks
Overpriced and underwhelming: that’s probably the best way to describe the food available in airport terminals and on the plane. With a little prep work, you can avoid paying $12 for a sad-looking cup of fruit.

Pack something from home, pick up a sandwich to go from your favorite deli, or peruse the pre-made food options at your local grocery store. Bring along a treat or two if you’re prone to airport indulgence–somehow, the price of M&Ms skyrockets once you’ve passed through security.

BYO Water Bottle
Pack an empty water bottle along with you. Once you’ve made it past security, you can fill it up for free at a water fountain inside the terminal.

If you’re concerned about how much room a bottle will take up in your bag, look for collapsible water bottles like this—they roll down and pack easily when they’re empty.

Remember the Necessities
In the days leading up to your trip, make a list of the items you’ll need while you’re in transit. Add to it whenever an idea pops into your head, and refer to it when you’re packing your carry-on bags. Packing your own toothbrush, headphones, inflatable pillow, etc. will save you from having to stock up on overpriced airport necessities.

Bring Entertainment
Pick out some books and magazines ahead of time at Target, Costco, or somewhere else that sells them at a discount and avoid paying full price within the terminal. You might also want to load your laptop up with must-watch movies, skipping the overpriced in-flight entertainment.

Carry On Wisely
Spread your belongings carefully between your carry on and your checked bag. If your checked bag gets lost in transit, you’ll hopefully have an outfit or two tucked into your carry on to get you through until it is located. This will save you from having to buy more of what you already own.

Put Your Suitcase on a Diet
If you wait until you’re at the airport to discover that your bag is above the weight limit, it’s probably too late to do anything about it. That’s why it’s so important to weigh your bag before you go—those overweight fees can be painful! Limit heavier items like shoes and bulky sweaters, and you’ll fly through the baggage check with ease.

Skip the Souvenirs
As you wander through the terminal towards your gate, you’re going to pass by some pretty enticing shops and stalls. Unfortunately, many of these shops overcharge for what they’re selling, so keep on walking.

Instead of browsing through generic souvenirs at chain airport stores, take the time to explore local shops and markets wherever you’re traveling. Your loved ones will probably appreciate something more unique and authentic than a standard mug with a city name on it.

Saving money at the airport is all about preparing, persevering, and powering through. Get yourself organized ahead of time, avoid giving into costly terminal temptations, and keep yourself busy while you wait to board—and enjoy that extra money sitting in your wallet.

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