You love to travel, but you hate the airport. It’s a common story, and we all know why. Long lines, expensive parking, crowded spaces- the list goes on. Not to mention, preparing for a long trip can cost you a pretty penny. Check out these 10 airport tips and tricks to help you save money, time, and your sanity.
1. Hoard Complimentary Hotel Toiletries
The travel section can be really tempting, however, the cost of travel-sized products can really add up quickly if you’re not frugal! You can get almost any type of personal care product in a miniature, TSA-approved size. A great way to offset this expense is to stock up on hotel freebies! You’ll save a few dollars on shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and soap. Some hotels even have luxury brands and additional items like shaving cream that they will happily give to you for free.
Total Saved: $5-$10 on Travel-Sized Toiletries
2. Research Parking Before You Arrive at the Airport
As if that flight wasn’t expensive enough! Airport parking easily tacks on $25 or more per night. Research your options to find the best deal using websites like Discount Park and Ride. If you’re out of town for over two nights and live within 20 minutes from the airport, you can also consider taking Uber or Lyft.
Total Saved: $25+ Per Night on Parking Fees
3. Bring An Empty Water Bottle & Pack Your Own Food
Airport shops markup just about everything including food and water. Staying hydrated is important when traveling, and especially when flying. Bring an empty water bottle to fill up at a water fountain once you get through security. Extra points for having a self-filtering water bottle! Depending on the airport, your food options can be quite lackluster. And speaking of markups- airport food is one of the biggest culprits. Skip the overpriced food and save money by packing your own easy-to-eat snacks like a sandwich, snack bars, trail mix, or pre-cut vegetables and fruit.
Total Saved: $2-$25+ on Overpriced Water & Food
4. Keep An Eye On Your Luggage
Besides worrying about theft, it can be tough to spot your bags at baggage claim. Tie a bright colored scarf or ribbon around the handle for easy spotting. If you are looking for a more secure option, pick up the Trakdot Luggage Tracker, which will send notifications to your phone regarding the whereabouts of your luggage.
5. Head Left At Security
Airport security lines can be a major point of stress, especially if you are running late. Research shows that right-handed people usually turn right first, and there are many more right-handers than left-handers! Cut down on waiting time by heading to the checkpoint farthest to the left.
6. Sign Up for the VIP Airport Lounge & TSA Pre Check
Frequent flyers can decompress and relax in a quiet, comfy space for an annual fee. If you’ve ever seen the signs that say “Sky Club” or “Admirals Club,” those are not-so-secret VIP lounges that anyone can actually get into. Annual memberships are a bit expensive, but you can sign up for a day pass, which costs anywhere from $30-$50, depending on the club. Don’t forget to sign up for a 5-year membership to TSA Precheck for $85 so that you can cruise straight through security to the lounge.
8. Use The MY TSA App To Plan Ahead
The My TSA App is essential for those who find themselves always running late. Or maybe you just like to be extra early! Either way, you can search for your airport and view securitywait times and any departure delays.
9. Take Advantage Of Free Wi-Fi
Get some work done or browse facebook without using up your data. Most airports offer Wi-Fi completely free of charge. If not, you will likely get a limited amount of free usage and then pay a fee to use the connection past the allotted time.
10. Check Out Local Transportation
Curb your spending by skipping the airport taxi cabs. Oftentimes taxis charge an additional fee or minimum price just for starting your trip at the airport. These fees can range from $5-$15. Research public transportation options like air trans, metros, or buses that can get you to your destination without breaking the budget.
Total Saved: $10-$100 Depending On Distance Of Destination