Clever Tips To Avoid Wasting Money At The Airport

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, about three million people come in and out of airports every day. With convenience stores, restaurants, souvenir shops, and more, it can be easy to spend more than you intended. In order to prevent yourself from going overboard, here are some hacks that can save you money at the airport.

Browse The Restaurant Options Before Arriving

One of the best things to do before heading to an airport is to check out the menu options. Often times, people will be rushed to eat before their next flight arrives.

customers at mcdonald's in an airport
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

If you already know your choices, you’ll be able to pick something that not only is cheap, but is on the healthier side as well.

Come Prepared With A Reusable Water Bottle

There are various requirements for liquids when going through air travel, so most people usually forgo bringing water bottles.

person holding a red reusable water bottle
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

One hack that can save you money is bringing an empty reusable water bottle. You’ll be able to skip the vending machines or convenience stores and fill it up for free at a water station or drinking fountain.

Look For Free Wi-Fi

Not everyone has unlimited data. For those who are on the go, but need internet, getting wi-fi is crucial.

people at an airport using laptops
Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Before using up your data, consider researching where the free wi-fi is in the airport. There will sometimes be signs posted that advertise free wi-fi, but airport employees will usually know where to go.

The Cheapest Days To Fly

According to CheapAir, the best days to book a seat on an airplane for the cheapest price are Tuesday and Wednesday.

a few people on an airplane
Laurel Chor/Getty Images
Laurel Chor/Getty Images

The cheapest days to travel are Thursday and Friday and the cheapest months are January and February. People who did this were able to save an average of $73 on airline tickets.

Get A Portable Weight Checker

Those who frequently travel probably know that if your luggage is too heavy, you will get fined. One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to purchase a portable weight checker.

woman moving items around in her suitcases in an airport
Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

These can easily attach to your bags and tell you their exact weight before you hand them over to security.

Pack Essentials In Your Carry On

Unfortunately, it’s very easy for luggage to become lost while traveling. One suitcase you’ll always be able to keep with you is your carry on.

packed open suitcase with sneakers
Ann Cutting/Getty Images
Ann Cutting/Getty Images

This one comes right to your seat on the plane, so it’s best to pack all of your essentials that you can’t afford to lose. These can be electronics, medicine, clothing, and much more.

The Cheapest Way To Rent A Car

One of the biggest hassles while traveling can be renting a car. Instead of booking the car at the rental place itself, book it online ahead of time.

car rental Hertz at an airport with a white compact car parked
Chris Rank/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Chris Rank/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Many car rental places allow customers to save money if they prepay. Booking online gives you enough time to make sure that the car you’re renting will fit all of your needs as well.

Never Fly On These Days

Those who are looking to save money on airline tickets should avoid flying on the eve of major holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or the Fourth of July.

Lines of airplane passengers proceed through the TSA security checkpoint
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Not only are these some of the busiest days at the airport, but ticket prices will also be at an all-time high.

Bring A Bunch Of Snacks

There will be no shortage of snack options at the airport, but these can add up quickly. Before paying high prices for chips or cookies, consider packing your own.

popcorn close up
Dabbas/Unsplash
Dabbas/Unsplash

Being able to pack your own snacks will prevent you from overspending and you can prioritize healthier options for you and your travel companions.

Stop Your Luggage From Getting Damaged

The airport goes through so much luggage per day, so there’s a chance that your bags may get damaged.

A passenger and shrink-wrapped luggage at an airport
Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

One way to keep your luggage intact is to keep it in shrink wrap. The bags are still allowed through security with shrink wrap. If shrink wrap isn’t your style, consider buying a luggage cover.

How To Beat The Free Wi-Fi Time Cap

While it’s convenient that many airports offer passengers free wi-fi, this comes with some restrictions. Airports will usually put a time cap on the free wi-fi, so people will have to pay once their time runs out.

passenger uses her smartphone as she sits in the terminal
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

One way to prevent this from happening is to roll back the time on your device, which tricks the time gauge to start over.

Keep An Extra Wallet

Things often go missing while traveling and one of the most important things people need to keep track of is their wallet.

wallet with cash and cards taken out
Kisetsu Co/Unsplash
Kisetsu Co/Unsplash

Instead of keeping all of your cash and credit cards in one wallet, split them into two. That way, if one goes missing, you’ll still have the other one.

Know How To Hide Your Cash

Thieves often target tourists because they aren’t familiar with the area and will go for their valuables. Travelers need to know the best way to hide their cash.

guilherme-stecanella dH-oQF9w-Y-unsplash
Unsplash/Guilherme Stecanella
Unsplash/Guilherme Stecanella

People traveling with cash should hide it in different places in their bags, or create secret pockets throughout that are sewn shut.

Avoid Exchanging Currency At The Airport

If you’re going to another country, you’ll most likely have to exchange currency. It’s important not to exchange all of it.

GettyImages-1237679395
Matt Hunt/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Matt Hunt/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

You might need extra in case of emergency or if you need to re-exchange, you don’t want to pay another fee. Avoid exchanging money at airport kiosks and currency exchange shops because they have bad rates and high fees.

Don’t Get Your Credit Cards Locked

Those who know they will spending their credit cards out of town should go ahead and call their bank first.

man holding credit cards
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

This will prevent them from getting their cards locked when they are in a new location. Also, if your credit card does get stolen, you can always call the bank to cancel it.

Join A Frequent Flyer Program

If you’re someone who flies often, then it will be financially smart to join some kind of frequent flyer rewards program.

jerry-zhang-OnXvKZldSJ0-unsplash
Unsplash/Jerry Zhang
Unsplash/Jerry Zhang

Someone who gets a certain number of points can get perks such as free upgrades, discounts on flight or baggage services, or cheaper flights. Frequent flyer programs usually help travelers save money over time.

Getting To The Airport: Drive Yourself Or Take A Cab?

Some may wonder whether it’s better to either drive yourself to the airport or to take a cab. If you live close to the airport, then a cab or rideshare service should be fine.

airport parking lot for united airlines
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Those who live farther away should consider driving themselves to avoid large fees. Also, some airport parking prices aren’t too unreasonable.

Where To Buy Airline Tickets

Buying airline tickets can be really expensive, especially when people buy from common websites such as Kayak or Expedia.

man holding a toy airplane and airline ticket
Mehdi Fedouach/AFP via Getty Images
Mehdi Fedouach/AFP via Getty Images

Instead, try buying directly from the airline to find low ticket prices. If you still haven’t found the best price, consider other travel sites such as Travelzoo, Hotwire, Priceline, or Orbitz.

Roll Clothes To Save Space In Your Suitcase

In order to save a ton of space in your suitcase, try rolling up your clothes and other linens. This provides a lot more room inside versus simply folding them.

Suitcase neatly packed on bed with clothes rolled up
Lewis Mulatero/Getty Images
Lewis Mulatero/Getty Images

Rolling clothes will not cause wrinkles and they will fit a lot better inside the suitcase. Having more room in your luggage can prevent you from overpacking and going over the weight limit.

How To Avoid Bringing Extra Luggage

Bringing extra luggage on a trip can really add up, but there’s a way to prevent you from overpacking.

Travelers with their luggage in an airport
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

If you have a few extra items, try wearing them. It’s best to wear your biggest or bulkiest clothing pieces, so you will have more room in your suitcase. Then, you can take off that huge jacket or hat after going through security.