Home > Personal Finance > How to Save Money Any Time You Visit an Airport

Comments 0 Comments

Airports are a little like baseball stadiums. You’re limited in what you can bring, you can’t easily get back out and all the stuff inside is way overpriced.

Just like you should prepare for a baseball game with sunscreen, your favorite jersey and a few handy insults for the jerk playing third, there are a few strategies for saving money when you’re at the airport.

1. Weigh Your Luggage

Bringing overweight luggage is costly. American Airlines charges $100 or more for luggage weighing more than 51 pounds. Low-cost airliner Southwest charges $75 for bags weighing 51 to 100 pounds.

Meanwhile, luggage scales go for around $15 or even less in some places. This is one of those cases where you can spend money to save if you’re carrying a heavy load on your trip.

2. Bring a Water Bottle

Just like at a baseball stadium, bottled water is way overpriced at the airport. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) won’t let you bring a filled water bottle through security, but you can bring an empty reusable bottle and fill it up at a drinking fountain once you’ve passed through.

It’s a good idea to have a reusable bottle when traveling to begin with because you can save money on water throughout your trip and keep a few plastic bottles out of the landfill.

3. Pack Snacks

A lot of airport food is overpriced mall slop, so chances are you can find something better and cheaper to bring with you. (Check the TSA website for specifics.) Pinterest has plenty of recipes for packable and delicious food. Another way to avoid paying for airport food is to eat before you leave home.

4. Bring Amusements

Waiting around is a huge part of air travel, so you need a way to pass the time. A book is a good start, as is a mobile device loaded with movies, music, podcasts and audio books. Streaming may not be an option, as many airports don’t offer free Wi-Fi, so download any media ahead of time. Make sure to bring a decent pair of earbuds, too. Plane headphones are not always free, and they are usually low-quality anyway.

5. Pack a Travel Credit Card

You can skip many of the above steps if you manage to get into an airport lounge, where, in most cases, you’ll also get complimentary access to Wi-Fi, snacks, beverages and showers. You’ll usually have to pay an annual membership of a few hundred dollars to access these lounges, but the right card can get you in as well. We compiled a list of credit cards to use at each of the busiest airports in America here.

Of course, travel cards that get you into airport lounges usually have high annual fees of their own, but their rewards may be worth your while depending on how much you travel. (You’ll also typically need good to excellent credit to qualify for a premium travel card, so check your score before applying. You can see two of your scores free on Credit.com.)

6. Avoid Airport Parking

Chances are it’s cheaper to arrange transportation from your home to the airport than it is to pay for airport parking, especially if your trip will be long. When you’re booking transportation, make sure to call a few companies for quotes and compare prices against your rideshare app of choice. Or even better, ask a friend to take you.

7. Don’t Go Shopping

The entire premise of this article is that the airport is an overpriced trap. No one would ever go there for regular shopping. Anything you need, whether it’s food, toiletries, medicine or souvenirs, can be purchased outside, likely at a far better price.

Don’t take these steps just to squander the savings on an impulse buy, no matter how nice the duty-free shop is. If you see something tempting, remember: As long as you packed everything you truly need, you don’t need to buy anything at the airport.

Image: Izabela Habur

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team