7 Ways You’re Throwing Money Away At The Airport

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Getty Images | Bruce Bennett

The days of complimentary in-flight meals are all but a memory. They go down in history with the free headphones, blankets and pillows. Oh, and if you want a few more inches of legroom or to check a suitcase, those fees can quickly tack on an extra $100 to your trip each way.

But, if you’d rather spend your hard-earned money at your destination (rather than the airport), it might be worth making a few tweaks to your airport travel routine.

Here are some common ways you’re turning your dollar bills into paper airplanes and tossing them away at the airport.

1. You still think Tuesdays are the best day to buy flights

Savvy travelers know exactly when to book flights to get the best deals, and, for years, booking flights mid-week was thought to yield the best deals. But, actually, it turns out that Sunday is the best time to find flight deals, especially if you’re booking three weeks or more in advance. That’s according to a from Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corporation.

2. You’re checking a bag

Packing light is a superpower that can save you lots of money. The median fee for a checked bag is $25, according to a Money survey. (For a family of four, that adds up to $200 round-trip!) Checking two bags? That second one will likely cost you $35. To maximize space in your carry-on, try this bundle packing method. Also, before you travel, pick out a simple color scheme (maybe it’s black and white or navy and white).That way you can mix and match your clothes throughout your trip.

Getty Images | Scott Olson

3. You’re waiting in security lines

When we layer in the “time is money” quotient, investing the $85 in TSA pre-check will save frequent travelers time in those security lines that can get notoriously lengthy, especially during the summer travel month. Your pre-check is good for 5 years, and you don’t have to take off your shoes or belt, or pull out your laptop when you go through security. Also, if you’re the type who likes to cut it close at the airport, know this: Many travelers have been missing flights because of super-long security lines. In fact, American Airlines reported that 70,000 passengers in 2016 missed flights because of the excessively long security lines.

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

4.You didn’t pack your own snacks

Bring your own apple. And re-fillable water bottle. You’re paying a premium for snacks and meals in the airport. Just how much is hard to say, but one writer for the Los Angeles Times noted that a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder meal in the airport was $7.19 compared to $5.69 at a downtown restaurant.

Flickr | paulswansen

5. You didn’t make a trip to the dollar store

We get it. You’ve got a special shampoo that makes your hair look amazing no matter the climate. Or, you’ve got that bottle of trusty self-tanner that travels with you to beachy destinations.  Tuck those big bottles in your bag and two things can happen: a) your goods get confiscated in the TSA line or b) they force you to have to pay $25 to check a bag. A better solution? Make a run to the dollar store before you travel and snap up a set of travel-sized bottles so that you can get on the plane with your favorite toiletries.

Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla

6. You’re paying full price for parking

You know that off-site parking will save you big bucks as opposed to airport parking. But, did you know that most of those off-site parking spots also offer coupons and are regulars on Groupon? Do a little comparison shopping to find out which lots will offer you the best deals. Also, if you don’t live too far from the airport, it’s worth seeing how much it would cost you to catch an Uber. The ride-sharing app will give you an estimate before you confirm your pick-up.

Getty Images | Cameron Spencer

7. You didn’t BYOB (bring your own book)

There’s just something about stores in the airport that compel us to snap up magazines and books, along with gum and last-minute souvenirs. Instead, hit up your library before you travel and check out free reading materials. Also, the in-flight magazines tucked in your seatback are an entertaining read, filled with great travel and lifestyle articles.

Getty Images | Ben Pruchnie

About the Author

Brittany Anas

Hi, I'm Brittany Anas (pronounced like the spice, anise ... see, that wasn't too embarrassing to say, now was it?) My professional writing career started when I was in elementary school and my grandma paid me $1 for each story I wrote for her. I'm a former newspaper reporter, with more than a decade of experience Hula-hooping at planning meetings and covering just about every beat from higher-education to crime to science for the Boulder Daily Camera and The Denver Post. Now, I'm a freelance writer, specializing in travel, health, food and adventure. I've contributed to publications including Men's Journal, Forbes, Women's Health, American Way, TripSavvy, Eat This, Not That!, Apartment Therapy, Denver Life Magazine, 5280, Livability, The Denver Post, Simplemost, USA Today Travel Tips, Make it Better, AAA publications, Reader's Digest, Discover Life and more. Learn More.