You’ve searched long and hard for the perfect holiday at the perfect price – but it’s all too easy to blow a hole in your budget by falling foul of unexpected extra expenses at the airport. Here are 10 ways you can save at the airport to ensure your trip gets off to a flying start.
1. Cut the cost of travelling to the airport
Transferwithme.com is a simple way to find other people to share a lift to the airport with. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll find a match for your flight – but it’s completely free to search, so why not give it a go?
2. Pre-book airport parking
If you’re driving to the airport yourself – and more than 50% of us do – make sure you pre-book your parking space or it’ll cost you dear. By pre-booking your parking space (rather than paying the gate price) you’ll easily save £40-£50 a week at most airports. The earlier you book, the more you’ll save.
3. Always check which terminal you are flying from
While going holiday is a very exciting experience, it can be sometimes ruined by forgetting the simplest of things. Different airports have different terminals so make sure to check which terminal you need to go to before travelling to the airport so you are not wasting valuable time and money at the last minute.
4. Make sure you are fully travel insured
You never know what’s going to happen when you’re going on holiday. It’s all well and good that your flights are booked and you’ve got all your travel accessories sorted – but what if the airline loses your luggage or your flight is delayed? Or worse still, what if you need urgent but expensive medical care while abroad?
Don’t ever travel without insurance – it’s simply not worth it. Check out Moneysupermarket to compare all the main travel insurance providers in one place, and ensure you’ll be covered for any unforeseen circumstances.
5. Eat before you leave – and pack snacks!
Airport food and restaurants tend to be more expensive, so it’s a good idea to have a good meal before you go (especially with hungry kids in tow). Remember you can take your own snacks to the airport too.
Although you won’t be able to take any drinks or liquids through security, you can take your own drinks and have them before you head for the departure lounge. Many airports also have public water fountains so keep your empty bottles and fill them up for free.
6. Be prepared for security
There’s nothing worse than cutting it fine with your flight time and waiting impatiently to get through security – only to see the person in front of you being made to unpack their whole bag! Some airports like Manchester and Bristol have ‘fast-track’ security lanes but they charge up to £4 per person for the privilege. So leave plenty of time to get through security, and bring your own re-sealable transparent bags for liquids, as some airports charge up to £1 a bag.
7. Avoid getting your travel money at the airport
Don’t exchange your money at the airport – the bureau de change knows you’re a captive audience and so their rates are terrible. You can easily find yourself paying £50 or more extra at the airport bureau de change than if you’d got your money in advance by ordering it in advance online or on the high street.
8. Save webpages before you go
Unfortunately, most airports still charge for WiFi – so if you’re planning to get a bit of work done while you’re waiting for your flight, why not save any web pages you need in advance – then you can view them at your leisure offline without paying a penny.
9. Don’t go over your luggage allowance
If you’re just taking hand luggage, make sure you don’t go over the allowed limits, as you’ll be charged extra. (Weigh your luggage before you go if you’re in any doubt). For tips on how to pack like a pro and make the most of your suitcase, see the short video below!
10. Be careful at duty-free
While it’s true you can get some good deals at duty-free, some duty-free shops aren’t as competitive as you might think. What’s more, how good the deal is will also depend on what the exchange rate is at that point in time.
If you’re planning on buying something expensive – like spirits, jewellery or gadgets – make sure you research what the going rate is online and on the high street first. Don’t just blindly trust that duty-free will automatically be cheaper because that’s not always the case.