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How to Save money at the airport - baby looking at plane

How to Save Money at the Airport!

March 27, 2023

With the school holidays just around the corner, we looked at ways to save money whilst travelling through the airport. Let’s face it, that journey can be an expensive one if you don’t plan carefully! Here are some top tips on how to save money at the airport this Easter. 

Avoid changing currency in the airport

If you are looking to save money on your currency, avoid changing it at the airport at all costs. The exchange rate will work out significantly more expensive for anyone leaving it until the last minute to buy their euros, dollars or lira within the terminal buildings. In fact, airport exchange rates and fees can work out costing you up to 15% more than when exchanging money outside of the airport. 

There will be ATM machines in the airport that will allow you to withdraw money, but be mindful that you will pay an exchange rate as well as being charged an additional fee from your bank for exchanging money. It pays to be organised and order your currency exchanged either through an online service, or on your local high street before arriving at the departure lounge.

Prepaid travel currency cards and banks like Monzo are an ideal way to avoid having to spend additional money on exchanging currency at the airport.  

Be mindful of baggage allowances and fees

One of the biggest financial stings at the airport are additional baggage charges. Most airlines are strict when it comes to enforcing their baggage allowance policies. If you have gone over your agreed baggage allowance, or have brought more bags than agreed in your booking confirmation, many airlines will charge you a significant fee to check these additional items onto your flight . 

When booking your flights, ensure you are aware of your allowed baggage, and consider upping your allowance for an additional fee if you feel it may not be adequate. Although this will incur an additional cost on your booking, it will work out much cheaper than paying this at the airport at the request of the airline operator.  

Decant your liquids

If you are flying with hand luggage only to cut down your travel costs even further, be mindful that your carry-on liquids are still limited to 100ml bottles. Many people fall into the trap of purchasing miniature bottles that fit within the allowance. However, miniatures are expensive, and purchasing several of these 100ml bottles can actually work out to be more expensive than purchasing your standard-sized shampoo and shower gel. 

Rather than paying high prices for miniature toiletries before heading to security, or paying expensive airport departure lounge prices, cut costs by decanting your liquids into small, see-through plastic bottles before you leave home. An empty plastic bottle travel set can be purchased from high street retailers such as Amazon, for as little as £5.

Bring packed lunches

When it comes to dining in the airport, this can work out extremely expensive, especially if you are travelling as a family with lots of healthy appetites. Typically, airport food works out to be approximately 10-15% more expensive than food at high-street restaurants. Preparing packed lunches to consume at the airport is an ideal way to avoid the costs of purchasing food and drink in the airport, or once you’re on the plane. 

You are able to take most solid foods through airport security, but be mindful that solid foods can obstruct the X-ray machines during security checks. If you are bringing solid foods in your hand luggage, many airports recommend removing them from your bag before the X-ray machines or allowing extra time, as it may mean that your bag will also require a manual search.

Pack empty water bottles in your hand luggage

Although you are able to bring food through airport security, water bottles over 100ml will not be allowed through. Avoid having to purchase more expensive bottled water in the airport by bringing your own empty water bottles. These can then be filled with water from the free refill stations once you have gone through airport security. 

 Book the airport lounge

If you are planning on purchasing food and drinks in the airport, and are travelling as a group, booking the airport lounge can surprisingly work out cheaper overall. For example, the airport lounge at Manchester Airport can be booked for £44.99 per guest, and will give you access to food, complimentary alcoholic beverages, and unlimited hot and cold soft drinks. 

Mum and boys at airport

Pre book your airport parking

As with booking your flights, airport parking works out cheaper when you book in advance. As well as saving you money, pre-booking your parking will also avoid the stress of paying upon arrival at the airport, and will ensure there is adequate space during peak travel  times, such as the Easter school holidays.  

Avoid drop off fees

If you are getting dropped off via car, you should be mindful of airport drop off fees. Many airports will specify how long the vehicle taking you to the airport is allowed to spend in the designated drop off areas, and is usually limited to just a few minutes. If you do overstay, this can result in a charge upwards of £25.

Travel via public transport

If you want to avoid spending money on drop-off fees, taxis, or airport parking, opt for travelling to the airport via public transport as an alternative. The majority of airports are well connected to train, bus, underground, and tram routes and can work out significantly cheaper, depending on where you are travelling from. If you are travelling as part of a group, a group train ticket booking will work out cheaper and remove the complication of travellers having to purchase their own individual tickets. 

Groups of 3–9 adults travelling together can get ⅓ off the price of off-peak tickets, which is something to consider, provided your flight times align with off-peak train times. The majority of train companies will provide an option to book group tickets at a discounted rate. 

 Shop for deals in the airport

If you do have disposable cash, many travellers are keen to shop for deals and discounts in the airport duty-free shops. However, it is always advisable to be mindful of whether you are actually getting a good deal or not. Take the time to research the RRP of products in duty-free to ensure whether you are actually getting a deal before purchasing. Try to plan any duty-free purchases ahead of your travels rather than making impulse purchases when you arrive at the airport. But be sure to avoid purchasing more than your allowance, as your purchases will be confiscated. 

We hope that these top tips from Sam at Deal.Town help save money at the airport, so that you can buy more ice-cream when you reach your destination!

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