As if your airline tickets weren't expensive enough, the airport is absolutely terrible for your wallet. Hungry for a slice of pizza? That'll cost you $7.50. Want to bring your own drinks for the kids? Sorry, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) says that you can't bring more than a few ounces of liquid on the plane. (Airplane travel used to come with perks. Learn more in 7 Air Travel Perks That Used To Be Free.)

TUTORIAL: Budgeting Basics

While you wait for your flight, you're surrounded by cafes, magazines, souvenirs, and beautiful shops that are screaming your name. It's tough to resist, but you absolutely should - airport shopping is less than cost-effective. Here are six tips to help you save:

1. Don't Buy the Food
To the best extent possible, eat your meals before and after you're at the airport. Try to avoid snacking because at the airport, a $3.00 coffee cup will cost $5+, and a $3 slice of pizza will cost at least double. If you can, bring your own food. Make sure that it's non-liquid, and stay up to date with the TSA's safety regulations to make sure that food is okay. For snacks, you could bring nuts and crackers. You could also bring instant soups and cereals.

2. Bring Your Own Entertainment
When you're waiting for a flight, magazine and bookstores are incredibly tempting. Before you leave for a long trip, plane entertainment is usually at the bottom of your packing list, and then once you get to the airport, you're bored out of your mind. Avoid this dilemma, and remember to bring a few books and magazines for everyone. That way, you won't be wasting money at the magazine stand. If you have an iPad or tablet, put as many magazines as you can on the device. You'll be plenty entertained for your flight.

3. Don't Pay for WiFi
Especially if you're on vacation, take the opportunity to get unplugged. Your email can wait, or if you absolutely need to, check it on your smartphone. If you're a regular traveler with many airport options, consider visiting the airports with free WiFi. Unless you need the Internet to work, you should be able to forego Internet for the time being. (If you're out and about and need to be online, make sure you've checked out 7 Places To Find Free WiFi.)

4. Always, Always, Always Pack Lightly
Weigh your check-in bags at home to make sure that they fit within the weight restrictions. Otherwise, you may be surprised with a fee. Leave room in your bags and carry-ons for souvenirs and shopping. No matter where you're going, you never know, and you don't want to need to invest in a new bag. (Find out more ways to keep your travel costs low in Best Frequent Flyer Credit Cards For (Almost) Free Travel.)

5. Buy Souvenirs Somewhere Else
If you absolutely need to buy souvenirs on your trip, make sure that you take care of everything that you need before you go to the airport. Make a list of who needs what presents before you actually go on vacation, and make sure that you designate enough time for shopping. For small souvenirs, you may be able to find what you need at a local drugstore.

6. Bring an Empty Water Bottle
While you can't bring water, you can bring a bottle. Bring enough for the entire family to stay hydrated. If you're traveling in the United States, water from the drinking fountain is completely safe; however, you may want to do some research to avoid any risks when traveling abroad. Instead of buying pricey water bottles and drinks, stay hydrated for free.

The Bottom Line
Control your impulses and plan ahead stay as practical as possible when you visit the airport for your next trip. Airfare is expensive enough, so don't waste your money on more than you need.

Related Articles
  1. Budgeting

    6 Cost-Effective Tips for Raising Your First Child

    The excitement of welcoming your first child to your family shouldn't prevent you from making good cost-effective decisions.
  2. Budgeting

    5 Ways to Date on a Budget

    Dating on a budget doesn't have to be boring. Try these 5 tips to find the best dates on a budget.
  3. Budgeting

    7 Kids Items You Should Never Buy Used

    Buying secondhand items is a great way to save money, but these seven kids items should not be bought used.
  4. Investing

    10 New Apps That Help Budget For Expensive Cities

    From platforms for saving money to those that account for side jobs, mobile apps are changing spending habits and income generation in urban areas.
  5. Budgeting

    How Cooking At Home Can Save You Real Dough

    Cooking at home saves time and money but most importantly, it could even help lower future health costs.
  6. Personal Finance

    Money Matters on Campus: Attitudes & Aptitudes

    Financial trends among college students are a cause for concern, prompting a renewed emphasis on financial instruction.
  7. Home & Auto

    Why Housing Costs Shouldn't Exceed 30% of Your Budget

    Financial experts will argue that there’s no problem with allocating 50% of your net income to housing, but that barely leaves enough money for living comfortably. Reducing housing expenses to ...
  8. Investing Basics

    Tiny House Movement: Making Market Opportunities

    The tiny house movement throws all assumptions about household budgeting and mortgage management out the window, and creates new market segments too.
  9. Personal Finance

    Designer Luggage: Is It Worth the Money?

    You can spend anywhere from $35 to $3,500 on luggage. Is an expensive suitcase necessarily a better suitcase?
  10. Personal Finance

    10 Tips for Renting a Vacation Home on Airbnb

    Here's a list to make sure that you have a seamless vacation using Airbnb.
  1. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the range of deductibles offered with various health insurance plans?

    A wide range of possible deductibles are available with health insurance plans, starting as low as a few hundred dollars ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I know how much of my income should be discretionary?

    While there is no hard rule for how much of a person's income should be discretionary, Inc. magazine points out that it would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What proportion of my income should I put into my demand deposit account?

    Generally speaking, aim to keep between two months and six months worth of your fixed expenses in your demand deposit accounts. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do I use the rule of 72 to estimate compounding periods?

    The rule of 72 is best used to estimate compounding periods that are factors of two (2, 4, 12, 200 and so on). This is because ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How much risk is associated with subprime mortgages?

    A large amount of risk is associated with subprime mortgages. Since the mortgages are specifically for people who do not ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  2. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  3. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  4. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  5. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  6. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!