The airport is the first stop on our trip that we start spending money when we leave the house on our next adventure. Recently it has gotten ridiculous. I’m not talking about plane tickets, baggage fees, hotels and rental cars. Those are already booked, if not paid for by this point, or at least mentally paid for from our budget. I’m talking about those little things that add up like water, coffee and parking.
Park farther away
The farther you park from the airport, the cheaper it will be, or at least that is the general rule of thumb. I’ve found parking for $8 a day that adds about 10 minutes to my airport commute time. For a two-week trip that extra time is well worth it over the airport parking lot and lots next to the airport that can be $12+ per day.
Ask a friend for a ride
If you really want to save some cash, ask a friend for a ride. Be kind and avoid using your friends for that 6am flight and midnight arrival time, but if you get in at eight on a weeknight or leave at ten on a weekend morning, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Offer to buy coffee for the ride down, or pay for the gas. This can save you oodles in airport parking fees.
Snacks and meals is where my family gets in trouble. We get to the airport early. Everyone is hungry. Mom needs coffee stat! That cappuccino turns into a cappuccino, croissant and muffin for the kids. Of course we will need to buy some water for the flight incase the kids get thirsty, and since most of our flights are over five hours, we will have to buy snacks for everyone during the flight. This can really add up. Next thing I know I’ve spent over $50 on food and we haven’t even arrived at our destination!
Pack snack boxes, fruit and veggie trays, sandwiches, crackers and other favorites that are healthy and high in protein so they keep everyone full. Spending $10 at the grocery store so everyone is well fed will save you a bundle while you are en route.
Bring water bottles
Everyone complains about the “no liquids over 3 oz” rule when flying. I get most annoyed because it means I have to buy a $3 bottle of water for my flight. What I should be doing is packing a water bottle for the boys and me to fill up at a water fountain. This saves us money and the environment. Double win! Plus, as we found out on a recent flight, you never know what magic can be found in an airport water fountain (see 15 second video below).
Set a minimum spending budget
Ten dollars is all you need to get mom and dad a cup of coffee. You can buy magazines, books and snacks cheaper outside of the airport. Bring a $10 bill with you so you do not overspend. Once it is gone, no more treats.