If you’ve ever flown anywhere on a commercial flight, you know that traveling costs add up quickly. The seemingly simple act of taking a flight is rife with add-ons, fees, and extra expenses. If you aren’t careful, your little $250 excursion can easily turn into a $500 trip. But fear not! By keeping these 7 things in mind the next time you fly, you’ll avoid the extra costs and stick to your budget so you can splurge at your destination!
- Water – ALWAYS bring a water bottle.
We’ve all been in the position of getting thirsty while at the airport or on a plane. But TSA regulations don’t allow you to bring fluids through the security checkpoint, and once you’re through, buying bottled water can cost $5 or more! The solution: an empty water bottle. Once you’re through the security checkpoint with your empty bottle, fill up at the nearest water fountain and you’re good to go! It will save you money, and keep you way more hydrated than those tiny cups they give you on the flight. See water bottle deals here.
- Pack light. Most people overpack, and that can be a costly mistake. A single checked bag will cost you $50 on many airlines, and some airlines like Frontier, Spirit, and United charge extra for a ticket that includes a carry-on (economy tickets only allow a personal item). Spending time planning your packing strategy could save you money (and time, and stress) in the long run. For a weekend trip, keep it simple with a carry-on or backpack, and for those longer adventures, consider that nobody at your destination will probably know or care that you wore the same jeans 2 days in a row. Check out luggage and bag deals here.
- Phone – Traveling internationally and need a SIM card for your phone at your destination? Buying a travel SIM card in advance could save you quite a bit on your trip. Many cell phone plans offer international roaming, but it often comes at a price of $10/day or so. Comparatively, depending on your destination, you can get a travel SIM for just a couple of dollars per gigabyte. The downside to pre-purchasing a travel SIM card is that they are typically limited to data-only; getting a travel SIM that includes local calling gets a bit trickier, and is typically more expensive. If you need to make local calls, identify the best network at your destination, and contact the carrier for pricing. Sometimes, buying a SIM duty-free at the airport can save you money, as is the case in New Zealand (A Spark Travel SIM cost me $42 NZD at duty free and $49 NZD outside the airport).
- Travel Deals – Tired of switching between Expedia, Booking, and just plain searching Google to find travel deals? The easiest way to discover the best travel deals is by using Slickdeals. Running a search for your destination, Slickdeals can cut through all of the hassle, saving you time and effort when looking for the best deal on your trip. Set a Deal Alert to be notified when the best deal pops up for your desired destination. But even better, just browse the latest (and biggest!) travel deals on the Slickdeals Travel Page where Slickdeals community members are always sharing the best of the best travel deals on the internet. So if you’re willing to travel wherever the best deal takes you, you can save big bucks on your vacation. Just check the Travel category on Slickdeals often (like…everyday), because a lot of these deals come and go quickly!
- Rideshare – Need an Uber? Have them pick you up OUTSIDE the airport grounds, if possible. Most airports have agreements with the rideshare companies that increase fare prices that originate at the airport. I kid you not, walking to the In-N-Out Burger just outside LAX saved me $20 on my last trip. (For Angelinos who are curious, I took the LAX-it shuttle to the rideshare pickup lot, then did a 7 minute walk from there.) Of course, you’ll want to check this independently at your destination, but it’s easy to change your pickup point and could save you big.
- Parking – Anyone who’s been to LAX knows of the massive airport city built around it, made up of towering hotels. What you may not realize is a lot of these hotels have parking structures and offer extended parking for locals, as well as free shuttles to and from the airport. And this isn’t unique to Los Angeles; many airports in the US have locally owned carparks nearby that could save you upwards of $20 a day when compared to airport parking.
- Avoid Duty-Free – Perusing the duty-free shop for local delicacies may seem like a smart move, but typically any savings you would get from the lack of taxes are diminished by inflated airport prices. Save yourself some money by planning ahead before your departure and buying your goods at cheaper local shops, but note that there may be restrictions on traveling with certain goods, so you may need to ship them home or pack them in your checked baggage.
These simple, small changes can really ADD UP, so pick a few of these to add to your travel plans and save some bucks to spend on the things you’ll really enjoy on your trip.
Don’t forget to check Slickdeals every day for the best travel deals online. And remember, if you paid full price, you weren’t really trying!