Avoid Airport Cash Traps

by Elizabeth Blair

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Save Money on Your Next Vacation

On the Road Again

Regardless of whether you are on a day trip or a long vacation, the airport can take quite a large chunk of change during your trip. In addition to choosing coach over first class or long-term parking rather than short-term parking, there are many other ways to avoid spending unnecessary money during your travels. Since it is requested that travelers arrive earlier than ever for their flights, the only thing left to do after checking-in and going through security is to spend money. A few dollars are spent for coffee and a cinnamon bun, and a few more dollars are spent for a magazine or book. When you tally up your receipts, you will realize how easily cash slips through your fingers during your short time at the airport.

Beware, though, airport traps fall into more than just the refreshments and reading category. Spending excess money at an airport can be because of sudden urges (the scent of cinnamon buns), emergency spending (pants button popping off), or simply being unprepared (forgetting deodorant). With a simple "checklist" to run over before arriving at the airport, you will be amazed at how much cash you can save, especially if you are a frequent flyer.

Here are ten airport cash traps that you can be aware of and avoid getting caught in.

  1. Ensure you bring the necessary medications. Flying can cause a number of health problems from airsickness or sinus problems to the common headache. Therefore, include in your packing aspirin, nose-spray, sinus and allergy medicine, antacid, and airsickness medication.
  2. Bring your own reading material. Flying is a great time to read those magazines you subscribe to and rarely have time to look at. If you already pay for a newspaper at home, bring it along. If you are staying in a hotel keep in mind that a complimentary copy can often be found in the hotel lobby.
  3. Pack a snack. Nuts, nutrition bars, fruit or vegetables are great travel foods. In addition to saving money, by bringing your own snacks, you'll be sure to have snacks you enjoy. Also, you'll be giving yourself a chance to eat healthier choices.
  4. Double up on your toiletries. If you travel often, it is a great idea to buy two of each toiletry so that you have one for your travel bag and one for home. That way you will never leave something behind and find yourself in the predicament of having to pay full price for a travel-sized item of toothpaste, deodorant, razor, shampoo, conditioner, and hairspray.
  5. Come cash ready. Have you ever used a generic automatic teller machine or another bank's ATM? The fees are ridiculous and add up quickly. Even if your bank offers ATMs at airports, the chances are pretty slim that both your arrival and departure airports both have your bank's ATM. So stock up on cash or cash a check at your hotel and save a few bucks.
  6. An emergency pack is another "must have." Be sure to include items such as a travel sewing kit, shoeshine, stain remover cloths, band aides, tissue, lotion, or anything else you have experienced needing in the past while on the road.
  7. If you listen to your CD player or play a hand held video game while flying, make sure your batteries are either new or bring backups.
  8. Even if you own a cell phone, having a back up calling card is quite convenient in the event your phone has a bad signal or your cell phone battery dies. In addition, the price per minute on a wholesale card from places such as Sam's or Costco offers huge savings compared to using a credit card or calling collect.
  9. Keep an eye out through your entire visit for souvenirs. You'll find a better variety and more personal gifts. Don't wait until you are only minutes from catching your flight home to buy surprises for friends and family.

Elizabeth Blair is a freelance writer and flight attendant. You can contact her at elblair99 @yahoo.com.

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