6 Things You Should (and Shouldn’t) Buy at the Airport
Nearly two million Americans fly domestically every day in the U.S. Some are even frequent flyers who pass through airports several times a month. Whether you are a routine jet-setter or an occasional flyer, it’s always a good idea to make careful preparations before leaving for your trip.
You will want to start by scheduling drop-off and pickup to and from your destination with a shuttle or car service. Find out if any other services are offered, like travel perks or city tours, and add them to your itinerary.
There are also a few necessities you will want to pack in your travel bag. Some flights are long, and you may occasionally experience layovers, delays, or canceled flights, especially around the holidays. You will want to make sure you have a pair of earbuds or headphones and a travel charger for your electronic devices.
When it comes to carry-on items, there are a few things you should wait to buy at the airport. On the contrary, there are also some things you should never buy at the airport (unless absolutely necessary). Let’s look at some of the essentials.
Food – You will probably get hungry at some point during your travel. And it will probably hit you when you are already inside the airport terminal. It is best to pack snacks so you aren’t spending all of your travel money on overpriced airport food. Dried fruit or protein bars are great, easy-to-carry options that will keep you going until you reach your destination. Believe it or not, most foods are permitted to pass through airport security, so you shouldn’t run into any problems.
If you enjoy eating at the airport, don’t go for the big-name chain restaurants you can get anywhere. Take the opportunity to try a local cuisine or customary treat, especially if you’re traveling abroad.
Bottled Water – TSA does not permit you to bring bottled water through airport security. If you have your heart set on those sealed Dasani and Evian bottles, you’ll need to purchase them inside the airport after you pass through security.
If you don’t mind tap water, consider carrying a travel-safe canteen and filling it at the fountain when you get thirsty.
Souvenirs – It’s a great idea to pick up souvenirs at the airport; just don’t break the bank. Be mindful of the selectiveness of the items. If it’s a general knick-knack you could pick up at any store in the city you are visiting, be prepared to pay upwards of 60% more for it at the airport.
Try to stick with unique items that capture the spirit of the place you are visiting. The recipient (even if it’s for you) will appreciate it more if it is (or seems) authentic.
Duty-Free Items – There is a bit of a debate about whether or not you are getting a good deal on alcohol at duty-free. Lots of people like to buy alcohol and tobacco tax-free at the airport.
However, while you think you are saving big sans sales tax, the retail price has actually been marked up. So you often end up paying more than you would in a local liquor store even with the tax break.
If you really want savings and deals at duty-free, buy makeup/skincare items. Often times, they can be discounted up to 50%.
Travel Pillow – Somewhere during the last decade, travel pillows became absolutely necessary for a flight of any duration. Take a look around any airport or flight and you see people walking around, sitting, or sleeping while wearing a neck pillow.
If your flight will be long, a travel pillow is a must-have, so make sure you pack it in your travel bag. With so many great options available on the market, it’s best to do your research beforehand to ensure you end up with a model that has all the features you’re looking for, such as zippered side pouches or seat straps. Otherwise, you’ll still be able to find some great (albeit limited) options at the airport.
Reading Material – Buying books at the airport can actually be a great idea. After all, there’s nothing better than a good book on a long flight. But what happens when you finish it and you still have several hours of travel? You find a bookstore that participates in the “Read and Return” Program and buy another best-seller.
Simply buy a book, read it, and then return it to an airport bookstore that participates in the program, even if it isn’t the same store where you bought it. Just be sure to hang on to your receipt. You’ll never run out of in-flight reading material again.
Planning Ahead Can Save You Time and Money
Planning and preparation are key when you are taking a trip—especially a long trip. But sometimes we forget things. It happens to the best of us. It’s great that we can pick up a forgotten item at the airport so we don’t have to go without. But don’t overspend on something you don’t need.
What are some things you like to have in your travel bag?
About the Author:
Katie Tejada (McDaniel) is a writer, editor, and travel enthusiast. With a love for adventure and the great outdoors, she spends much of her time writing outside.