While I’m an advocate for budget traveling and shaving off costs whenever and wherever you can, recently I ran into this rather practical traveling problem. Say, I saved $200 dollars by not flying direct, but then multiple layovers and hours at the airport tend to turn even the most frugal of us into bleeding wallets. So did I really save that $200 like I thought I did?
There are a few things to consider when you’re traveling.
1. If you can, shorten the trip for the purposes of saving on travel insurance: in this case, time = money, the more time you spend outside of your home country the higher the cost of insurance, so factor that in when you’re doing long layover, multiple connection flights.
2. food, pack your own non-perishable food: This is so important! I had somehow forgotten that security checks do not like you when you bring ‘perishable’ food into after security and I was very recently reacquainted just how expensive things could be inside the airport… 10 dollars for a pre-packed sandwich at LAX, which contains two pieces of white bread and mystery meat drenched in sodium? Like, why are we getting prison food at airports? And then you also realize, to get out of the airport is too much of a hassle – so think ahead of time.
Solution: Try to eat before you go through security, or pack really bland non-perishables that don’t trigger and set off alarms at security, like granola or oatmeal. PS: you shouldn’t bring jam or gel type items…as I learned first hand at LAX, Nutella is not flight friendly.
2. EMPTY WATER BOTTLE: not full because you’d have to chuck them out at security and everything behind security cost an arm and a leg.
Solution: bring your own water bottle and make sure it’s empty. Airports usually have water fountains post-security checks. You can fill them up and bring it onto the plane and make sure you do, because planes are very very dry, people often start coughing at the end of a long-haul flight.
3. SIT TIGHT: say what? More sitting in the waiting area, wouldn’t it be great to stretch your legs before a flight? Yes and no. Yes you should move around and stretch before you’re crammed into a plane, but try to steer clear of anything that calls out to your wallet – the duty free might be ‘tax free’ but always ask yourself, do you really need it?
Solution: load your e-reader up with 100+ books, and have fun.
4. Comfort: if you’re skimping out on hotels to sleep in the airport to save $$$, of course, but be prepared for achy and possibly grumpy mood and a feeling that the time to board is never going to come.
Solution: bite the bullet and repeat, ‘this too shall pass’ while reading books on your e-reader. Because, it most likely will.
All in all, saving money requires tenacity and organization. If you don’t get it quite right the first times, take it as lesson well learned.