Whether you’re checking in, grabbing a quick bite before a flight or need to pick up some toothpaste before your break, the airport is an expensive place.
But you don’t have to fork out big bucks before a holiday, provided you know the common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Travel experts at Escape recently put together a list of the sneaky airport costs, and revealed how you can avoid them to save hundreds of dollars.
So what are they?
Exchanging currency in the competitive city venues can get you a better rate than the airports (stock image)
Don’t exchange currency at the airport
While many people might wait for the best possible exchange rate to swing in their favour, short of a global political shift prices are likely not to change all that much.
Where you are more likely to get the best value for money is by heading to the highly competitive vendors within the city that will generally give you the best price if you head in a few weeks before your trip.
Even if you are not able to make it into the city it is best you do not exchange your cash at the airport as they will usually offer the worst deals.
The Escape experts recommended you avoid this.
Avoid duty-free shops
While duty-free shops can be seen as a good source for bargains, often this isn’t always the reality.
Examples of Toblerone chocolate listed for $17 at a duty-free stores can be found at the supermarket further down the road for just $10 with other confectioneries following a similar pattern.
Wine is another item that is marked up over local pricing, however there are still some savings to be made on cosmetics and perfumes.
Duty free stores can often charge outrageous amounts for simple chocolates while cafes have been know to slug people as much as $9.17 for water or$17 for a sandwich
Don’t get food at the airport
This might seem like a no brainer to anyone that has walked past an airport, but the cost of forgetting your lunch is a serious cost and needs to be taken into consideration when planning your trip.
A bottle of Pump water was previously reported to be priced at $9.17 in Sydney Airport, while a 750ml bottle could be purchased from your local Woolworths for just $2.17.
Food can also be outrageously priced with a roast beef sandwich slugging one hungry passenger a staggering $17, reported News.com.
Other commonly cheap foods such as the croissant can cost around $11.90 at the internal cafes in the airport, but they are only around $5 normally.
It is recommended you have a good meal before you arrive at the airport and bring small snacks along with you.
Make sure you take into account any possible restrictions with regard to food and drink.
Think about transportation
It’s worth thinking about getting to and from the airport when travelling, as different airports have different shuttle bus systems.
Booking a shuttle bus is on option that is often found to be cheaper costing around $40 from the airport to the city in places like New York while a cab will set you back $76 plus toll charges.
The Escape experts recommend you do your research – and always book ahead to save money.
Travel experts found that if you book your hire car sooner you could save up to 15 per cent
Book car hire ahead
When booking a last minute flight or even a long-planned trip it is important to book a hire car as soon as you’ve paid for your flights and accommodation.
Travel Money Oz found that if you book sooner you could save up to 15 per cent.
‘Car hire companies set their prices based on supply and demand, and in order to secure as many rentals as possible, they provide deals to customers who book early,’ their expert said.
In one example the company found they could book a hire car for a week at $47 when done in advance compared to $315 if doing so when you arrive.
If you need to park you car at the airport it pays to book in advance through deals available before your trip
Consider airport parking
One known major cost to avoid is airport parking – especially if you need to park their car for a long period of time.
If you absolutely need to park you car at the airport, then book in advance.
Instead of being in denial and hoping that it all fits, booking in advance can save you up to 50 per cent compared to the excess baggage charges
Ditch the extra baggage charges
Holiday makers often come back with a few extra items and this can be enough to set your baggage over the 15 or 20 kilogram weight limit.
Instead of being in denial and hoping that it all fits, booking in advance can save you some big dollars.
Most airlines allow you to book extra baggage with a Jetstar international flights charging $57 for an extra 15 kilograms upfront but slugging you $100 if you arrive at the airport with the unexpected baggage.
What are the three best websites to book your flights?
The top three up lesser known sites for booking fares have been attracting attention online and they are best used in collaboration with each other.
One of the greatest tips of all is marrying up ‘hacker fares’ – that is curating a round-trip options made up of one-way flights from two different airlines.
Business insider recommended starting with Google Flights because it’s a fast, no-fuss way of securing cheap flights during the season you’re most likely to book.
It also offers ‘date tips’ where, if you’re willing to change some of your time constraints, you could save up to $100 extra.
Once you’ve had a look there it’s time to log onto Kayak.com.au – particularly if you’re used to finding ‘hacker fares’ (stock image)
Once you’ve had a look on Google Flight it’s time to log on to Kayak.com.au – particularly if you’re used to finding those ‘hacker fares’.
Make sure you set up ‘price alerts’ on the website so they can send you an email with details for your prospective trip – and if the price of the fare increases or decreases.
While Kayak and Google Flights should see you walk away with a good deal, if you want to treat your travelling with a little more spontaneity you could try DealRay.
‘DealRay sends you instant SMS alerts about the best available deals on flights every day or two.
‘The only catch is that you have to be willing to travel anywhere in the world, since the service doesn’t let you track flights to specific destinations,’ Business Insider wrote on their website.
According to DealRay’s website, its members save $428 per deal on average.