Money-Saving Strategies From Other Places That Work For Airports Too

As much as we might not want to admit it, many of us enjoy the whole process of flying. Maybe it’s the thrill of the hunt when exploring a complex matrix of flights, airlines and prices. Perhaps exercising the survival skills that find power for electronic devices we bring along satisfies a primitive need. Whatever the reason, we like to fly. Some travelers like to fly so much that we spend more than we need to. A good battle plan combined with budgetary prowess learned from other activities can go a long way.

Eat before arriving
Frugal grocery store shoppers know that arriving hungry can lead to impulse buying, and most don’t even eat what they select until later. Arriving at the airport famished, maybe a bit earlier than normal to make up for sequester-induced lines, has trouble written all over it. Airport food courts are grounds for impulse buys. Forty pounds ago, I used that as an excuse to overdose on food I would have had serious guilt issues with if consumed elsewhere. A decent airport app like FlySmart can offer healthy suggestions.Bring an empty water bottle
Heading out on a hike, camping or just the drive to work, eco- and budget-friendly travelers bring a reusable water bottle. Head to the airport and many forget or don’t know that the same reusable bottle will indeed make it through the security screening process. In most cases, the $4 bottle of water at the conveniently located kiosk by the boarding gate costs more than a whole bunch of reusable water bottles. Concerned about the taste of that tap water found after screening? Go crazy and buy a self-filtering water bottle.

Let an expert help
This could be the “insert name of travel agent here” part of the story and, for many, that might be a good idea. Those comfortable with using an attorney for legal matters, an accountant for taxes or even a good mechanic for auto repairs could easily buy into that notion. For air travel, many of the sources we feature here like AirFareWatchdog, Kayak and others can go a long way to maximizing savings on airline fares – obviously a big ticket item in the whole scheme of things. Better yet, ask a local travel blogger based out of your hometown airport. Odds are they have it down to a science.

Leave time for the satellite lot
When going to a concert, major sporting event or local convention center, penny-wise drivers park remotely, realizing that convenience equals higher prices. Parking close to the terminal at almost any airport will cost dearly compared to the price of a secure, remote lot. AirportParking boasts savings of up to 70% off the price of terminal parking, and allows reservations and payment in advance. In Orlando, for example, terminal parking is $10 per day; remote parking from a number of lots is less than half the price.

The whole idea of applying money-saving strategies learned from other activities to air travel comes with a bonus too. We’re already comfortable with the process so applying does not require learning a new skill or forging a new path where no one has gone before.

Looking for some other money-saving ideas to use when at the airport? Check this video:

[Photo credit – Flickr user Grant Wickes]

Still traveling on $5-a-day budget, but switch dollars for euros

Back in September of 2005, Adrienne wrote about Leon Logothetis, the ultimate frugal traveler who travels on $5 a day and the kindness of strangers for his show Amazing Adventures of a Nobody. Three and a half years later, he’s still at it, but he traded the $5 dollars for 5 euros for his journey from Paris to Moscow.

In this New York Times Q & A article, Logothetis, talks about his experiences and offers tips.

If reading that it’s possible to travel on just $5 a day gets you feeling excited and ready to sling on a backpack, consider Logothetis’s answer to what you can do on such a modest amount.


At least you can’t without help. Logothetis recounts how he has been given places to stay, been fed and offered rides. He’s found Americans particularly generous.

One tip he has for anyone who is relying on others is to not be upset if someone says “no.”

Reading about Leon’s experiences reminded me of my trip to Mali with a Peace Corps friend. We had very little money and wanted to budget most of our cash for the journey to Timbuktu. One night in Mopti, we slept at a guest house on a sheet covered mattress out on the balcony. Even that cost $1.50 or so, and that was years ago. I remember shining my flashlight of the bathroom, just big enough for the toilet, in order to get the roaches to scurry away. There was a certain thrill from seeing just how little we could spend and how much frugality we could stand. It was kind of fun in a sick sort of way.

The new season of Amazing Adventures of a Nobody airs on Fox Reality Channel starting on January 25.