With the summer holidays in full swing, many of us will be looking forward to going abroad for a fortnight of sun, sea and sand. With your suitcases packed and the family in tow, your first stop will undoubtedly be the airport to catch your flight and head off to sunnier climes. Feeling in the holiday mood, it is all too easy to get carried away as you wait for your flight and can easily overspend in the airport shops and restaurants. In fact, according to a survey of Gatwick frequent flyers, 88% admit to spending too much and eating into their holiday cash before they even reach their destination.
I have been challenged by purpleparking.com to come up with some tips to save cash at the airport. They have an excellent airport money saving advice hub on their website, with lots of ideas to avoid wasting your hard earned pennies unnecessarily, such as pre-booking your car parking before you travel.
So here are a few of my own ideas to save money when travelling with the family:
- Take something to entertain the little ones. Pack their Nintendo DS or get some fun free apps for your phone or tablet to keep them occupied. Bringing a paperback from home is a good idea for older kids. Pop a few pound shop toys in your bag to surprise the little ones. Nothing works out more expensive than a child who is bored when surrounded by shops! If they are fed up you may find yourself buying expensive magazines, comics, books and toys to distract them.
- Make sure you have a good meal before going to the airport. Food and drink is always overpriced at airports. Kids with full tummies are much happier too and less likely to demand expensive fast food at the airport!
- Pack your own healthy snacks and take a refillable drinks bottle with you in your hand luggage. If you do get peckish, you can avoid the over inflated prices by bringing your own food and filling the bottle with drinking water at the terminal. Having the refillable bottle is also a great asset whilst abroad as you can fill it up with juice from the hotel's breakfast buffet to drink later.
- Don't be seduced by the goods in the Duty Free shops. Nowadays, a lot of the things in the airport shops are not much cheaper than items sourced online or found in supermarket promotions. Unless there is something that you really want and plan to buy in advance, avoid those impulse purchases. In fact avoid the shops altogether to avoid the temptation if you are that way inclined.
- Avoid last minute shopping. It might seem like a good idea, picking up essentials at the airport, but if you plan ahead and take advantage of special offers in supermarkets and on the high street, you will save money and avoid the stress.
- Don't forget sun tan lotion...you'll pay much more at the airport than you would in a BOGOF offer in town. So keep an eye out for bargains in the weeks leading up to the big day!
- Don't get foreign currency at the airport. Plan ahead and shop around for the best exchange rate before you travel. There are often special offers at this time of year.
- Don't buy holiday souvenirs from airports. There will be plenty of lovely things to buy at your destination and they will be much cheaper too. Do you really need that 'I Love London' T-Shirt??
- Pack some emergency supplies such as paracetamol, travel sickness tablets, tissues and plasters in your hand luggage. That way, if there is a problem you will have it covered without having to spend over the odds.
- Carry a small amount of cash with you, and don't spend more than that amount. Don't get out the credit card! This makes it easier to resist buying things you don't need. Just remember that the money you don't spend now, will be able to buy you a Pina Colada or an ice cream on the beach later!
I hope everyone's travels are safe and happy and on budget!!
How to you save money on your holidays?
This post was written by me in association with Purple Parking.