AIRPORTS DON’T SELL ANYTHING YOU ACTUALLY NEED

Sadly, fair airport pricing is about as rare as extra leg room. Make a few poor purchases and your expenses could rise higher than an airplane at 30,000 feet.

“If you think about OR Tambo, JKA, King Mswati III, Banjul International, Antananarivo or Bole International, they are all kind of hubs— international transit hubs, whereby the impression being given is that airline travel is for the privileged few”. For example take the issue of WIFI, Although many airports offer free Wi-Fi, some hubs are still firmly entrenched in the dark ages, charging flyers to search the Web while waiting to depart. I later learnt a trick from frequent flyers that before you enter your credit card number, see if you can get connectivity for free. Some ways to do this: Sit near the entrance of an elite flyer’s lounge or in an airport hotel lobby, both of which might offer free Wi-Fi that’s not password protected.

Flying is expensive enough as it is without giving into pre-flight temptations. According to experts, your time waiting at the airport can quickly tack on extra costs to your trip if you spend money on certain things without thinking it through.

Duty Free. This word always sends people in a frenzy and somehow makes people take out their credit cards upon hearing duty free. It may be possible to snag a good duty-free deal once in a while, depending on your airport. But it’s important to know that duty-free in no way ensures a good buy. Most blogs and travel websites always advise that “Duty-free is almost never a deal for the casual shopper out to get a bargain. Once regarded as one of the redeeming features of a delayed flight, duty-free shopping has experienced a fall from grace in recent years, with more and more consumers questioning whether they are actually saving money on purchases of goods such as perfume, cigarettes and alcohol.

One of the most useless things we keep buying in airports is bottled water. It’s a no-brainer that passengers should bring a refillable bottle from home. Stop buying water bottles in your terminal at £3 each and invest in a Vapur Reflex reusable plastic bottle, which is foldable, for packing into your hand luggage. Fill it up at a water fountain after you’ve gone through airport security. It’ll pay for itself after just a few uses.

Foreign Currency: Since foreign exchange desks in airports often hit travelers with sky-high transaction fees, the airport is probably not the best place to exchange your money. It sure is convenient, so if you’re willing to pay the price for that, so be it. A good strategy is to get foreign currency by taking out money at an ATM in your destination; this way, you’ll likely get the best interbank exchange rate, which is usually much better than rates offered at airport exchange counters. Contact your bank before your trip for more information on any possible foreign transaction fees.

Neck Pillows. Trapped in their terminals, travelers are at the mercy of anti-consumer pricing schemes, especially when it comes to particularly convenient travel products like neck pillows. Order your neck pillow online ahead of time, and keep an eye out for special offers and sales. 

Eletronics: If you’ve decided you can pass up the airport Wi-Fi, then perhaps you’ll be open to passing up the opportunity to impulse-purchase electronics from those overpriced airport kiosks, even those little items like chargers and headsets you may have forgot to pack. “Electronics purchased at the airport will cost you significantly more than if you had bought them ahead of time,”. Most blogs notes that specifically headphones tend to be ridiculously overpriced at the airport. “If you must buy them, whether for an important call or just to survive a six-hour flight, you’ll get prices closest to retail at those Best Buy kiosks.”

Food: It’s always a good idea to eat a good meal before you fly to avoid getting sick on a plane, but whatever you do, don’t buy your food in the airport. “It’s almost universally overpriced, not very tasty, not very good for you, or some combination of the three,” . Besides, most travelers eat at the airport solely as a way to kill time, and not because they’re actually hungry.

Souvenirs: Whatever you do, don’t buy souvenirs at the airport. “There is an astronomical markup on souvenirs at the airport,”. So plan ahead, and purchase souvenirs at your destination, rather than while in transit.

Books: Your brain needs you to read, and there are so many good books you can read in a day. But don’t wait until you get to the airport to think of this! “Grab a book from your bookshelf and bring it with you, cost-free,” . Otherwise you may be paying that extra hike-up charge to be entertained for a short period of time. Check online before buying it, at an airport.

Perfumes: That perfume they’re selling at the duty-free shop in the airport could very well be a fake, according to the blog, Duty-Free Buzz. It’s not just at the airport that you’ll find counterfeit perfume, but at the airport, there’s a greater chance that the retailer from whom you’re buying it has no idea if he’s selling a counterfeit version. So, in other words, the duty-free shop may be selling what it believes to be the real deal, but it’s not. You’re far better off buying perfume directly from its manufacturer or in a department store that you trust. Do you really need expensive perfume?

Alcohol: “Many people stop at duty-free stores because of the common misconception that they will save a fortune on taxes,” points out Veronica Thor, a consumer and shopping expert and blogger. “However, the reality is that the small tax savings doesn’t make up for the markup in prices. And this is particularly true when it comes to alcohol.”

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