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Saving Money While Flying

June 30, 2011

I admit it.   Every time I go on a a flight (long or shorter), I want to buy a new book, buy delicious snacks, maybe some magazines, and definitely some water.  Except airports are like their own tiny countries where everything costs just a bit more than you’d expect – especially food!  I’m flying back to my home state for the long weekend, and I”m not looking forward to my evening of travel tomorrow.

Like pretty much anything, the best way to save is to be prepared.

Transportation:  The cheapest method is to get a friend to give you a ride if you can.  In L.A., that really is an annoying favor.  And if you ask, you’ll be asked in return.  We have used friends, Super Shuttles, taxi, airport parking (for short trips), as well as the local bus.  I highly recommend the local bus if you are coming back at a convenient time – so cheap!    For my trip, T will drop me off at work so he can have the car this weekend.  I haven’t figured out my plan to get to the airport from there, but I work within walking distance of an airport parking/shuttle, and rumor has it they will give you a lift for about $5.  Or I’ll just ask a coworker.   And I’ll just have T pick me up when I’m back.

Food:  The food choices are are rarely that appetizing or healthy anyway, so I”m planning on making a Trader Joe’s run after work to stock up on a few things.  I’m flying from dinner time until about 10 p.m. (California time), so I’ll need something packable yet substantial.

Water:  I think I’ll bring an (empty) water bottle.  Not just for the flight, but because I’m in the habit of drinking a lot of water.  Supposedly you can fill them at water fountains once you get through security.

Entertainment:  I usually spend most the flight listening to my iPod podcasts, but I still might pick up another book before I take off.  I’m still working on my Master and the Margarita book, but I don’t have anything for when I finish that.  I’ve been contemplating Crime and Punishment (at the suggestion of a reader), but I am quite sure I’d feel like way to much of a nerd bringing that to the lake (and I’m already almost certainly the biggest nerd in my entire extended family)…  so maybe I’ll look for something a bit lighter that I have on my list!

This is all pretty common sense stuff.  Plan ahead if you know you always want overpriced airport food!  Did I miss anything?  This all seems a little ridiculous given the insane cost of my flight this year!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Jess permalink
    June 30, 2011 7:22 am

    I can verify that you can fill up an empty water bottle after security! I always do that.

    • June 30, 2011 11:39 am

      Me too! I just pack my empty nalgene and fill it up at a water fountain. Been doing it since they restricted liquids and never had a problem.

  2. June 30, 2011 7:24 am

    What Chad & I used to do was catch the Metro, which was $1.25, and take it to the Imperial Highway/Aviation Blvd stop. From there, you can catch a shuttle to the airport for free with your train ticket. It might be a little bit of a walk to a Metro stop, but the price can’t be beat!

  3. June 30, 2011 1:02 pm

    Everytime I enter the airport I feel like I need to eat someting, drink something, and get a new book or magazine. I hate that feeling.

    I started getting books and audiobooks from the library before traveling.
    You can also bring drink mix packets if you like flavored water.

  4. July 1, 2011 9:00 pm

    Have a wonderful trip back home!

  5. July 3, 2011 6:01 pm

    Buy Anna Karenina that’ll get you around the world and back without having to buy anything else.

  6. July 4, 2011 8:33 pm

    Have you ever used BookMooch? I’ve gotten lots of good books this way.

  7. July 5, 2011 4:48 am

    Empty water bottles are a good way to make long flights bearable. You can take them through security, and fill them up at a water fountain inside the terminal. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work on some airports like Shanghai, where *all* fluids are confiscated right before boarding the plane, even if purchased from kiosks inside the terminal.

  8. July 19, 2011 5:20 pm

    I used to pack snacks and empty water bottle. But most recent trip with kid alone? Nothing. Only milk and the rest for our 14 hours of flying and connections? I bought. Sometimes convenience trumps $, especially with a kid.

    But for drinks I’m usually hurrying to get on the plane so I get free drinks anyway. Security, tickets, bathrooms, walking with a stroller, 18 month old, luggage gets tiring and slow. I’m slower than I used to be and I budget more time to boot.

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