Rosie Panter, travel expert at dealchecker, shares her five top tips for saving money at the airport

Whether you’re more of an airport pints and fry-ups or oysters and fizz person, the universal truth is that we all spend far too much time and money in airports. And, to combat the boredom we eat, we drink, and we shop.

Rosie Panter, travel expert at the UK’s trusted travel price comparison site, dealchecker, says: “We’ve all been there – shocked by how much we spent on holiday, only to realise that an embarrassing amount of cash was actually spent in the airport, before we’d even left the UK.

“The combination of the temptation to splash out on spenny sunglasses that will inevitably get lost at the first beach bar and wanting to line our stomachs with extremely average pre-flight snacks and meals – amounting to £100 for an average family of four[1] – it’s clear that in order to save cash for water parks, beachside burgers and frosty beers, we need to be savvier with our airport spending.

“Saving money at the airport is actually far easier than many people realise, it just takes a bit of forward-planning sprinkled with a touch of self-restraint. And the solutions might not be what you think…”

Rosie’s top tips for saving money at the airport below…

saving money at the airport

Travel savvy

First things first, consider how you’re travelling to the airport. If you’re driving and planning on leaving your car overnight, pre-booking parking is a must. Not only will it make your trip slightly less stressful than having to organise upon arrival, but you’ll also save money by booking in advance.

If you’re planning on travelling to the airport by train, avoid express train services at all costs. Seriously. For the pleasure of travelling straight to the station, without calling stops, you can expect to pay well over the odds of a standard train. Whilst a ‘normal’ train may take slightly longer, you will be rewarded with extra tenners to spend on holiday.

Don’t splash out on overpriced drinks

Save your pennies for beachside beers and sundowners, not bottles of water for the flight. Instead, carry a reusable water bottle with you – just make sure it’s empty before heading through security – and fill it up at a water fountain in the airport. And, if you’re struggling to find a water fountain, look for the nearest bathroom as, bizarrely, the fountains are often located right outside.

If you simply can’t make it through the airport without a cup of steaming hot coffee to keep you going, make sure you pack a reusable cup in your hand luggage. Whilst it won’t make the coffee free (wishful thinking), most coffee shops do offer discounts if you bring your own cup. A win for your wallet and a win for the planet.

Forego the fry up

Whilst a Spoons fry up or Pret buffet is often seen as the start of the holiday, how often do you go through your bank statement only to be horrified at how much you spent on airport food and drink? Why waste money on food you can easily enjoy any time, when you could save it for once you’re in destination?

Instead, bring yourself a picnic of tasty sarnies, crisps or crackers, veg crudites, fruit and sweet treats from home. You’ll still have a delicious meal to enjoy in the airport or once on board, but without the damage to your bank balance.

Avoid duty-free

Yes, we’re going there. Whilst shopping in duty-free is fun, it doesn’t look so fun when on your bank statement. If there’s something you’ve been waiting to purchase until you’re in the airport and can make the most of the tax-free savings – a new pair of sunglasses or bottle of perfume or aftershave – there’s no judgement from us. But if you spend the two hours before boarding revamping your makeup bag and wardrobe with designer goods simply because it’s tax-free, we’re looking at you.

Think about it this way, would you rather be sat soaking up the sunshine on a Greek beach or sat in a rainy pebble beach in Blighty wearing designer togs? We know where we’d rather be…

Treat yourself to a first-class lounge

Often costing as little as £20 per adult, £15 per child and free for infants, lounge access is a little-known money-saving hack. If you’re set against taking a packed lunch to the airport, purchasing lounge-access could save you money on food and drink as it’s all included!

And if you have kids, you’ll also benefit from the peace of mind that comes with being able to contain your kids in one space, as opposed to risking them getting lost in the vastness of duty-free.

To book your next break, visit

Hart Shoreditch – A Fantastic Foody Find

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