You may have found the best flight deals both airline companies and third-party travel websites had to offer. But, in the end, you can’t honestly say you got cheap plane tickets this time. Rest assured that if you ever find yourself in this situation there are other ways to save some money on your trip.
So read on to discover some travel cost reduction strategies after booking your flight.
1. Bring your own snacks
This travel cost reduction strategy applies if you don’t already have a meal included with your plane ticket.
Airline companies have increased the costs of their inflight snacks and meals. And you already know it’s not much cheaper to buy your snacks from the airport shops. A bag of chips can cost around 6 euro if you get it there. However, if you acquire them beforehand at your local grocery shop or at a gas station on your way to the airport, you may pay around 1 euro or less.
So if you’re going on a long flight, pack lots of dry snacks in your personal bag. They will keep you from starving until you reach your destination. And you’ll also reduce your overall cost of flying on this trip.
2. Buy something to drink at the airport
Unlike with sealed bags of snacks, it’s more difficult to take liquids with you through the security check unless you are a parent traveling with a small child. So if you don’t have free drinks included in the cost of your plane ticket, expect to pay a lot even for water bought during your flight.
Although it can be expensive to buy water at the airport, it’s still cheaper than paying for a drink on the plane. You should also research if the airport you’re flying from has drinkable tap water or water fountains available. In that case, you can just pass through the security check with an empty bottle and fill it up before boarding the plane.
3. Eat before you arrive at the airport
Many airports have fast-foods and various restaurants. But even fast-food is more expensive at the airport. So, if you know that your airline isn’t offering a free inflight meal or what they’re offering is too small to satisfy your hunger, eat before you arrive at the airport.
This is one of the best travel cost reduction strategies we started applying after Air France committed to saving single-use plastic items. While their meals are now more environmentally friendly, the portions are smaller and we usually arrive feeling very hungry after flying with Air France.
Before, you got a nice warm meal with some tasty bread, a good portion of dessert, chocolate candy, and a small bottle of water. Now, you get a small paper bag with a tiny salad, a small sandwich, a biscuit or a puny cereal bar and a mini-bottle containing fruit juice/a weird cold soup. Oh, and I also got sick once after a cucumber something-something soup – not Gazpacho, it was all bright green.
4. Bring your own books and magazines
I have to mention to bring your own entertainment as part of these travel cost reduction strategies. You already know that eating and drinking costs more at the airport. Books and magazines bought at the airport cost a pretty penny, too. In addition, with books, you get a pretty poor selection. Especially if you’re looking for books that aren’t written in the local language.
So, if you’re not hogging unread books at home like some travelers do (guilty!), take some time to visit a local bookstore. Not only will you have more choices, but you may even come across some good deals. I usually find interesting books where the printing house has 3 for the price of 2 offers, for example.
5. Bring a tablet or laptop with you
On long flights on large planes, the airline may offer in-flight movies. Sounds nice, right? Oh, but you need to pay for their special headphones because your regular headphones are usually incompatible. If you bring your own laptop or tablet, you not only save money but also get to choose something you actually want to watch.
6. Avoid paying extra baggage fees
Not sure I’ve said this enough: airlines are losing money! So now, not only are they increasing the costs of their plane tickets, but they are also creating new fees. Many airline companies charge you for your second bag of luggage, while others charge you for your carry-on luggage, too. Companies like Ryanair will get you hooked with what seems initially looks like a cheap flight. Then you realize that traveling with a regular carry-on bag means adding fees that are sometimes higher than the flight cost itself.
Even so, there are some travel cost reduction strategies to avoid paying the extra baggage fees, too.
1. Invest in compression bags
Compression bags are life-savers when traveling with carry-on luggage only. You can fit a lot of clothing items inside. Then, you don’t even need a vacuum cleaner. You just seal the bag and push on it to apply some pressure.
If you’re traveling only for the weekend in the summer months, you could even get away with packing everything in a pretty small backpack. You may get away without paying any luggage fees while traveling with Ryanair!
2. Condense luggage when traveling with your family
It’s good parenting to teach your child how to only pack their own things. And it’s not only cute but also empowering to let them drag their own carry-on bag.
However, sometimes paying for their extra luggage just doesn’t make sense, as it can increase your overall family vacation costs. So, to avoid paying extra baggage fees, use a smaller number of suitcases to pack everybody’s stuff.
Naturally, the best way to go on cheap flights is to get a good deal on your plane tickets. However, when that’s not possible, the travel cost reduction strategies mentioned above can help you even the score.