10 Items to Never Buy at the Airport

For those who travel via planes often know how pricy airports can be. With layovers and delays, passengers can be tempted to make unwanted and unnecessary purchases at the airport. Airports are known to jack up prices, especially on the more essential items passengers are more tempted to buy. Over the years, airports have modernized and kept up with the trends, providing passengers with several popular retail, dining, and drinking options. We know flying is expensive enough, so we are here to provide helpful travel tips on the 10 purchases to avoid buying at the airport.

Skip These 10 Airport Purchases You Don’t Need

1. Bottled Water

a person holding a bottle of water in front of a shelf full of blue bottles
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The number one priority for most travelers is having a beverage while traveling, especially water. According to US News, water bottles cost about $5. Although that isn’t that steep of a price, it can definitely add up. One way to avoid this cost is to bring an empty, reusable water bottle to the airport. Not only does bringing a reusable water bottle save money, but it’s also ecologically friendly, so overall, it’s a win-win. Remember that liquids above 3 oz are not allowed through the TSA, so be sure to empty these water bottles beforehand.

2. Medicine

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Traveling will surely bring on headaches and stress, and airports are prepared for that. OTC medicine in the airport is extremely overpriced and is known to be sold in travel-size packaging, which is known to be small and convenient for traveling but not worth the money. Knowing about the extremely outrageous medicine prices at the airport, pack all the medicine you need before heading there. It should also be known that OTC medicine is allowed through TSA if there are no liquids over 3 oz.

3. Wifi

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Nowadays, technology is very prominent, especially when traveling. Our smartphones are forever in our hands, checking social media, emails, and more. Wifi can be considered essential for some, but there’s no reason to waste your money on it. Airports provide guests with free Wi-Fi, but it expires over time. You’ll be prompted to pay a fee to continue using their Wi-Fi, but try to resist that urge because it’s not worth the price. Instead, utilize your data or take a smartphone break and read or window shop along the terminal.

4. Souviners

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When traveling to any location, touristy or not, there will be a gift shop with souvenirs in sight. Travelers might see something they haven’t seen outside of the airport or be sucked into buying a gift for someone, but you definitely should avoid these purchases at all costs. Not only are the prices of the souvenirs and gifts easily over double the price they would normally be there, but they are also not authentic. Make sure to save time during your trip to look at a gift shop anywhere but the airport to save yourself money.

5. Electronic Goods

two people are standing in front of a store
Shops at MIA / Facebook

Airports are notorious for selling the best and most trendy electronics within vending machines for easy access to travelers. It should be known that these electronic goods go for a pretty penny already, but the penny is even prettier when sold within airports. Airports are prepared for travelers to forget anything, especially electronic goods like chargers, so they jack the prices up as much as possible. To avoid buying overpriced chargers, look out for free airport charging stations; they are normally scattered around the terminal.

6. Luggage

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Luggage is one of the biggest hassles and struggles regarding traveling. Especially when there’s a weight limit involved. The number one cost that should be avoided at airports is paying for an overweight bag or extra luggage. Airline baggage fees are expensive enough, but extra bags and overweight fees can cost you $100+. We suggest you prepare before going to the airport and weigh your luggage beforehand. This will save you money and stress from dealing with an overweight suitcase at the counter.

7. Snacks

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Airports are notorious for one thing when it comes to food: sky-high prices. While “street pricing” allows airport vendors to raise the cost of items compared to what you’d pay elsewhere, it’s a convenience factor that truly takes flight. We’re all familiar with the feeling – rushing through security, pressed for time, and suddenly, a bag of chips or a bottle of water seems like a lifesaver. But that “lifesaver” comes at a hefty premium. Instead, pack some dry snacks beforehand to save money in your pockets.

8. Foreign Currency

A person standing in front of a currency exchange
San José Mineta International Airport / Facebook

The last headache you need when traveling is foreign cash. If you forgot to exchange it, we advise travelers not to do it at airport booths. Although this is the most convenient option, airport currency companies will charge you high transaction or commission fees. Since technology has evolved over the years, many debit and credit cards are accepted internationally, but that doesn’t mean having a little cash in your pocket would hurt. Stop at a local ATM upon arrival instead of exchanging your cash at the airport to save you any extra fee you might incur.

9. Rental Cars

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Another overpriced commodity is transportation to and from the airport, especially when renting a car. We advise travelers never to rent a car directly at the airport. These prices are known to increase due to demand. We understand it’s a last-minute decision sometimes, but even then, you should always use a third-party site or book directly on the rental car company’s website for lower pricing.

10. Alcohol

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Tons of people tend to buy an alcoholic drink to start the journey of their trip. Maybe you’re buying a pre-vacation celebration drink or trying to ease some nerves; it should be known that these alcoholic drinks can be extremely overpriced. According to TheStreet, a beer averages about $8, while spirits cost twice as much. So, if you can, save your money for a nicer and cheaper drink or two when you arrive at your destination. We promise it’ll be worth it!

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