14 October 2013

TRAVEL: Autumn Airport Tips

Hey everyone,

Following on from my Autumn weekend packing tips, I thought I'd chip in my two cents on how to save money at the airport.

Mostly thanks for the wonders of the internet in my youth, I have friends scattered all over the world and have been lucky enough to have been invited to stay with some of them.
(Which they then regret when they meet me in person and discover how tedious I really am. Not really. I think.)

I've stayed in Virginia twice and travelled around the East Coast with Jessica, ate all the food in Belfast with Claire and of course became a squatter at Hayley and Henry's house in Sydney (and later her mum's in Melbourne!).

However this also means the bane of some existances - airports.

I actually don't mind airports and flying at all.
For some reason train journeys get me way more flustered.

But since like I said in my last post that Autumn is the time to grab quick last minute deals, I thought I'd write up some of the tips and tricks to save money at the airport and have extra cash for your trip!

Use public transport to get to the airport.

Yes hawking your bags on buses, trains, trams and tubes is never fun – especially if you’re travelling during a rush hour. However it’s worth so much in the long run: if you take your car you run the risk of racking up hundereds of pounds in car park fees.

Taxi fees depend from place to place, so do some research beforehand.
For example: a taxi from Kings Cross to Heathrow is about £60 and a single underground ticket is just a fraction of the price. But a taxi from Sydney Central Station to the airport was about $15 – around the same price as a train ticket! 

Double (and Triple) Check your luggage!

Going on a quick weekend jaunt with your friends? Fit as much as you can in your hand luggage without going over the weight limit to save spending extra on hold luggage (remember if you’re going anywhere particularly touristy to factor in souvieners on your way back.)

If you are checking in hold luggage be sure to check the weight before you go to the airport.

I’ve only been caught out by this once when I was doing last minute shopping the last time I went to Virginia and found I had gone over my limit.
While it's not the end of the world, it's honestly the last thing you need before a long haul flight to be fussing and sorting out what you are going to leave behind.

Looking elated the day before I started backpacking. 
(I was less elated when the floral backpack from ASOS broke at Heathrow! It didn't even make it out of the country.)

Sleep at the airport/enquire about an earlier flight.

If you have a 12 hour+ layover and are considering staying local overnight, hotels near aiports can be a premium – especially last minute.
If you must stay overnight, have a browse for cheaper alternatives but be sure to take into account travel to and from including airport shuttles (airport shuttles average around £15 return), taxis and public transport.

If you are travelling with a backpack, tie your backpack to the chair with a bike lock and sleep with your day pack full of clothes as your pillow. 

And you never know, check with the desk – there may be an earlier flight they can bump you on if you ask nicely enough!
(This happened to me in 2008 – I was expecting a nine hour layover, but when I asked, I was put on a quicker flight for no extra cost in two hours time.) 

There's a phrase we say in the North East: "Shy bairns get nee broth" - aka: "You don't ask, you don't get!"

Looking fresh as hell after a 10-hour flight from Melbourne to Hong Kong, about to board a 13-hour flight to London.

Remember to pack baby/face wipes, a toothbrush and toothpaste in your carry-on for a quick freshen up in the airport/transport bathroom.

Bring your own food.

Eat before you leave for the airport or bring some sandwiches to munch before your flight.

Or, if you’re like me and compleletely lose your appetite before travelling; pack the backpacker saving graces - granola bars! 
You can get heftier ‘meal supplement’ versions but I usually go with standard versions by Quaker. If you're able to eat them, get ones with nuts in to sustain your energy. 

HOWEVER if you have extra foreign currency leftover you might as well spend it as you'll most likely just lose money exchanging it back, so during my last trip to Virginia I ended spending my last $20 at Buffalo Wild Wings. Class-ay.

$20 well spent!

Avoid buying entertainment

Magazines, books and games can be sold at a premium in airports, so bring your own enterainment.

Personally, if I know I’m going to be at an aiport for hours bring my Nintendo DS with a word-heavy/puzzle/point-and-click game from the Professor Layton or Ace Attorney series.

I’ve found that these use up less battery than action or racing games, but by all means bring your charger – a bit of hunting and you’re bound to find a plug!

Yes, we still have the original Nintendo DS consoles.
Definitely asking Santa for a 3DS this Christmas. 

Don’t Pay for wi-fi!

Discreetly sit nearby a Starbucks or fast food chain like McDonalds and check to see if they have free wifi. You could pay £10+ per 24 hours if you pay the airport’s rates.
(However, be sure to sit near or outside the venues – as someone who has worked in food service, don’t be the douchy obvious person who is sitting without buying anything.) 

Some airports I’ve been to such as Hong Kong offer free internet service at their hotspots, but this is also worth checking a day or so before your flight.

Don’t Buy Souvieners At the Airport.

When me and my sister were in New York we planned on buying everyone I HEART NY t-shirts as inexpensive souviencers we found at a shop for 3 for £10. 
However in the airport, the same t-shirts were retailing for about £30 each.

(Of course if you do some exploring, you're bound to come across something way more unique. We were just a little pushed for time.)

Avoid The Fines: Know What You Can and Can't Take Into the Country!

If you are travelling abroad, make sure you check the customs guidelines for prohibited goods and know what you have to declare to save yourself on hefty fines. 

When I travelled to Australia where they are notoriously strict with their customs, I had a pretty good idea what I was able to bring into the country including my medication.

As a precaution I declared everything I had on the form (Prescribed: asthma inhalers. Unprescribed: ibuprofen, stomach tablets, travel sickness pills), and just to be on the safe side food-wise, I left my stash of Cadbury’s chocolates with the housekeeping team in our Hong Kong hotel. 

What are your top tips for saving time and money at the airport? 
Do let me know!

And honestly, I've tried to find a smooth way to work this picture into the post as it's hilarious, but really there's no other way around it.

For goodness sake if you're flying long haul, move around on the plane otherwise you may end up with feet like this...

I couldn't fit into my Vans shoes for a week!

Muchos love,

DISCLAIMER: Post in partnership with Purple Parking (ooh, unintentional alliteration there!). Be sure to check out their own Airport Travel Tips!

1 comment:

  1. Your website is really cool and this is a great inspiring article. Thank you so much.
    taxi zurich airport to klosters