Photo: Neil Bird via Flickr
People spend a lot of money while waiting for their flights. In 2009, travellers spent $1.4 billion on airport food and gift items, reports USA Today.
But flying comfortably does not mean you have to buy expensive items at the airport. There are many items you could get days before your flight. Buy them online or in retail stores and you’ll save yourself money and last minute hassle.Neck pillow
Just a few years ago, airlines used to provide in-flight pillows. Now, you usually have to bring your own pillow. One popular model is a u-shaped pillow that wraps around your neck. You can get a neck pillow at the airport, but you will pay a hefty premium. Here is the price difference I found between Chicago’s Midway airport and a similar product online:
Airport price: $16.99
Non-airport price: $12.99 at Target.com
So indulge your comfort so you can avoid neck strain on the flight. Just be sure to pick it up in advance and pack it with your carry-on.
Reading is a great way to relax in an airport or during a flight. But if you wait until the last minute, you are going to pay. Here is the general trend I saw during recent trips.
Airport price: books sell at cover price
Non-airport price: 40-50 per cent off new releases at Amazon
If you want a book but can’t wait for it to ship, then you can also try a local bookstore or even a big retailer like Walmart, which offers somewhere from 15 to 50 per cent off of top books.
Snack bars and chips
I like to munch on snacks while I wait for my flight. A bag of chips, or an energy bar can be a good afternoon boost. But I usually try to buy in advance and pack them in my laptop bag since it is cheaper. Here’s a price I saw in my area:
Airport price: $5 for cheese crackers, $3 for an energy bar
Non-airport price: $2.50 for cheese crackers, $1 for energy bar (large supermarkets)
You can save even more by buying in bulk and carrying a small amount in a zip-top bag. Of course, if you do that, make sure your bag is closed securely so it doesn’t spill as you go through security.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.