No matter where you are in the world, spending time in an airport is an expensive hobby. Airports have a captive audience: once you’ve passed through security and passport control, you can’t leave to go anywhere else expect your final destination. This means that those airport shops can charge you anything them want for the essentials you need. Which explains why an airport coffee often costs as much as three times more than a coffee anywhere else.
So if you travel to Spain regularly, or are an expat who spends a lot of time travelling between France and your home country, how can you spend money whilst you’re stuck in the airport? And what other hints and tips are there than can cut costs on the overall price of your flying experience? Here’s everything you need to know:
Avoid Expensive Restaurants
Grabbing a bite to eat in an airport is a notoriously expensive pastime. But in Spanish airports there are some restaurants that are more affordable than others. Stick to fast food chains rather than independents and avoid the healthiest options (if your budget is the priority rather than your waistline, of course).
Many major airports in Spain have a McDonald’s inside, for example, where it is possible to get a small fries for €1.20 and a snack-sized chicken burger for €1.20, meaning that you can feed yourself a simple meal for €2.40. And if your chosen Spanish airport has a 100 Montaditos then you can buy a classic small-filled sandwich for prices starting from €1.45 each which is another cheap eat option.
Bring a Water Bottle
Because it isn’t possible to travel with liquids over 100ml in your hand luggage, most people won’t bring a drink with them to the airport. And those that do travel with a bottle of water will throw it away before they go through security and passport control, only to buy another bottle at the other side.
Save yourself this expense and hassle by traveling with an empty refillable water bottle. Every airport will have at least one water fountain once you get through security. Filling your own bottle instead of buying one will save you a fortune.
Make Use of VIP Lounges
If you have a long stop-over then it might actually save you money in the long run to pay for access to an airport lounge. These will typically cost between €25-€35 in a Spanish airport, but they will give you access to more comfortable seating, a buffet of snacks and an open bar with drinks. Some will even have showers and changing rooms where you can freshen up.
If you’re going to be in the airport for more than a couple of hours then it is likely that you would spend that €25-€35 on food, drinks and entertainment anyway, so you may actually save yourself money by relaxing in the quieter and more luxurious surroundings of an airport lounge than being in the general airport.
Shop Around For Airport Parking
Airport parking can be incredibly expensive, and the longer you are away for the higher the prices will be. If you park in the official AENA car park at Spanish airports then this can cost between €14 and €60 per day. But there are alternatives available that will keep your car safe whilst you’re away without breaking the bank.
Explore airport parking comparison websites such as Parkos or TravelCar. These will show you all the options available at your chosen airport and the prices too. The bigger the airport you are using, the more alternatives to the official airport parking you are likely to find.
At Madrid-Barajas airport, for example, there are other parking providers available with daily rates from €10, which is almost half the price of AENA.
Print Your Tickets At Home
If you are flying on a low-cost airline then you are responsible for either printing your own ticket or downloading it to your mobile phone. Check carefully which type of ticket is required and ensure that you do this before you arrive at the airport. Why? Because if you don’t, this is just another thing that low-cost airlines will charge you extra for. There is a cost associated with each ticket that has to be printed at the airport, and these prices can be very expensive: as many as 40 euros per ticket in some cases.
If you don’t have a printer at home, then ask a friend or family member to do it for you. The price saving is significant, and worth the inconvenience of a little at-home printing!
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