Don’t Make These Airport Shopping Mistakes. 10 Things You Shouldn’t Buy At The Airport

airport shopping mistakes

Many people think it makes the most sense to get their souvenir shopping done at the airport. You’re there with nothing to do, after all. However, airport shopping mistakes like buying overpriced, low-quality goods are made too often.

Airport shopping is a trap and we’re here to tell you why. Here are 10 things you should never spend on at the airport.

Avoid These Airport Shopping Mistakes

1. Buying Neck Pillows and Blankets

Being comfortable on the airplane is important, but if you forget to bring your neck pillow or blankets to the airport, go on your trip without them.

Airport shops upcharge all of these items because they know you need comfort, and will pay anything to get it.

Make a checklist of items you know you’ll need. Track down everything on that list a couple of days before your flight.

2. Airports Should Not Be Where You Exchange Currency

The exchange rate online will show you one number, but be aware that this is not what you will likely get.  

When you’re at the currency exchange booth at the airport, the staff can tell you’re unprepared. Because of this, fees are hiked up to a maximum.

Always remember to exchange currency a couple of days before your trip. Keep the money in your carry-on so you can access it as soon as you land at your destination.

3. Pack Your Own Meals

Food is top amongst the items you should never buy at the airport. Why? Because it costs a fortune.

Try to eat a proper meal before you go to the airport. Make sure to eat food that you know won’t upset your stomach, and eat enough of it.

The best solution is to pack your meals. Airport security allows almost all food items so long as they don’t contain liquid. So, pack enough dry snacks like sandwiches or chips. These will especially come in handy if you need to wait a while for your fight.

If you’re flying with kids, have them pack their food the night before. This way, they’ll have the food they like, and you won’t be pestered into buying expensive airport food.

4. Bring a Water Bottle

Never put yourself in a situation to buy drinks at the airport.

You may wonder how to get past security with water, but there is a way around that. Bring a couple of reusable water bottles. If you’re a space-saver, then go for a collapsible bottle.

You can fill up the bottle whenever you need to at water fountains. Make sure to drink a lot of water, as air travel can dehydrate you.

5. Don’t Go On An Impulse Airport Shopping Spree

Long layovers are difficult. You’ll be stuck in a terminal bored out of your mind. In that boredom, a little voice in your brain will say, “Buy things you don’t need.”

Don’t listen to this voice. You may see interesting things like clothes and makeup for sale, but these are on the list of what not to buy at the airport.

Many shopkeepers unknowingly keep counterfeit stock. So, what you think is a brand-name beauty palette for a steal, is actually a copy.

Besides that, airport shops jack up the price of cosmetics. Our airport shopping tip is to go online and search how much a product costs at the drugstore. If you compare it to the price in an airport shop, you’ll find that it’s at least 1.5 times the original price.

Pack a carry-on makeup and toiletry bag so you won’t have to resort to the airport beauty counter.

6. Bring Entertainment Along

Air travel can be pretty boring. You are not able to get up and move, and you are confined to a small space for possibly hours. Additionally, waiting in the airport can be difficult, especially with children. They get bored easily and will need something to keep them occupied.

It is important to find ways to keep yourself and your family entertained at the airport, but don’t rely on the airport to provide you with the entertainment.

The airport staff knows that you are desperate to keep busy, and they love to take advantage of this desperation. Don’t give airports the power to charge you extra.

Pack one long book and earphones in your carry-on. Don’t forget to add a portable charger to your bag. Chargers are another item airports love to sell at exorbitant rates.

Carry gaming devices and coloring books for your children as well.

If you’re really in a crunch, go to the information booth. You can ask them if they have any books that you can borrow. You can also inquire about free entertainment options.

7. Put Down the Newspaper

Never buy newspapers at the airport. Wait until you get on the flight, as many passengers leave magazines and books onboard. If you ask the flight attendant, they may have a whole selection of reading material for you.

Besides that, airplanes also have their own selection of newspapers and magazines. You can typically find these in the seat pocket in front of you.

8. The Airport is Not a Pharmacy

Price inflation isn’t only restricted to nonessentials. Essentials like OTC drugs are also sold at a higher cost than at your local drug store.

The primary reason for this is that airport shops have to pay higher rent than the drugstore on your block.

So, make sure that you have all of your necessary medications in your carry-on. If you’re traveling with children, remember to include chewing gum so that their ears don’t get clogged on the flight. Carry anti-nausea medicine as well if you or your children get motion sickness. 

9. Stay Away From the Duty-Free Shop

The concept of a duty-free shop sounds wonderful; you can buy anything you want without the import duties.

But, if you ever compared the total cost in a duty-free store to that in a regular shop, you would be surprised to know that the net total will be lesser in a regular shop.

Duty-free shops mark up the price of most of the things sold. For example, an iPad is significantly marked up from its original price. Though there isn’t a tax on these items, the retail price makes up for the price difference.

The same goes for liquor, chocolates, and other electronics.

But there are some things you can get for a deal at the duty-free store. So if you’re confident you know how to shop duty-free, then go for it.

10. Don’t Book Rentals at the Airport

Anything you can get done before arriving at the airport, get it done. The airport should be the last place where you’re figuring out your mode of travel.

Apart from that, getting last-minute car rentals at the airport will also limit your choices. If you had booked your car before, you could have reserved the car of your choice for lesser costs. But, once you are at the airport booking a last-minute rental, you’ll have to make do with whatever cars they have left for you.

The Bottom Line On Airport Shopping Mistakes

Remember, the purpose of going to an airport is to fly; nothing more. All of the other extraneous amenities – restaurants, retail stores, duty-free shops, etc. – are huge airport shopping mistakes waiting to happen. They’re put there to make money. If you’re in a pinch and simply have no choice, you can give in to the temptation of airport shopping. But you can save a lot of money by bringing the essentials from home.

So, when you’re planning an international trip, put together a detailed packing list, buy travel insurance, and enjoy a trip with as few unplanned expenses as possible.

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