6 Tips to Save on Flying


May 23, 2017

Summer’s a popular time to fly, but plane tickets and other travel costs can add up. While the price of plane tickets may be out of your control, there are many things you can do to help keep your spending in check.

Read the Fine Print

Every airline has different guidelines and fees for bags. This may include checked baggage, carry-on luggage, and personal items. Before you head to the airport, make sure you know what the airline you’re flying with allows. Read the full policy, especially if you’re traveling out of the country. Some allowances and fees may vary depending on your destination – and you don’t want to be surprised when you check in.

Buy a Luggage Scale

Once you know the guidelines, make sure you stick to them so you don’t get charged extra. Whether you’re flying with an airline that lets you check bags for free or deciding to pay for one of your suitcases to fly, you’ll see an extra charge if you go over the weight limit. Luggage scales are affordable and the one-time purchase of around $20 can save you tenfold if it keeps you within your weight allowance.

Shop at Your Destination

Headed to the beach for a week and only checking a bag to bring sunscreen? If you find yourself in a situation like this, you’re probably wasting money. On the low end, a one-way baggage fee can cost $25, which means spending at least $50 on a roundtrip flight to get your toiletries to and from your destination. To avoid this unnecessary expense, consider what items you may be able to buy once you arrive. You may find that it’s cheaper to skip a checked bag and do some quick shopping once you reach your destination.

Bring an Empty Water Bottle

After you cross through security, buying a bottled drink can be pricey, even if it’s just water. While you can’t bring a full water bottle through security, many airports have water-bottle refill stations that you can use to fill up your reusable water bottles for free. This is considerable savings, especially if you’re traveling as a family, since bottled water in an airport can cost several dollars each.

Pack Your Own Snacks (And Meals)

Just like drinks, the cost of snacks is marked up significantly after you pass through airport security. Packing your own snacks can help you save, and the savings multiply if you’re traveling in a group or with family.  For extra savings and convenience, buy snacks in bulk and make your own snack-size bags by portioning them into reusable containers.

Going on a longer trip? You can save even more if you pack your own meals. Just make sure whatever you pack is within TSA guidelines.

Download Your Entertainment in Advance

Between long flights and possible layovers, traveling can get a bit dull. Whether flying by yourself or especially with children, you’ll want to get your entertainment downloaded and ready to go in advance.

Check out your local library and see if they offer free e-books for download. More and more libraries are offering this option, which gives you more to read while you travel without the added weight in your bag.

If you prefer TV shows or movies and you pay for a streaming service, consider downloading content to watch offline. Having entertainment already downloaded on your device can keep you from purchasing in-flight entertainment or Wi-Fi, which comes with a hefty price tag. You can also check your library for this – some even lend out mobile hotspots for free, which can save you from paying for wireless in the airport or at your destination.

Planning Ahead Pays Off

It’s pretty clear that all of these tips require some planning in advance. While it may seem like a hassle, the savings you’ll see makes it worth it. And every dollar you save on this trip can get you that much closer to the next.

Find more money management tips and resources on our WalletWorks page.

Are you a Pennsylvania resident? Learn how to join PSECU.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal or other professional if you have questions.