What Not To Buy On A Long Layover

Categories : Cheap Flights , TRAVEL

Plenty of times, when flying, especially internationally, there’s a layover. Sometimes they’re long, sometimes they’re short, but they can always be a challenge to waste money. Because you’re tired after a long flight, it gets very tempting to just spend/waste money, especially, since the airport is usually designed in a way, that you have to walk through all the fancy stores. Instead, with just a bit of planning ahead of time, you can be prepared, and it will be easier for you to save your money. (You can read this post while you’re already in the airport, but don’t expect great results).

The first thing is food. You will probably be hungry. Don’t wait until you get off the plane, or even until you get to the airport, to find out that you’re hungry. Instead, if you’ll be making a stopover, for only 1 or 2 hours, you can probably get away with just a snack or an energy bar, for the stopover. Although, if your stopover will be more like 4 or 5 hours, or even longer than that, you should prepare yourself a full meal, you’ll need it. Otherwise, if you don’t prepare before, you’ll have to buy food in the airport restaurant, and that will cost you anywhere between $30 to $50 per meal, is that worth it? NO.

So before you leave for the airport, make sure to prepare yourself at least 1 meal per person for every 5 hours you’ll be staying on a layover (if you’ll be staying 6/7 hours prepare 2 meals). Besides for the way there, you’ll also need meals for the return trip home. So if you’ll only be gone for a day or 2, and you’ll be able to keep meals for the return trip as well, prepare those as well.

Should I Buy Duty Free?

The truth is (shh don’t tell) Duty Free is usually more expensive than buying at a regular store, even though you don’t pay tax by Duty Free, and in a regular store you do pay tax. The simple reason is, you can’t compare products in Duty Free, meaning there’s no competition. Also, Duty Free is very tempting to buy, sometimes you have to walk through many Duty Free shops, just to get to your connecting flight. And even if you don’t, you’ll be waiting for the flight with nothing to do, so you’ll want to check out these stores, then you’ll want to buy things.

There are really 2 different categories in Duty Free. The first is gifts and souvenirs, and the second is things that you need, and you don’t want to pay tax on them.

Souvenirs, are a very important thing for some people, and some people don’t really care about them. Some people need to send gifts to friends and family, when they go on a trip, and some people have no need for that either. If you don’t enjoy souvenirs, and you don’t have to buy gifts, why should you even look at them, but, if you do need them, unless you’re able to spend a ton of money on them, try to find gifts for under $10. They usually sell some gifts & souvenirs for very cheap. I once bought a mug from Rome for $9.90, they were also selling a glasses cleaner for $7. You can buy anything of this sort for very cheap. Sometimes they also have T-shirts, or travel pillows for about $10. Why should you spend $50 on a watch, when it doesn’t even say where it’s from, I mean isn’t that the whole point why you’re buying from here.

Some people want to make a big purchase, and don’t want to pay tax. To find out if it’s worth it to buy an item in the airport, to avoid paying tax, just check Amazon, search for the product you want, and it should be able to include tax by checkout (otherwise you can just add your cities tax, which should be about 5%) and see if the store at Duty Free is cheaper.

On international flights, when you’re shopping at Duty Free (and also all shopping you do internationally), should be with a no foreign transaction fee credit card. It’s usually not worth it to exchange currencies, and never exchange at an airport, as they’ll charge you a large percentage. Unless you’re staying for a few weeks abroad, you shouldn’t need cash in their currency, and instead just use a no foreign transaction fee credit card. Many no foreign transaction fee credit cards are free (come with no annual fee), including the Discover it credit card. Otherwise, you’ll be charged between 2.7% and 3% foreign transaction fee.

What To Do When You Get Bored

You may see many airports selling newspapers, music and movies. The same rule applies throughout anything sold in airports, everything is very expensive. You won’t want to find yourself spending $20 on a movie, that could have costed you $5. Instead, you can download movies to your phone, buy a newspaper or book. Or you can download books to read on your layover to a Kindle. When traveling with multiple people you can download games to play together, and you can have a great time in the airport. When traveling with kids, remember to bring along things for them to do.

Should You Go To The Lounge

Many airports offer lounge access. These generally cost between $30 to $75 dollars for a pass. When staying in an airport for many hours, it may just be worth it to buy a pass, just see if the airport looks full, and you think you won’t enjoy it. Staying at the airport for 7 hours, and paying $50 for lounge access will cost you about $7 per hour. That’s not so much. Try it out and see if you like it.


Here are our tips to help you save money on your layover. We would love to hear your tips, how you saved money on your layover, and to hear if these tips worked for you. Please leave your tips and experiences below, and enjoy your trip, just don’t waste money.

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