Five Ways Airline Travel Will Empty Your Bank Account

Airline travel is a luxury that many families consider impossible. The reason? In addition to rising fares, the extras have the power to drain a bank account. For those focused on credit repair, gassing up the car may be the best economical alternative. However, those embarking on lengthier trips understand the helplessness associated with high prices and little choice. Whatever your situation, be wary of the following money-drainers on your next trip. Aggressive credit repair requires aggressive savings; something every consumer can accomplish with a little forethought.

1. Parking.

Airport parking is fast and convenient, but the cost of this “perk” could be more than you bargained for. The average lot charges upwards of $20 per day to store your vehicle. If you are planning a 10-day trip, expect to fork over an additional $200 before leaving the airport.

The solution:

Save on unnecessary costs by leaning on a friend for help. Ask a pal to drop you off/pick you up and return the favor to them in the future. If your friends are unavailable, research cab fares to the airport in lieu of parking. Many cab companies allow you to book their services in advance for a flat rate. Compare the cost to keeping your car in the lot. You’re bound to score a better deal.

2. Baggage checks.

It wasn’t so long ago that air travel was a package deal. A ticket bought you a seat on the plane, complimentary refreshments, and a space for your bags in cargo storage. Unfortunately, package deals are a thing of the past. Thanks to airline cutbacks, passengers can now expect to pay $20-$30 per checked bag, resulting in a huge markup depending on the nature and length of your travel plans.

The solution:

When packing light isn’t an option, you may be forced to grit your teeth and pay the extra fees. However, cutting back is within your reach. The average passenger is allowed one piece of carry-on baggage and one personal item, e.g., a purse, briefcase, etc. Save on fees by filling those carry-ons to the brim. Less baggage checked=more money saved.

3. Upgrades.

Many travelers have heard the following question during check-in: “Would you like to upgrade to first class?” Of course you would. Hot towels, bigger seats; what’s not to love? Cut to the check-in agent saying, “Great. That’ll be an extra $125.”

The solution:

Practice some common sense. Sure, first class means more leg room and a glass of champagne, but do these comforts justify the additional cost? Consider using that money for credit repair rather than short-term frills. At worst, go ahead and buy that $7 thimble of champagne in coach class. It’s bound to be cheaper than an upgrade.

4. Food and drink.

The days of packing travel snacks are over. FAA regulations limit the kinds of carry-on items allowed through security. Unfortunately, food and drink are on that list. The good news: Airports offer tons of fast-food options on the way to your gate. The bad news: Expect to pay extra for even the simplest forms of sustenance.

The solution:

There isn’t much wiggle room in this airport money-drainer. After all, you have to eat, right? Do what you can to cut back by eating before you arrive at the airport. If you must buy airport food, stick with healthy options to keep your stomach satisfied, e.g., lean fish or chicken, nuts, and fruit. Don’t waste your vacation money before reaching your destination.

5. Convenience store purchases.

We’ve all seen those little convenience stores in the airport terminals, selling everything from neck pillows to foot massagers to oversized cotton t-shirts. When you are bored and waiting for your next flight, browsing and buying may seem preferable to sitting at the gate.

The solution:

Consider the implications of your purchases. For example, how much will it cost to check that foot massager on a return flight? Save your money by avoiding convenience stores and planning for bouts of boredom. Pack a few books or load a game on your tablet beforehand. There are plenty of ways to stay busy without spending a dime.