I’ve made a lot of mistakes while traveling by plane. I’ve also discovered some easy money saving and convenient tricks to make flying a more pleasurable experience. I get a small high off of getting into the nitty gritty of travel details because most people have given me vague advice, like “bring headphones”. Blah, boring, duh. My second high in life, saving money.
To me, saving $3 on not buying empty travel sized bottles means I can then afford a Starbucks coffee I didn’t have before at the airport. Small savings add up quick and striving to get the most out of your money is key to living large. I’d rather save my money for my destination, not throw away $10 on a box of cheese and stale crackers in the air. Getting in the mindset can be difficult, but taking the time to save a little here… gives a better experience there.
Tip #1: Hotel Shampoo Bottles
If you don’t have a bag FULL of random shampoo, conditioner, and lotion bottles from hotels hiding in your bathroom closet somewhere, you’re crazy! Maybe it’s considered hoarding and waste of space, but it’s actually a money saving tool. Not only are you capitalizing on your expensive hotel stays, you’re saving money in the future for travel.
Instead of spending $1 or $2 for one empty travel sized cosmetic bottle at Target or Walmart before your trip, simply empty out a few of those random hotel shampoo bottles and fill them with your own product. Since they’re usually little, you may have to fill two or three with the same product but WAH-LAH, you never even had to leave the house. I always pack shampoo, face cleanser, conditioner, and body wash away in small hotel bottles to save space in my suitcase. If you do bring your liquids through the TSA, remember the restrictions are 3.4 ounce bottles (100 ml).
Tip #2: Ask for the Whole Beverage Can
After the thrill of taking off and feeling a rush of adrenaline, my next favorite thing about flying is seeing the beverage cart coming down the aisle. Technically, flight attendants are not supposed to do this for you because it is a safety hazard, but I’m going to tell you anyway.
Getting a dinky little cup with 75% ice and 25% drink is not fulfilling my expectations of this flight that’s costing me hundreds of dollars. Instead of just asking for “Coke please”, ask for “A can of Coke please”, or whatever drink you want that comes in a can. In my experience, no one has ever told me no and I’ve gotten the little cup of ice, plus an entire can. After many flights on different airlines, I’ve calculated that you can fill your cup approximately 3 ½ times with your drink can. Call me crazy, but you’ll be living large after seeing your neighbors only got that one little sip of beverage they asked for and are parched for the rest of the flight.
Tip #3: Book in Advance
Booking your flight two months or a few months in advance gives you two possible perks if you’re booking a basic economy seat. One perk is lower airfare rates… we all know that. Secondly, you just might get an upgrade! I’ve been upgraded on two flights because I booked so far in advance and there was such a high demand for the particular flight I was on last minute. I was bumped to economy plus seating so the airline could then sell my basic economy flight to someone else. More leg room and quicker boarding, for free. Wowee!
Tip #4: The Exit Seat
Besides the fact in case of an emergency you’ll need to help get people off the plane and assist the flight attendants, you’ll acquire more leg room if you choose an exit seat in advance. The flight attendants will ask you in the beginning of the flight if you’re willing to help in case of emergency, just say “Yes”. Easy.
Tip #5: Airfare Watch Dog
With Airfare Watch Dog, you get to rent a dog while you fly! Not really, I wish. Not only can you snag good flight deals on this travel website, you can set up travel alerts to your e-mail. When prices for flights drop, they automatically e-mail you the deal. Roundtrip flights can be as cheap as $80 if you keep an eye out for them.
Although I’ve never bought one of the deals, it is definitely going to inspire a spontaneous trip in the future if the destination is on my travel list. You type in your home airport, and even just going to the website will show you “Today’s Top Fares” out of your local airport. The best way to figure out the beauty of this site, is to navigate it yourself and play around with it.
BONUS TIP #6: Coffee Rewards Programs
Download the Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks Apps on your phone right now. No seriously, you’ll rack up so many points and redeem free drinks more often than you think. Personally, I do not reload my two accounts with money, but if you frequently go to these two places I highly suggest it. I instantly add any gift cards I get for my birthday, Christmas, Easter, or any other occasion to my apps and as soon as you swipe that gift card at the counter, you get points. After 200 points at Dunkin’s you earn a free beverage. You also get free drinks for your birthday from both coffee shops. If you’re spending the money anyway, might as well take 5 minutes every now and then to add money on a card to save up free drink coupons. Perfect for travel whether it’s just a drive to work or for a caffeine boost at the airport.
Well that’s it folks, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. I’d also love to hear your tips and tricks! Leave a comment if you want to add on to this list. Happy travels!