‘If there’s one thing every traveller knows, it’s how agonising a lengthy airport layover can be…’

Not only is it time that you would much rather be spending at your final destination, like by the poolside bar or sleeping in your own bed, it’s also knowing you’re paying a premium just to pass time in the airport terminal.

A recent Mozo number crunch of some of the world’s most popular stopover destinations revealed there are some pretty big price differences between layover essentials like food, water, toiletries and airport hotel stays.

LAX topped the most expensive with a typical layover coming in at US $176.88, while in South Korea’s Incheon was just US $64.97.

So next time you’re booking your vacation and considering that six-hour layover, here are some tips on how to make it more affordable…

Invest in a high-quality neck pillow

While spending the night in a foreign city can excite even the most seasoned traveller, the feeling could be short-lived once the hotel bill arrives.

Depending on the airport, you could be forking out anywhere between US $48 (Seoul’s Incheon Airport) to up to US $160 at LAX for a hotel stay.

If you have a long layover planned in an expensive city like LA, NY or Paris, rather than forking out big bucks for a hotel stay, investing in a high quality, ring-shaped pillow is your best bet.

Not only do these offer great support and will keep you comfortable over a long period of time, they are also a fraction of the cost (and you can use them over and over again). Just make sure, though that if you do decide to take a snooze at the terminal your cash is safely tucked away!

Pack your own snacks

If there’s one thing that can be expected during a long wait, it’s a grumbling stomach. But, as we discovered, the price for a humble sandwich at some airports is pretty steep.

At Heathrow airport in London for instance, you’ll need to be prepared to fork out an eye-watering US $12 for a sandwich. NY and Singapore also had sandwich costs coming in at over US $10. The good news, however, if your layover is in Bangkok, you can pick up a meal for a mere US $2.10.

To save some cash at your next layover, why not pack your own snacks beforehand? Ziplock bags are a great way to keep food fresh and won’t take up too much space in your carry-on!

These can also be a lifesaver if you’re travelling with picky kids who prefer to munch on their favourite snacks from home than you spending money on exotic local treats that go uneaten.

Ditch plastic in favour of reusable

Between lugging around carry-ons and walking from terminal to terminal, you’ll need to stay hydrated during your stopover. But before you give in to the convenience of buying bottled water, just keep in mind that H2O in some parts of the world can be more expensive than soda and coffee.

Many international airports these days have water fountains installed inside the terminal so why not pack your own stainless steel or BPA free reusable water bottle and fill up for free between your flight? If you’re a frequent traveller, not only will you be saving a few dollars, you’ll also be reducing your plastic waste!

Load up on caffeine before landing

Depending on who you ask, coffee is essential to surviving a multi-flight journey. A cup of Joe in Moscow topped the Mozo list of most expensive at US $5.02 a pop.  In Johannesburg, a coffee will only set you back US $1.98 a cup.

So if you’re heading a city with more expensive coffee prices like Moscow, Germany or China, one tactic to beat the caffeine withdrawals and the long cafe queue once you land is to ask for a second cup inflight. And if you’re the type of coffee drinker who prefers to guzzle coffee like water, invest in a small thermos and fill it up with instant coffee once you land.

Pack a carry-on freshen up kit

There’s nothing worse than realising you’ve forgotten to pack something right after you go through the airport security check.

But with limits on the volume of liquids, aerosols and powders that you can now carry in your hand luggage, it can be easy to do.  After a 12 hour flight, if there are two things that you’ll generally want on hand at your layover, it’s deodorant and toothpaste.

In places like Sydney, Tokyo and Beijing, airport stores know that you’ll be prepared to pay top dollar for these items so give yourself a stress-free airport experience by writing up a list of items you need 2 weeks prior to when you leave.

You can now buy mini-versions of many toiletry items that will fit perfectly in your carry on and won’t cost an arm and a leg.

What are your top budget tips for surviving an airport layover?


My thanks to Kirsty Lamont from Mozo for her guest post today!

A seasoned pro at avoiding bank fees and deciphering insurance fine print, Kirsty Lamont is a travel money expert at insurance and financial comparison website mozo.com.au.

Suz xx



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