Waiting for your flight to depart can turn into a surprisingly expensive experience, particularly if you don’t plan ahead. Here are 5 ways to save money at the airport.

Pack enough toys for the kids

With the prospect of a long international flight looming, it can be tempting for parents to impulse buy overpriced toys or picture books from airport stores. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be prepared. However, it’s much cheaper to purchase those extra supplies at a shopping centre near your home rather than next to the departure gate.

If in doubt, pay for checked baggage

If you are flying on a budget airline there is a good chance they will weigh your carry-on bag. And if it is overweight you will have to pay (a lot!). If in doubt, save yourself the grief (and the extra expense) by purchasing checked luggage. It’s MUCH cheaper than having to check your bag at the gate.

Pack your own snacks

If you are flying internationally, you won’t be able to bring any liquids through security, but there is nothing stopping you bringing along some food. Not only will this save you money, BYO dining options tend to be healthier too.

Carry a refillable water bottle

Most airports with drinkable water have water fountains dotted around the terminal. Skip the bottled water available for sale at the airport and bring an empty bottle to fill up once you’ve passed through security. Your wallet – and the environment – will thank you.

Bring a book from home

Skip the expensive retail stores and bring a book from home or load up a couple of favourite authors on your Kindle or iPad. Even better, you can read a chapter before you leave home to confirm the book is going to keep you entertained on a long flight.