The airport is a liminal space where – if you’re not careful – it’s easy to part with tons of your cash. There are so many things to buy, and once you’re through security, you’re basically a captive audience. Here are the most overpriced items at the airport.

Bottled Water

The real reason airport bottled water can be two or even three times the cost of what you would pay at a grocery store is customer demand. You can’t pass through airport security with liquids larger than three ounces, which means most travelers buy bottled water on the other side. But you can save if you’re savvy. Just bring an empty bottle and fill it up on the other side of security. Bonus – it’s good for the environment!


Anyone who’s ever paid $15 for a soggy ham and cheese sandwich with wilted lettuce knows this one stings! Or how about a $25 beer? Unless you’re truly fine with spending triple what a meal might cost outside the airport, we urge you to being your own snacks.


Ugh! Who hasn’t had to hit up airport shops for a t-shirt or tchotchke for a loved one. For us, it’s usually when we put off getting something for the entire trip until it’s dang near too late! Don’t add insult to injury and overspend. Plus, if you pay for souvenirs at the airport, you’re not putting money back into the local economy. Buy souvenirs from small businesses and local artisans to make a positive impact.


Forget your earbuds or phone charger? Prepare to pay through the nose for a replacement at the airport. What’s the fix for this? Pre-game and pack these items first so you aren’t caught in a scramble at the airport.

In-flight WiFi

Unless you’re traveling for business and the boss is paying, we recommend you pass up the expensive in-flight WiFi.


Again, airport vendors know that customers will pay for items they forgot to bring. Download a book before you leave home, so you have something to read on the plane that won’t cost you $10 or $20 more than it would elsewhere.

While airports may be notorious for their inflated prices, armed with a bit of foresight and planning, you can navigate the concourse with your budget unscathed. Pack your essentials, resist the allure of last-minute purchases, and save your cash for the experiences that truly matter at your destination. 


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