Duty-Free cosmetics shopping aside, an airport may just be the worst excuse for a shopping mall on the planet. If you’re packing your luggage in a hurry because you have a flight to catch and figure, hey, if I forget anything, I’ll just pick it up at a shop in the airport, you’re pretty much setting yourself up to spend more money than necessary on goods that cost less at most drugstores.
So, what’s one of the absolute worst things you can buy at an airport? Over-the-counter drugs like headache medications — and snacks and beverages — basically, any impulse purchase that you really want in the moment, but that could have easily been purchased for a lot less money outside of the airport.
“When you buy medicine at the airport, you’re stuck choosing among name brands because airport shops aren’t going to carry less expensive generic brands,” says Anna Maria Cupido, an airline employee. “The same rule applies for bottled water and snacks. You’ll save more money packing food and beverages from home or even getting them from a fast food chain within the airport then you will at an airport gift shop, where prices tend to be higher.”
While you’re shopping at an airport, you may also want to avoid buying headphones and neck pillows. The obvious fact that you’re nabbing them for the sole purpose of making your flight more comfortable guarantees you’ll be more willing to spend a few more dollars on these items. And airports know that.
Your safest airport shopping bet: stick to duty-free spirits and cosmetics goodies you can only get overseas.
For more travel tips, check out The best tech products I can’t travel without and Packing for holiday travel: How to kill it in 5 steps.
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