Budget airlines are probably no one’s ideal way to travel. One day I will splurge and fly somewhere first class, but until that day comes, budget airlines is where I’ll be. In reality as long as I get from Point A to Point B in a timely manner, I’m a happy camper.
Even if I’m going to be flying on a budget airline, I still want to be comfortable and avoid getting slammed with random fees. What’s the point of budget travel if you have to pay another $100 at the airport? No way!
Here’s a few tips I’ve picked up along the way to make flying on a budget airline more pleasant and fee-free.
Have your plane ticket ready.
No matter what budget airline you are flying, have your plane ticket BEFORE you get to the airport. Check the company’s website to see if you need to have a printed boarding pass or if one pulled up on your phone is acceptable. I kid you not that I have seen companies charge $15 per person to print the boarding pass at the airport. Brutal.
Check for hidden baggage fees beforehand.
My husband and I have recently been taking Spirit Airlines to travel within the United States. Spirit is great because it’s super cheap, but you have to BEWARE of hidden fees. On Spirit you only get one personal item for free. That means NO carry-on. You get a backpack or large purse. That’s it. To bring a carry-on, which you can on most other flights, it’s an additional $55! Eeek.
**This Buzzfeed article on what it’s like to fly on Spirit is hilarious. If you need a good laugh, read it here.
Invest in noise canceling headphones.
You’re probably thinking that for a “budget” post this is a pretty extravagant recommendation. You’re right, but I’m telling you that it is so worth it. I’ve had my Bose noise canceling headphones for 3 years now, and they are my #1 must have item for traveling.
You’re not going to be able to keep flying on budget airlines unless you are comfortable. Do yourself a favor and buy a pair of good headphones now. That way when the baby behind you starts crying or the people next to you are arguing, you can block all of that out and go to your happy place. Sweet, sweet silence!
Pack your own snacks.
Even if you think you won’t be hungry, bring some type of snack from home. Budget airlines DO NOT provide you with any type of free snack. If you’re hungry, you’ll pay for it. Literally. Any type of food or snack is not going to be cheap either. I’m talking $5 for a bag of chips territory. Don’t do that to yourself, pack something better from home! You’ll be happy you did!
Bring an empty water bottle to the airport.
Just like how snacks will cost you, beverages will too. Even water! One of my biggest pet peeves is spending money on water. You’d be surprised at how much money you end up spending when you are getting a bottle of water every day. Whenever I travel I bring an empty water bottle through security and then fill it up at the airport. This way you are saving money and the environment. 🙂
Prepare your own flight entertainment.
On a lot of budget airlines flights entertainment is either non-existent or super expensive. To save your sanity, decide what you are going to do on the flight in advance. Even if you plan on sleeping, have a backup. I’m always a fan of reading magazines or books. Downloading movies on iPads or other tablets is always a good option too!
Dress in layers.
If you are not at a comfortable body temperature, your flight is going to be miserable. I’ve been on some flights that are super hot and others that were freezing. No matter the season, dress in layers so that you can adapt to whatever the temperature is inside of the plane.
Get to the airport early.
I usually get to the airport early anyway to avoid being stressed, but everyone should definitely plan on arriving early if they are taking a budget airline. The security lines for budget airlines are usually much longer because there are fewer machines and people working. Don’t miss your flight and end up spending more money! Get to the airport with plenty of time so that you can walk onto the plane relaxed, rather than in a stressful panic.
You’re now ready for budget airline boarding!
I hope these tips help to make your next budget airline flight as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. Do you have any other tips? Share below!