Along the way, I of course needed to eat and drink several times.
But as we all know, eating and drinking at airports can be an expensive proposition. If you’re a couple or a family traveling anywhere, the cost of meals and drinks on the way can easily add $100 or more to the round trip cost of a ticket.
And it’s hardly as if those meals are memorable ones – more like fast food for 2-3X the price you’d pay outside the airport.
So suffice it to say that I truly hate spending the inflated prices demanded for food and drink at airport restaurants or stores and try to avoid it as much as possible.
So this is what I do instead.
I always pack myself a snack to tide me over for short flights.
I used to do trail mix, but I was actually on a flight not long ago that would not allow anything with nuts in it to be eaten or served, due to a passenger with a severe allergy.
I know from some of my past students that even the smell of certain allergens can cause a life-threatening reaction, so I'm happy to comply with such requests.
Now I avoid that scenario by packing snack crackers, pretzels, or chips, and an apple or two to tide me over. They work just fine.
Or if it's going to be a longer layover -- or a longer flight with no meal included -- I will also pack myself a sandwich. I choose a type that's not messy and wrap it in clear plastic, and so far, I've had no problem getting it through security.
Even if you don't want to make the snack or sandwich yourself, you'll still save at least half the price if you purchase any prepared foods you need outside the airport, so I'd suggest making a stop to do just that before you fly.
Of course we can't carry water through airline security, so I am in the habit of always carrying an EMPTY, reusable metal or Nalgene water bottle with me through the line.
I then fill it once I'm on the other side.
With bottled water running as much as $5 a bottle at some airports, that single step alone can save $40 for a traveling family on an airplane trip.
And it has definite health benefits, too. As we all know, hydration is very important when you fly, particularly for long, cross-continental or trans-oceanic flights. So, having a full one-liter water bottle at your seat can help you accomplish this more easily than if you have to constantly flag down the cabin crew.
This practical idea of bringing your own reusable and refillable water bottle is not limited to just airline travel either.
It's also an excellent habit to get into for any trip you go on, such as road trips, or train travel. It also works for the office and for school, as well as for when you run errands.
I keep one in my backpack pretty much at all times, and I recommend that you do the same. With the cost of store-bought water and beverages what they are, this simple habit can add up to major savings, particularly if you have children or a family.
Given all this, I have been very pleased to discover water-bottle filling stations at most of the airports and some train stations I've traveled through recently.
The one pictured at the top of this article is a fairly typical example.
They make refilling bottles much easier and are clearly geared to cutting down on bottled water use.
Sometimes you have to look for them, but they're becoming more and more common.
Not only do they save consumers money, they help cut down on plastic waste, as indicated in the picture below.
Which is a very good thing indeed.