Do You Compromise Too Much to Save on Travel?


road warrior's guide to compromiseThanks to excessive TSA rules and sequester-fueled flight delays, we’ve all learned to be much more patient when it comes to travel inconveniences—not to mention savvy about what’s really worth paying extra for … a $30 baggage check-in fee, really?!

But when are certain compromises just not worth the hassle?

Case in point: Is booking a 4:00 a.m. flight in order to save $100 really in your best interest if it means having to get to the airport at 2:00 in the morning?

We decided to look at six common concessions that travelers make to save money—and then asked experts to weigh in on whether they really make sense for you.

1. Is it cost-effective to buy overpriced, travel-sized toiletries to avoid paying a baggage fee?

The quick answer: yes. There’s no question that TSA-approved toiletries will make your trip smoother—and save you money.

Even if you spend an extra $20 for travel-sized items, don’t forget that the alternative is paying to check your luggage on both legs of your trip. With baggage fees continually rising, this could translate into at least $50 total on most airlines.

An even better option, recommends Chris Lopinto, co-founder of, is to buy a set of reusable, three-ounce, travel-sized containers, which you can buy at most pharmacies for a few dollars. Fill them up with your own shampoo and mouthwash each time that you travel, and you’ll never have to shell out for special travel-sized toiletries again.

For frequent fliers like Lopinto, this question is a no-brainer because checking bags doesn’t just cost money—it also slows you down. “I don’t like to check bags, even when there’s no fee,” says Lopinto. “It’s easier to keep your bags with you, especially if you have a connecting flight and you run the risk of losing it. For me, you can’t put a price on time saved.”

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  • wonkybusker

    I think the reason bidding sites now focus more on hotels is because that’s where the deals are. Airlines have much more flexibility to cut or add flights to routes as needed, giving them less unused inventory and less incentive to offer their product at a discounted rate.