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How to avoid wasting cash before jetting off into sun

Even before take-off it's easy to fritter away money. Sarah Marshall finds out ways of saving those vital vacation pennies before you hit the runway

Before you've even boarded your plane, you can end up spending more than you anticipated. As the busy summer holiday season approaches, Richard Coleman, European director at Collinson, a global loyalty and benefits company, shares some tips for saving money at the airport.

1. Be smart with Duty Free

There can be a bargain to be had at Duty Free, especially if you know you'll use the item a lot and that it costs more outside of the airport. Avoid scouring the shelves and jump ahead of the queues by calling ahead to reserve the products you want.

2. Stay on top of special offers

It's not just Duty Free where you can make the most of your money. Many airports today offer their own memberships and apps, such as myGatwick, which not only provide lots of useful info and updates, but also detail a number of great offers available in shops, restaurants and other outlets.

3. Get phones and iPads fully charged

While it may sound simple, fully charge your phone or tablet so you have your in-flight entertainment sorted. Some airlines are looking to axe seat-back screens and charge passengers to access film and TV packages, so this is an easy way to avoid spending extra.

4. Look into premium lounge access

If you're a frequent traveller, signing up to a lounge programme can save money usually spent on food, drink and magazines. For example, a Priority Pass Standard Plus membership offers 10 free lounge entries for £159, that's complimentary drinks, food, newspapers and wi-fi for £15.90 a pop (and at the moment there's a 15% discount). Visit www. prioritypass.com.

5. Earn those loyalty points

More and more brands are evolving their loyalty programmes so members can earn and redeem points in smarter ways than ever before - and not just on flights. For example, Avios members can earn points on everyday shopping at high street brands, either online via the British Airways website or instore once you've registered your payment cards. This is a great way to earn extra loyalty points which you can then convert on your next holiday.

6. Pack correctly

Make sure your luggage is underweight and fits cabin baggage size guides - holidaymakers pay an average of £135 in extra baggage fees, according to the travel insurance company, Columbus Direct. Weighing your bag at home should be a standard part of any trip.

7. Buy extra luggage online

If you do plan to take more on-board, make sure you buy online through the airline, rather than at the airport to get the best rate. Also check how many cabin bags your airline allows you to take on board. For example, from January this year, Ryanair changed its policy to only allow priority boarders to take both one small bag and a larger cabin bag.

8. Organise currency in advance

This would be the ideal to get the best rate. However, if you don't have time to change your currency or even top up a travel card before you head to the airport, then head to an ATM to avoid being hit by the conversion fees of currency exchange kiosks or bureaus.

9. Plan travel to and from the airport

Whether you're travelling by train or parking at the airport, booking your tickets or space in advance can save a lot of money compared to purchasing on the day. Make sure you research your end destination too. For example, finding out if there is a flat transfer rate airport taxis should adhere to, or what public transport is available.

10. Investigate sleeping options for long layovers

Have a long layover in between connecting flights and want a comfortable sleep? You don't necessarily have to splash the cash on a hotel. Many airports now have cheaper sleeping options, from sleep pods at Dubai International Airport to private rooms at Minute Suites Atlanta International.

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