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November 22, 2021

Is there really anything worth buying at an airport?

Here we go again. Plane is late, Wi-Fi is slow, you’re killing time in the terminal, and there’s a stack of shops waiting to skim the cream off your carefully planned trip budget.

It's no secret. At an airport, there’s likely to be little or no competition for your business, and the prices (with, in Canada at least, Tim Hortons being a possible exception) on just about everything reflect that reality.

And everyone, from kiosk to high end, seems to making a buck, particularly if they understand how airport retailing really works.

Which is all the more reason for you to hold off whenever you can, argue the editors at Smarter Travel, citing a list of nine items that you should particularly still clear of in airports.

Like duty free shops, foreign currency exchanges, and souvenir kiosks to name a few.  

"Since currency exchange desks in airports often hit travelers with sky-high transaction fees, the airport is probably not the best place to exchange your money. It sure is convenient, so if you're willing to pay the price for that, so be it," Smarter Travel reports. 

 "A good strategy is to get foreign currency by taking out money at an ATM in your destination; this way, you'll likely get the best interbank exchange rate, which is usually much better than rates offered at airport exchange counters." 

Are you an airport shopper? Pure convenience or have you developed an effective way to shop?


By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...