Budget Better: 5 best things to buy duty-free at the airport

How to Buy Duty-Free

You've heard it before: Most things at the airport are a total rip-off. Traveling necessities like food, refillable water bottles, books, socks and electronics should always be packed from home so you can avoid inflated airport prices.

SEE ALSO: 11 things you should always buy at Costco

The costs of goods typically surge at airports because of supply and demand. An airport eatery or shop is a traveler's only option for a last-minute purchase or meal, so if a traveler is in a bind, he or she will shell out the cash. In addition, airport rent space is very expensive for vendors, so retailers often hike the prices of their products to make a profit.

Check out a list of 7 items to avoid in an airport at all costs here.

However, some items in duty-free shops (otherwise known as tax-free) are actually worth the buy. So if you're in a scramble for a few things before your flight, we compiled a list of the best steals.

1. Alcohol

In duty-free shops, alcohol is a great steal without tax, and can be anywhere from 25-50% off compared to domestic prices. Plus, according to TSA, you can bring up to 3.4 oz on the plane, and mini bottles of alcohol are usually about 1.7 oz, so you can easily throw your purchase into your carry-on!

2. Tobacco products

Just like alcohol, you can also find great deals on tobacco products including cigars and cigarettes pre-tax.

3. Hair and skincare products

Premium beauty products can be up to 50% at duty-free shops.

4. Makeup

Similar to hair and skin products, you can find top-notch makeup at airports with huge discounts.

5. Magazines

Although magazines are on the pricier side at airports, if you want some light reading for the plane, you can still grab a copy for a few bucks. It may cost a little more than you'd usually pay somewhere else, but the price difference isn't huge. And if it'll get you through the flight, this purchase is worth it.

Check out the items that you should steer clear of buying at an airport below:

items to avoid buying at the airport
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items to avoid buying at the airport
Wireless internet is often a necessity in order to keep in contact with your loved ones. Before you make the decision to purchase it at an airport, however, check to see if there is a local Starbucks or coffee shop where Wi-Fi will more than likely be free to use. 
If you're looking for a last-minute gift then purchasing a souvenir from a shop inside the airport may be necessary. If you are able to stop beforehand, you may want to avoid buying a gift from the airport. Oftentimes, airports will increase the price of souvenirs that can probably be found somewhere else for a more reasonable price. 
Bottled Water 
You may not realize it, but on average, bottled waters inside airports are about three dollars. You can avoid this trap, however, by purchasing a reusable water bottle or even emptying your water bottle before you go through the security checkpoint and refilling at a fountain once you get inside. 
Neck Pillow
This is a common item that can be purchased online. If you aren't able to, however, buy one before you get to the airport to avoid paying double the market price for one. 
Much like many of the other items on this list, snacks are extremely overpriced in airports. The best deal is to buy snacks in bulk and bring a few with you to last throughout your flight.
Reading a book is a perfect way to pass time while waiting for your flight -- but if you purchase a book at the airport, don't be surprised if it happens to be 40 to 50 percent higher than what it would be in a bookstore. 

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