Traveling by air is a luxury compared to hopping on a crowded bus or driving hundreds, even thousands of miles by automobile. When we book a flight either domestically or internationally, even the best rates can be real wallet busters. On top of airfare, there are lots of other ways we waste money when it is not necessary. People think they need to shell out tons of cash in order to “fly the friendly skies.” But the sky doesn’t seem quite so cordial when you are down to your last dollar. At that point, why not stay home?

Why waste your hard-earned money when you can pay far less or even score some decent stuff for free? Wouldn’t that make traveling by air even more amazing? From booking to boarding and everything in between, here are 15 legit ways people waste money and 10 ways to get freebies when you fly. Are those dollar signs in your eyes?

The next time you plan a trip via airplane, remember to review this list so you not only save but score! Check out these super-useful air travel tips and have a safe (and cheaper) trip. Now that’s a “bon voyage” you can bank on!

25 Booking at the Last Minute…The Early Bird Gets the Deal 

Wait ‘till the last minute and your options will be limited. Sure, there is a chance you can score a super deal at the 11th hour, but chances are the selections will be slim and you’ll have to pay the price for being the last one to the table. When you have more flexibility and time, you can shop around for deals. But if you must travel at the last minute, be prepared to feel the hit to your wallet. Of course, sometimes things pop up and there is no way around it, but if you can, book sooner rather than later if you want to find decent rates.

24 Buying Snacks After You Get to Your Gate…Bring Your Own 

Once you are “trapped” at your gate, whatever is being sold is likely marked up big time. Where else would you spend $7 on a bag of peanuts or indulge in a $15 ham sandwich? But when there are no other food options, you are stuck paying whatever the price is. Next time remember to pack your own snacks and sandwiches so you can eat something pre-flight without spending your last buck. It’s not like the food at the airport is any better than what you can bring from home…it just costs more. And if you’ve got the whole family with you, you’ll go broke before boarding.

23 Flying Business Class…Is it Really So Special? 

Booking first or business class seems like a dream. Wider seats, more leg room, and better food and service. Unless you are traveling on a very long flight, paying so much more for this section of the airplane is a major waste. Suck it up and sit in coach. The seats may not be as stylish and your armrest may be occupied, but the savings is considerable. You may have enough money to afford a special seat towards the front of the aircraft and those warm cookies are tempting, but why not spend it on something else when you arrive at your destination?

22 Drink the Free Stuff. Why Waste Your Wad on Wine?

The drink cart coming down the aisle is one of the best parts of any flight. You may be parched or just bored and a drink is a perfect way to pass the time. Lots of free drinks are offered from soda pop to apple juice to hot coffee. There are “adult beverages” available too, but they don’t come cheap. Perhaps a glass of vino will calm your flying anxiety, but the cost will give you another reason to freak out. Stick to the tomato juice and lay off the hard stuff. You don’t want to arrive at your destination with a hangover anyway.

21 Don’t Forget Your Earphones/Headphones, They May Charge You for a Pair

Most flights offer an in-air movie or television. But you will need earphones or headphones so you can hear what’s being played. If you forget to bring along your own pair, the flight attendant may come around with some you can use, even keep. But not every airline gives these away free of charge. What a waste to spend money on a crappy pair of headphones that you probably will never use again. Be sure to remember to take your own pair along for the ride in your carry on luggage. Trying to watch the movie with no sound will make little sense.

20 Get Dropped Off at the Airport – Parking’s Expensive

Hopefully, you can rely on a friend or family member to drop you off at the airport. Even taking a cab can be cheaper than leaving your car parked there, especially if you will be gone for a while. Wasting money on parking when you’ve already spent enough for the flight is aggravating. But if you opt to park at the port, you can’t really negotiate on the price. If you ask someone ahead of time to get you to the airport safely and on time, they’ll be grateful when you return the favor if and when they need to travel by air.

19 Don’t Buy Mags at the Rack, Read the In-Flight Periodicals

Once you arrive at the airport, you won’t be able to walk a few steps before you spy a magazine rack. And with all the kiosks and little convenience shops every few feet, there are dozens of places to purchase magazines. In-flight reading surely passes the time, but if you load up with a few magazines, you’ll have wasted a chunk of change in a matter of minutes. Instead of buying magazines you’re likely to leave behind on the plane, read whatever is in that pouch in front of your seat. Or better yet, bring a book and you won’t be tempted to reach for the racks.

18 Pack Light…That Baggage Fee is No Fun

Even if your plane ticket wasn’t too costly, wait ‘till you find out what it’ll cost you to check your bags. That’s where they can really hit you with out of control prices. Even one checked bag can cost a lot, making you wonder why you decided to bring so many pairs of shoes in the first place. Think before you load up another piece of luggage. Pack light and you won’t waste money on baggage fees. Just take a carry on bag and stow it in the overhead compartment. Nobody will care if you wear the same pair of jeans two nights in a row.

17 Your Non-Stop Flight Can Cost Way More than One With a Connection

Taking a non-stop flight is super convenient. But is it so great when the cost can be a lot more than a flight with a connection or two? If you are willing to deal with a layover, you can save a considerable amount of money on your next flight. Check the flight deals online or chat with your reservationist and be open to exploring a flight with a connection (or more). You may not get to your final destination in one smooth step, but the savings is worth boarding multiple times. Plus, there’s always the fun in checking out different airports while you wait for the connecting flight.

16 Forget Your Frequent Flyer Miles? Big Mistake

If you fly often or use a credit card that offers flyer miles with your card purchases, forgetting to use them when you book a flight is a total waste. Those points really add up and can save you lots of money on airfare when applied properly. Before booking a flight, find out how many frequent flyer miles points you’ve already racked up and make sure you make the most of them. Sometimes, they don’t last forever, so use them while you can. Saving on your next trip is a reason to be glad you paid by credit card rather than cash.

15 Split Up the Family. Booking Seats Next to One Another Can Cost More

If you are willing to sit next to a stranger rather than your spouse, book your seats in different sections of the plane and you may find a valuable way to save. Trying to book two or more seats together can be a waste when it comes to getting the best deal. If seats are open for better rates but they aren’t side by side, book those rather than finding seats right next to one another. If splitting up means saving some money, you can meet up at the gate when you land. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

14 For-Sale Food In-Flight is Overpriced…Ask for More Free Peanuts

Most airlines hand out free snacks like small bags of salted peanuts or mini pretzels but many airlines also offer a pay-for package – foods you can buy in-flight. From sandwiches to hummus spreads to salads and more, these in-flight menu options may be tempting, but they are far from cheap. It’s a waste to spend on these noshes when you can ask your flight attendant for another bag of free snacks instead. It may be fun to order off the menu, especially when your stomach is grumbling, but isn’t saving your money even more enjoyable? Another bag of peanuts please!

13 Your Baby Can Sit On Your Lap. Don’t Get An Extra Seat

If you have a baby, booking an airline seat in their name is a complete waste of money. You are allowed to hold your bundle of joy on your lap. And even if you do pay for that extra seat, chances are that you’ll be holding the baby for the entire flight anyhow. Save your money and let someone else book the seat. Your baby will feel much more secure in your arms and you’ll free up another seat for a traveler heading to the same destination. For their sake, let’s hope the baby doesn’t cry or scream for the duration of the flight!

12 Cancel at the Last Minute and It’ll Cost Ya

Cancellation fees are infuriating. And sometimes you won’t get back a dime. Or, you’ll need to apply what you’ve already spent on another flight. Of course, we cannot plan everything as things happen that are out of our control, but when you can, don’t cancel, especially at the last minute. It’s not like a restaurant reservation no-show – these airlines will milk all they can from you. If you must cancel, be sure to cover all bases to see what you can get back. Otherwise, that cancellation will be very costly. Planning ahead is important, but when unforeseen circumstances intervene, the first place that gets hit is your wallet.

11 Arrive at the Airport Too Early and You’ll Overspend on Snacks and Things to Kill Time

Wasting time is one thing, but wasting money can be an even bigger bummer. It’s advised to arrive at the airport early before your flight, but get there too soon and you’ll find yourself milling around and probably spending money wastefully. You’ll buy cups of coffee, magazines, snacks, and souvenirs. All the little things may not seem like much on their own but add up every purchase and before long you’ve spent as much as you would have for a nice meal out. Instead of wasteful spending, sit in a seat and chat with your travel mate or catch up on emails. If you are really hungry, find a low-priced snack to hold you over.

10 Score: Complain About Your Last Flight to Customer Service

If you didn’t feel like your last flight was up to par, contact customer service to gripe about your dissatisfaction. Chances are, they’ll do something for you for your troubles. Perhaps you will score a voucher or some freebies for your next flight. It never hurts to ask, so when you call, suggest something you can use and the airline may be willing to accommodate. Don’t expect something extravagant like a free round-trip flight to Bali, but even a little gesture can go a long way. Satisfaction is their ultimate goal, so turn your complaint into something worth your while.

9 Score: Sign Up for Airline Newsletters and Alerts for Special Savings and Deals

It may seem annoying to see your inbox flooded with even more emails, but sometimes these emails can include something worth looking into. Not everything is “spam” or junk. If you sign up for airline newsletters and alerts, you may find savings and freebies in your inbox or even via text message. Most of the time, you probably won’t much care what they’re sending, but every so often, you’ll take a quick peek and see something that piques your interest. It only takes a moment to peruse a mailing, so spare a sec and seek out savings. Isn’t a freebie worth a click?

8 Score: Book Coach and Get Bumped Up on a Flight That’s Not Filled

The best freebie is the one that’s least expected. Every so often, someone doesn’t show up for their first class seat or the plane isn’t booked to capacity. You could become that lucky soul in coach who gets bumped up to the front of the plane. This usually happens to frequent fliers or someone with other points or privileges with the airline. Don’t hold your breath, but there is a chance you’ll find yourself sitting among the elite near the cockpit. Celebrate with a glass of champagne and spread out and stretch your legs. This bump-up isn’t likely to happen twice, so enjoy your good fortune for this flight.

7 Score: Use a Co-Branded Credit Card for Free Baggage Check

Some airlines partner with major credit card companies, and when you use that card, you gain special privileges with the airline. For instance, the airline may waive baggage check fees when you book your flight with the co-branded credit card. It’s well worth using this co-branded card, as those baggage fees can really add up, especially if you have lots of heavy luggage or you are traveling with family. Stick to the co-branded card and the airline will reward you with such savings. The flight may not be free but at least checking luggage won’t cost you extra. Plus, you can use this card when you shop elsewhere as well and likely rack up frequent flyer miles.

6 Score: Some Airlines Will Put You Up at a Hotel for Free on a Long Layover

Sometimes a layover isn’t just an hour wait. Depending upon where you’re traveling, the layover can be long, even overnight. Usually, you would think to book a hotel room or even stick it out at the airport. But check with the airline. Some may just pay for your hotel room if the layover is unreasonably long. Perhaps a flight was canceled and the airline is at fault. Why should you foot the bill for their bad timing? Before you book, contact a customer service rep. Wouldn’t it be nice to sleep in a bed rather than an airport chair? And when you don’t have to pay for it, you’re sure to have a good night’s sleep!