If you've worked with me by now, you know I am a fan of budget airlines. I mean, why pay $1000 for a trip when you could pay $400 if you just plan ahead a little bit?
Here are my top tips for flying on a budget airline:
1) Pack light. If you can avoid checking a suitcase, you usually save yourself a large fee. Budget airlines bank on charging you for every little thing to make up for the low fare. We always bring one backpack and one small roller suitcase with a little bit of empty space on the way there.
2) Bring your own food. I can't emphasize this one enough. The main way these airlines make their money is by charging you when you are desperate. On the way there, I pack a HUGE lunch and dinner and snacks ahead of time. We both eat it on the plane and are happy as clams. I try to bring sweet things, fruit, veggies, crunchy snacks, and two main courses (sandwich and some sort of leftovers). On the way home, we make a stop at the grocery store wherever we are and load up on foreign grocery store food.
3) Bring TWO water bottles and fill them before you get on the plane. Most airlines don't charge for water, but another way they save money to get you a cheaper price is to down staff flight attendants. I have a serious fear of being without water for any amount of time (thanks pregnancy and nursing), so I hate waiting for a flight attendant to fill up my bottle.
4) Bring your own headphones! We are so bad at this. This is another way they get you. Many airlines offer TV, but charge you for headphones. So be one step ahead!
5) Lower your expectations. You get what you pay for. You are likely saving a TON of money flying budget, so if there are delays or things you don't expect, just roll with it. Honestly, it happens on nicer airlines too, so at least you aren't paying an arm and a leg to get delayed!
With a little advance planning, flying budget can be a great experience! It has been for us.