Guides Los Angeles 10 Things to Know About Dining & Shopping on a Budget at LAX

10 Things to Know About Dining & Shopping on a Budget at LAX

City Guide September 25, 2023


If you find yourself at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), one of the busiest airports globally, you must be savvy about dining and shopping to make the most of your budget. Consider devising a meal plan and creating a shopping list, especially if you prefer to grocery shop or include more fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet. Here are 10 things you should know about LAX: navigating the bustling terminals, finding the best spots for affordable and delicious eats, and ensuring your LAX Airport experience is efficient and satisfying for your palate and pocket.

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When it comes to dining and shopping on a budget at LAX, there are several key factors to keep in mind. From exploring the tastes favored by locals to discovering hidden gems in this bustling destination for the family, there's a variety of options available. Savvy travelers know that Beverly Hills isn't the only place for a great meal or a unique shopping experience—there are numerous alternatives that won't break the bank. Let's dive into the top 10 things you should know about getting the most out of your dining and shopping experience at LAX!


1. Terminal Choices Matter

As a major hub, LAX offers a range of dining and shopping options. For those dining on a budget, familiar names like McDonald's and Subway are present in most terminals, making it easy to stick to your grocery budget. Additionally, explore lesser-known eateries for hidden gems that offer affordable, quality meals. Feel free to ask locals or airport staff for their recommendations on budget-friendly dining spots.


2. Arrivals Level Shopping

Before heading to the departure gates, check the arrivals level for budget-friendly shopping options. You might find more affordable items compared to those located after security checks. Look for duty-free shops and clearance sections for significant discounts on clothing, electronics, and souvenirs. Consider timing your shopping to coincide with sales events or promotions for even greater savings.


3. Tom Bradley International Terminal for Variety

If you're heading on an international flight, take advantage of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. It offers a diverse range of dining and shopping options, allowing you to compare prices and find options that suit your budget. Look out for specialty stores offering unique, locally-made products that can make for memorable souvenirs without breaking the bank.


4. Opt for Local Grocery Stores

For those looking to save money on groceries, consider visiting local stores instead of relying solely on airport shops. Prices at local grocery stores are generally more reasonable than their airport counterparts. Plus, you can buy in bulk for your grocery list. Look for stores near the airport or consider using a ride-sharing service for a quick trip to nearby supermarkets.



5. Seize Happy Hour Deals

Happy hour deals at airport bars and restaurants can be a boon for budget-conscious travelers. Take advantage of discounted prices on food and beverages during specific times, and save money on your grocery bill. Check the airport's website or ask airport staff about establishments offering happy hour deals and their times.


6. Leverage Credit Card Benefits

When shopping or dining at LAX, use a credit card with rewards or cashback benefits. This way, you can save money on both dining and shopping expenses. Compare prices and offerings before swiping your credit card. Additionally, consider cards that offer travel-specific perks, such as airport lounge access or discounts with partner vendors.


7. Plan Ahead for Maximum Savings

You can enjoy a satisfying dining experience at LAX without overspending by exploring your options and adhering to a food budget. Take advantage of available rewards programs to save money on groceries. Look into loyalty programs offered by specific restaurants or shops at the airport, as they often provide discounts, freebies, or points that can be redeemed for future savings.


8. Buy in Bulk for Snacks

Planning to buy snacks for your journey? Consider buying in bulk. Some shops at LAX offer discounts for purchasing larger quantities, helping you save money on groceries for your trip. Look for stores that offer package deals or promotions on snacks and non-perishable items, allowing you to stock up without straining your budget.



9. Keep a Grocery List of Essentials

If you plan to pick up groceries at the airport, list the essentials you need. This can help you stay focused and avoid impulse purchases, ultimately saving you money on items you may not need. Stick to your list and prioritize items that are necessary for your trip. Avoid unnecessary indulgences that can quickly add up in cost.


10. One of the Busiest Airports

Remember, LAX is one of the busiest airports globally. Being prepared and informed about where to eat and where to shop on a budget can significantly enhance your experience. Take advantage of digital resources like airport apps or websites for real-time information on deals, discounts, and the best budget-friendly options available during your visit.

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