If you’ve been to an airport, you’ve probably been to a Hudson. With more than 1,000 stores across the country, the business is a fixture for the American traveler. (It’s better known as Hudson News but has re-branded to the single word. We’ll always think of it the former way.)
Hudson’s there when you had to throw away your soda at the security checkpoint and need a new one before your flight. It’s there when you forgot your headphones and can’t bear the idea of flying without listening to your favorite podcast. It’s there when you showed up way early and have hours to kill before boarding. This year, Hudson will even launch an app, dubbed “Hudson Blue,” so you can start perusing through items and promotions before you’ve even gotten to the airport.
And no, this isn’t sponsored content for Hudson; despite being a port in the storm, the store isn’t necessarily the greatest place for general shopping. Like many things at the airport, you can end up paying a premium for convenience. Some items are marked up a little, and others a lot. We’re breaking down the best and worst buys at everyone’s favorite airport store so you don’t have to.
– Get: Souvenirs
Every Hudson is going to feel a little different, thanks to the store’s dedication to stocking its shelves with local tchotkes. There’s a wealth of city-specific trinkets, like snow globes, magnets, keychains, mugs and stuffed animals. If you’re headed home and forgot to get someone a little something, the good folks at Hudson will save you from leaving empty-handed. Grab your uncle a couple Denver shot glasses and call it a day.
– Skip: Clothing
Are the souvenirs at Hudson kitschy and good? Yes, worth all $6 to $12. But when you’re talking apparel, everything changes. Bargains they are not. Walk away from the clothing racks at Hudson, unless you’re desperate for a sweatshirt on your flight and there’s no other option. You do not need an “Everything is bigger in Texas” T-shirt for $16.99. You do not need a $29.99 Dallas armadillo baseball cap.
– Get: Neck pillow
Honestly, we’d buy a neck pillow at whatever cost if the alternative is a long-haul or red-eye without one. Neck pillows can be an essential crutch for sleeping on a plane, one of the most awkward and uncomfortable challenges of the human experience. A Cloudz microbead travel pillow will set you back $19.99, and the Cabeau Evolution S3 pillow will for $39.99. Both are about $10 more in the store than if ordered online. Worth it when you’re in a bind, in our opinion.
– Get: Postcards
Your trip is over, and you’re heading home. You’re ambling around the airport waiting to get going, scrolling through your phone for the seven-trillionth time. Stop by Hudson and grab a postcard or two. For a buck or two, they’re a cheap way to show someone you’re thinking of them, and subtly drop that you got to spend time in Miami (or at least the Miami International Airport).
– Get: TSA-compliant personal travel kit
Did a TSA agent make you throw out your too-big toothpaste, mouthwash or shampoo? Lucky for you, Hudson stocks a kit that passes its test and comes with things to stay fresh, smooth and suave on the go. It includes: body lotion, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving gel, a disposable razor, a comb and a toothbrush. Plus, it’s only $12.99. Cobbling these toiletries together on your own would cost you well over $13.
– Skip: Electronics
Unless you’re desperate, do not buy electronics (on brand or off-) at a Hudson. Two examples: Instead of paying $29.99 on the Apple website for headphones, you’ll pay $49.99 at Dallas/Fort Worth International, or pay $49.99 for a Belkin Lightning-to-USB cable that you could have had for $21.
– Get: Antibacterial hand wipes
Tray tables aren’t always individually cleaned after every flight. Whatever’s left over from the passengers before you – passengers who may have drooled or changed a diaper on that tray – is still there when you flip it down. Should you show up at the airport without wipes, pick some up at Hudson, and clean for peace of mind. At $1.99, they’re a low-cost way to improve your experience.
– Skip: Books
It is with great sadness that we report that books are not a great buy at Hudson, despite the store starting out as an oasis for the printed word. You’ll find yourself overpaying for books, like Don Yaeger’s “Great Teams,” by about $10 when at the airport, vs. online before your trip.
– Get: Reading glasses
Whether you lost them, broke them or left them at home, don’t try to navigate the airport without your glasses. Hudson sells basic ones that cost the same price as they would online.
– Skip: Snacks and drinks
The stakes are low when we’re talking food, but know that you’re paying more for concessions at a Hudson. Maybe not way, way more, but more. If you’re a frequent flier keeping a watchful eye on your discretionary spending, pack your snacks at home. You can score an eight-flavor variety pack of Snack Factory Deli Style Crunchy Pretzel Cracker Crisps for about $30 online, or pay more than $6 for one pack (one-eighth of that bundle) at a Hudson.