In this day and age, it’s easy to research and book your travel plans online. Airlines, cruises and hotels offer slashed prices and special deals throughout the year in order to appear competitive, but hidden travel fees can add a lot to those base prices. From added airline service charges to unexpected cellphone charges, travel fees can add up…and quickly! Here are 6 Ways To Avoid Travel Costs, so you have more money for experiences, souvenirs, food or fancy cocktails 😉
1. Roaming Charges on Your Phone
Let’s talk about my cell phone use for a second – it’s OUT OF CONTROL. The first thing I do when I know I’m going to be traveling is research my phone plan’s limits and set myself up accordingly. International data roaming charges are often exorbitant. If you absolutely must have cell access while traveling, be sure to disable data roaming, or you will potentially get hit with a large phone bill when you get home. The way to do this is to locate the button that blocks international roaming and make sure it is activated. You need to check all your apps before landing in a foreign country as well. Turn off anything that is set on automatic. Otherwise, an app might keep refreshing itself at your expense. Trust me – it’s insane. I tend to turn my phone to airplane mode to avoid an unsightly bill and turn it on only when I know I have access to reliable wifi.
2. Airline Amenity Fees
Airlines no longer draw the line at extra baggage charges. Airlines have been charging for headsets for years. Now, they are beginning to charge for entertainment. Airline meals are no longer free. Some airlines are charging fees for soft drinks, tea, coffee and even bottled water. You might have to pay for wifi.
The solution is to bring your own amenities. A sweatshirt or coat, rolled up, provides an excellent pillow. I personally love having a pashmina on hand (and all my other carry on bag essentials) to use a a pillow or shawl/blanket. Take your own snacks along for a picnic mid-flight to avoid expensive inflight snacks. Download a book or a movie for the flight. We were recently on a flight that didn’t offer complimentary entertainment and it. was. dreadful.
3. Baggage Fees
If you want to avoid baggage fees, you can try to fit everything into your carry-on bag, but more and more, airlines are charging for overhead luggage space as well as cargo space. We signed up for the Delta SkyMiles card since Delta is our preferred carrier and not only do we earn miles on regular purchases, we get free checked bags. This isn’t an ad for Delta (they have no idea who I am), but if you’re reading – HI HELLO, WE LOVE YOU!
Research your options before booking your flight on baggage policies, because some airlines are pretty dang pricey in this department!
4. Car Rentals
Domestic airports have added a surcharge to cars rented from their premises. In some cases, it can double the cost of the car rental…GAH! Research your destination – do you even need a car or is public transportation reliable? If absolutely necessary, rent a car outside the airport. Another hidden fee is the added cost of one-way rentals. If you are planning to ditch your rental car at your destination, rather than return it to its original dealer, read fee charts carefully. Shop around for discounts, especially during peak local tourist season.
5. Airline Ticket Fees
Book your flight online. Most airlines add a surcharge for booking by phone or in person. If you prefer to talk to someone when making plans, ask them all your questions, but then go online to book your flight. I love Fly.com and SkyScanner for finding the best deals!
Important tip: Fees for changing your reservation have gone up. Check with the airlines to find out how much they charge if there’s any possibility of needing to change your flight time or schedule last minute. If you need to allow for the possibility, consider upgrading your seating. It might be worth flying first or business class if the airline allows free reservation changes at that level.
6. Resort Fees
You may think your vacation package covers everything, but not so fast. Many resorts charge a daily “use” fee just for being on the premises. This is kind of dicey, because sometimes…it’s just worth it! But – it isn’t always disclosed. Before booking, call ahead and ask the resort. Per FTC regulations, they have to disclose if they have one and what it is, per day. Hotels and resorts, of course, add charges to many amenities that are unavoidable, but beware of wifi fees. Some hotel chains offer free wifi, but luxury hotels are more likely to tack on a charge.
My best advice? Always do your research before setting up your out of office alert. Sometimes it seems like the research is never ending (particularly when venturing out of the country), but the more you save on traveling costs, the more you can spend on experiences. My personal choice? Food. Always food 😉
What are your best tips for avoiding travel costs?