Unexpected Travel Expenses and How to Avoid Them
So you've decided on your budget, booked your trip and are ready to go, but somehow there are fees you didn't account for! These hidden fees can sometimes be a burden, especially for budget travelers.
Here are a few common fees and how you can avoid them:
#1: Baggage/Overweight Fees:
When booking your flight, also research the airlines fees for bags. Some airlines charge for carry on bags as well if you are choosing those cheap budget flight deals, so read the fineprint! Also consider leaving your toiletries at home or investing in refillable travel sized carriers so you can save on the baggage fee and avoid checking your bag. If you must check your bag, be sure to check the weight and size requirements and invest in a baggage scale to help you keep on track.
#2: Hotel booking fees:
Look for those hidden resort fees or tourist taxes in the fine print when you're booking your hotel. Some resorts require a daily fee that's taken during check-in. Be sure to look for those ahead of time. Additionally, when booking your hotel, click all the way to the page where you would enter your card information so you can see the applicable taxes and fees.
#3: Roaming charges:
Don't just assume you can use your phone like you do at home on your trip. You can research ahead of time to see if your plan includes international coverage and what your charges will be to use your phone to call or text. Also turn off the roaming feature so that your phone isn't using the data in the background. Use wifi when possible or consider investing in a local sim card at your destination depending on how long you would be traveling.
#4: Debit/Credit card fees:
The first thing I always do, is let my bank know I'm traveling so I have access to my cards. However, it's also important to know what fees you will be charged, if any, when using your cards. Consider investing in a credit card with no foreign transaction fees and other perks!
Like any insurance, you don't know you need it until you have some sort of emergency. When planning for a trip, consider getting travel insurance to help protect you but also keep an emergency fund available to you if possible.
So you've booked the hotel and rental car for your trip, but did you check to see if the hotel offers free parking or if you have to pay a daily fee for valet? Be sure to do the research and even consider if nearby parking structures might actually be cheaper.
#7: Built in Gratuities:
Going on a cruise? Be sure to either prepay your gratuities or expect a bill for gratuities to show up under your door if it wasn't already included. When you book your cruise, you can see a quote that includes the port fees and gratuities. This can help you avoid that extra bill at the end!
#8: Shore Excursions:
So you've made it to the cruise but what will you do at each stop? Consider pre-booking these to save on the cost. You can even research shore excursions or activities at the destinations which are usually cheaper than booking them through the cruise line. Alternatively, consider taking a cruise where these are included. However, remember that you would still perhaps need to cover expenses like souvenirs and food while on the excursion!
When booking a cruise or even a hotel, consider the fee for service. On cruises, you can pre-book packages or consider being disconnected while at sea! Once you dock at the different destinations, you can usually find free wifi at some of the restaurants or different community spaces. For hotels, be sure to check the fine print and perhaps look up coffee shops in the area where you may be able to access free wifi.
#10: Rental Insurance:
Another unexpected expense when renting a car, is rental insurance. In some instances, you may be able to use your own rental policy or if you're traveling internationally, your credit card company may actually offer collision coverage when you reserve the car with your card. Be sure to call your insurance company and ask about the coverage available to you for rental cars ahead of time so you can make an informed decision.
The next time you go to book your trip, consider these fees and be sure to consult with your travel agent to help you make the most out of your trip!