How to Avoid Hidden Costs While You Travel
Getting a deal is just the start of a great vacation, but learning as much as you can about hidden fees is your best bet to stay on budget. Consider our tips for saving on costs that aren’t always clearly in view.
Airline baggage: Luggage allowances have fallen steadily in recent years, with both legacy and low-cost carriers now charging fees for multiple bags. Pack lightly and check your airline's allowance for luggage and specialty equipment like golf clubs and car seats. If there is a fee, pay it online rather than at the airport, so you skip the extra charge. Some airlines are also waiving fees for those holding credit cards tied to their mileage programs.
Currency charges: Most credit and debit card providers charge a “loading fee” whenever you access money overseas. It's usually absorbed into the quoted exchange rate, so do your math before agreeing to a currency conversion. Most ATM machines also add fees for approximately three percent of the withdrawal amount.
Rip-off rental cars: Don't double up on collision and damage cover if your credit card or insurance provider already protects you. Watch out for late return fees, as some companies charge one full day's rental if you're just an hour past your due time. Filling up the gas tank before you return the vehicle could also help avoid an unexpected penalty.
Hotel fees: Like the airlines, many hotels advertise their lowest price while adding extra surcharges in the fine print. Things to watch out for include 'resort fees' (usually a non-optional payment for pool or gym access), compulsory housekeeping visits, and even checking out early.
Airport check-in: If you're traveling with a European low-cost carrier like Ryanair, it's important to remember that, like baggage, any service they provide will set you back more at the airport, which includes the 'frill' of checking in. Online check-in not only helps you avoid extra fees, it also adds to the convenience of traveling.