This article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal highlight seven fees to avoid while travelling. While accurate and helpful, most of the tips on avoiding travel expenses are no-brainers for experienced travelers. I thought it quite basic and for the layman, and so I wanted to expand on their rationale and provide more insightful advice for readers.
7 fees / expenses to avoid
The seven travel expenses to avoid are below.
- Peak travel time costs (holidays, peak seasons, travel times)
- Parking fees for airports & cruises
- Airline baggage fees
- Hotel fees (internet, hotel services, amenities)
- Eating out costs
- Rental Car add-ons
- Foreign Transaction fees
Their Advice, and My Advice on Travel Expenses
Peak travel time costs
This one was pretty comprehensive – try to avoid peak travel time or seasons if possible, and do your due diligence. The general premise of most of this advice is be flexible. Understand that costs vary due to supply and demand. If many others want to travel at the same time, demand will be higher, and suppliers will price accordingly. Try different days, weeks, or times of the day to get a sense of price ranges.
I’d recommend users try many of the travel aggregate sites available, to compare pricing for everything from hotels, flights, car rentals, and more. I personally use Kayak and Trivago for my hotel bookings, and Google or Skyscanner for my flights. Of course, this assumes you have the patience and time to do so.
Parking fees for airports & cruises
This one is a no-brainer but could be a decision point for vacationers. The article recommends staying at a hotel near the airport or cruise area with free parking, to save the $20+ per day, and taking the hotel shuttle to the airport. This also has the secondary benefit of a possible cheaper morning flight for travelers.
I’d recommend travelers to include the cost of parking into their travelling agenda. If it’s cheaper to book an airport hotel than a week of parking, then that makes sense. Or, would it be easier/cheaper to take an Uber/Lyft to the airport? Perhaps an airport shuttle?
Alternatively, you can also look into private parking – with sites such as ParkingPanda & SpotHero, which may be cheaper.
This one (for me, the Hotelion), may be the most obvious. According to a tourism study, hotels are “increasingly charging for early check-in, holding luggage until a room is ready or after check-out and guaranteeing a specific room type”. I have not yet experienced any of those, but perhaps you might. The article recommends signing up for their loyalty program (yes, I know, it’s obvious) to earn points and stays.
I’d recommend being vigilant, and using Art of the Ask to see how you can avoid being charged for fees. The first step is to be aware and make sure you ask if you are unsure if something will cost you. If you accidentally or intentionally incur a charge (such as using their wifi), feel free to ask if there is anything they can do, to remove or mitigate the charge. The worst they can say is no, which would leave you in no worse a situation.
High Cost of Food
The article recommends looking for hotels with kitchenette or full kitchen, to offset some food costs by cooking. Alternatively, looking at one of the rental home options such as ABC may give you access to the same, at a lower nightly cost.
While this may make sense, do people really want to cook on their vacation? I could see this working out for tight-fisted individuals, or for families or large groups. Cooking is a bonding experience, and weighing the food savings versus the cost of getting a room with kitchenette/kitchen would be a valid concern.
Additionally, packing food for the initial trip to the airport and flight would save you significantly, compared to eating on the way or at the airport or on the plane.
Rental Car Additions
Don’t sign up for the insurance, check with your credit card or auto insurance provider, fill up gas before returning. All basic things.
However, they bring up a good point – not to rent the car from the airport due to airport fees. If you’re so inclined and have the time, you could look into rental cars away from the airport, and factoring in the cost differential of transport to and from the rental car office from the airport.
Foreign Transaction Fees
The article says get a card without foreign transaction fees, such as the Chase Sapphire or Starwood Preferred Guest American Express (my favorite). Additionally, be sure to withdraw cash with fee-free debit cards and accounts if possible, such as the Capital One 360. For me, even Ally Bank charges 1%, but that certainly beats any money exchange place in foreign countries.
While I felt much of the advice given in this article was quite rudimentary and obvious, there were some interesting tidbits that I did not know and felt were worthwhile. It makes for a great “first read” when considering vacationing costs, but above all I would recommend readers be flexible and knowledgeable. Lastly, be sure to do your own due diligence and research, comparing relevant benefits and costs when making your travel plans. Trivago, Google, Kayak, Orbitz, Hotels.com, etc. help aggregate the offers and make it easier for me to shop. Happy hunting!
Featured Image is of a vice tightening a wallet from Pixabay. Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links which, should you click through and/or make a purchase, grant me a commission. I only post in the best interest of my readers, and I thank you for supporting my blog and my travels.
What do you think of my writing? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments, or reach me directly at TheHotelion@gmail.com! Like my posts? See more here, on TravelUpdate! Follow me on Facebook (The Hotelion) or on Twitter and Instagram: @TheHotelion