With the holiday travel season just right around the corner, the roads and airways are sure to get crowded. With constant hikes in prices at the check-in desk, it’s always a top priority to keep a tight grip on your budget. An interesting 2012-2013 end of year holiday travel study performed by the American Automobile Association estimated that more than 90 million people were expecting to travel at least 50 miles and another 5 million would be traveling by airplane.
These figures are higher than the previous year, and every year since those numbers have only continued to rise. Want to find out even more ways to beat the hidden costs of travel this holiday? Pay attention to these helpful tips and save yourself a headache and a few dollars along the way.
Set Aside Your Cell Phone
One of the most overlooked hidden costs of travel is associated with those addicting smartphones we all use so often each day. Being hyper-connected to all of our social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can cost a whole lot more than we realize if we’re traveling internationally. Data roaming charges are terrible and if they’re not managed properly. They will add up more quickly than you can believe.
Stephanie Clark is an About.com contributor that shared her personal story with outrageous data roaming charges on About.com’s iPhone Roaming Horror Stories page. She was crushed by a nearly $2,000 bill from her wireless provider after a four day cruise vacation. She turned off her “Fetch Data” and “Data Roaming” options along with enabling Airplane Mode. She never used her email or apps and she only disabled Airplane Mode once to make a very quick phone call. Even after purchasing a Wi-Fi package aboard the ship, she still ended up with an exorbitant $1,700 bill! To avoid running into a nightmarish situation like Stephanie experienced, you should make it a point to completely disconnect from your social networks and internet needs for the duration of your international trip.
Downsize Those Bags
Packing for a trip can prove to be even more stressful than checking in and getting through security at the airport! It seems a part of human nature to over pack and bring more than you need in the fear that you might forget something. If you’re traveling by plane to your destination, save coins by cutting out the hidden costs of travel associated with baggage fees.
- Each of the airlines have their own specific regulations. While most of them offer one free carry-on bag, others may not. Check out the exact limitations for the airline that you’re flying with to guide your packing.
- If possible, only pack a carry-on bag for your trip. The shorter your trip is, the less you should pack and in turn, the less you’ll have to pay at check-in.
- Leave the toiletries at home: you can always pick up appropriately-sized ones whenever you get to where you’re going.
Opt for the Middle
It’s hard to swallow, but if you’re one of those folks that needs an aisle or window seat on a plane, you’re probably paying extra for your preference. You could be spending as much as $30 extra on a domestic flights and $60 on an international flight for that window or aisle seat! If you can deal with it, just take that middle seat and cross your fingers that someone doesn’t show up for the flight: you could always switch seats right before takeoff.
International Transaction Fees
When planning a vacation overseas, there are a million things to consider from hotel rooms to sites to see to restaurants to try. When you’re out having dinner in some foreign eatery, you might not realize the inflated hidden costs of travel being charged on top of your meal bill. Some credit card companies charge as much as 3% per international transaction! Cut down on the number of times you swipe and if you can find an ATM machine, it would be wise to pay that much cheaper fee for some cash in hand.
Research Those Resort Fees
If you’re checking into a hotel in a popular destination city like Las Vegas, it’s likely that you’ll be paying some kind of luxury or resort fee in addition to a room deposit. Resort and luxury fees usually cover internet service, pool or gym access and a variety of other perks. Depending on the star rating of the hotel, the resort fee could be as much as $25 or more per night. You can’t forgo these fees even and if you don’t do your research, you might be surprised to find out about these hidden costs of travel at the check-in desk.
Vacation is supposed to be fun, and you don’t want to be freaking out about money. Prepare for the hidden costs of travel beforehand and have the best time of your life!