“I love to throw away money”, said no traveler ever. It sounds a little ridiculous but so many travelers throw away hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars on fees that may not be necessary.
When you are planning a trip, you look at the airfare and hotel charge, figure on spending money on food, adventures and maybe souvenirs. What you may not think about when booking that trip, is all of the extra travel fees that you will pay on your journey. Not all of them you can avoid (or want to avoid), but many of them you may not even know you are paying until it’s too late.
Take it from me, before I became the “savvy traveler” I am today, I paid a lot of travel fees and wish I had that money back now to go on more adventures.
So, what are these common fees? Here are five fees that can be avoidable when you travel.
Airline WiFi Fee
Nothing aggravates me more than spending a small fortune for airfare and then having to pay for WiFi on a flight. If you are working from the plane, there may not be any way to get around it, however, if you are just taking a trip for pleasure you may be able to avoid these travel fees.
How to Avoid It:
Download your ebooks, audiobooks, a decent amount of music on your device to use offline so you don’t need WiFi. If getting WiFi is unavoidable, check your credit card to see if there are any perks. For example when flying American Airlines, if you are using gogoinflight.com, certain credit cards like the American Express Corporate Card may be eligible for free in-flight WiFi. If you are a frequent traveler or your trip had multiple legs, it may be worth it to buy the monthly pass as it would pay for itself after 3 segments.
Many airlines will let you get on to their website or the gogoinflight.com site to get free entertainment.
Hotel WiFi Fee
I also hate paying for WiFi at the hotel. After all, it’s 2018, WiFi is free pretty much anywhere!!! You don’t have to pay the ridiculous fee to use it for the day! Try this instead:
How to Avoid it:
Head to your local coffee shop, fast food restaurant or even the hotel lobby. Many hotels will have free WiFi in common areas. Also, check your hotel rewards cards (and sign up for every hotel you stay at), many will offer free WiFi to rewards members. Check your data plan and if you have a lot of unused data, you may want to just use your phone as a hotspot for your other devices and forgo the WiFi completely.
Checked Bag Fee
Many airlines offer the first checked bag for free with a basic ticket. Some airlines, however, will not do so for the economy or basic fare. If you can’t pack a carry on or you can’t fit everything you need into it, your options are limited, but there are some ways you can save.
How to Avoid It:
Weigh out the option of purchasing the more expensive ticket overpaying the bag fees. Sometimes the extra $20 you will spend will ensure that you won’t pay $30-$50+ on bag fees:)
If you don’t have frequent flyer status, it doesn’t mean that you are going to always have to pay bag fees. Sign up for an airline credit card for the airline you primarily fly with or look for travel cards that offer rewards like a free checked bag.
Learn how to pack light! Take less. You would be surprised at how little you can get by with. Remember, many hotels have laundry services, so if you are staying somewhere for an extended period of time, send out laundry. Stick to a capsule wardrobe when traveling with just a few essentials and you can pack carry on.
If you do have to pay, make sure you check to see if your airline allows you to purchase bag check claims ahead of time at a discount when booking your ticket.
Data Roaming Fees/ International Calling Fees
One of the most frustrating things about traveling abroad is figuring out a cost-effective way to use your mobile phone while avoiding roaming charges
Did you ever hear about the man who downloaded WallE for his child when traveling and ended up with a $19,000 data bill? There are a million stories like this. The easiest way to avoid data charges is to use WiFi, but what if WiFi is not available?
How to Avoid It:
Check with your carrier, see if they offer a plan for international calling and data. Some carriers will let you pay per day. The fee may seem steep at first but it is way less than getting a bill for thousands of dollars. Another option is to buy a hotspot device which connects you to WiFi no matter where you are.
I recently received the Skyroam Solis device to test out. It works in over 12o countries with more countries added each year. Day passes are $9 US each or you can buy a for an introductory $99 USD/month — eventually, it will go up to $125 USD. You can buy or rent a Skyroam Solis device for use.
KnowRoaming another product I received to try out in my travels. Popular with travelers in North America. KnowRoaming currently supports 200 countries and the rates vary depending on the type of user you are. The cost is $7.99 USD per day, while a global SIM sticker costs $29.99 USD and a SIM card costs $9.99 USD. You decide how much money you want to load onto your SIM card for each trip and the App gives you a rundown of how much you have spent.
Rental Car Fees
Rental cars can be the biggest source of fees. Some companies will charge in excess of $30 USD a day for the optional insurance coverage. Another sneaky fee they have for rental cars is the fuel up fee. If you return your car at less than full, they could charge you up to $10 per gallon for fuel.
How to Avoid It:
Before taking your trip, call your insurance carrier and see if your car insurance will cover any damage to the rental car. If they won’t, call any credit cards you have to see if you have travel protection. Many credit cards will have insurance coverage as part of their benefits.
Also, don’t get stuck in the empty tank trap. Before you return your car, fill it up!
As you know, there are some fees you can’t avoid when traveling – like resort fees, but many of these other fees you can avoid by simply planning ahead, making concessions and taking advantage of rewards programs that are available to you.
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