Here’s how to steer clear of extra costs.
- It’s common for travelers to incur certain extra costs in the course of their journeys.
- Choosing the right credit cards and booking your plans strategically could help you avoid those fees or keep them to a minimum.
Many people who travel a lot take the time to map out a budget for each trip. Doing so is a smart idea, as it could help increase your chances of avoiding debt.
But there’s one thing that tends to trip travelers up — fees. Some travel-related fees are less obvious than others, and incurring too many could cause you to bust your budget. With that in mind, here are three specific fees it pays to avoid whenever possible.
1. Checked baggage fees
Airlines have gotten rid of many amenities through the years, and free checked baggage is one of them. These days, you’ll typically be charged for the privilege of bringing a bag on board. If you’re traveling for a week or longer, that’s pretty much unavoidable.
The good news, though, is there are steps you can take to minimize or avoid checked baggage fees. First, if you’re traveling with a companion, see if you can consolidate the things you’re packing into a single suitcase. That way, you’ll be charged one fee, not two.
Secondly, apply for a travel rewards credit card, and then use that card to book your flights. Many travel reward cards allow you to check one bag for free, and if you’ll be taking a lot of flights this year, your savings could really add up.
2. Cancellation fees
Though hotels tend to have pretty flexible cancellation policies — sometimes allowing you to get your money back as long as you give 72 hours’ notice — airlines are typically more rigid. That’s why you need to book your plans carefully.
Before you put down a credit card number to secure your reservation, whether it’s for a flight or a hotel, check the fine print and see what options you have to cancel or change your itinerary. You may, for example, get more leeway on airlines by booking a slightly more expensive ticket — but doing so could be worth it if your plans aren’t totally firm.
Furthermore, purchasing travel insurance could help you avoid losing money in situations where you have to cancel a flight or hotel stay at the last minute and you’re not entitled to any money back because of that. Some travel policies even allow you to cancel your plans for any reason. While you’ll spend some money to secure that insurance, it could end up paying for itself if you wind up needing to bail on your trip.
3. Foreign transaction fees
If you’re used to charging expenses on a credit card, you may want to do so when traveling overseas. But many cards impose foreign transaction fees that could really add up, especially if you’re spending many days abroad.
The solution? Find a credit card that doesn’t impose foreign transaction fees. You can also try asking your current credit card issuers to waive those fees, but you may not be successful.
The more travel-related fees you manage to avoid, the less money you’ll throw away — and the more you’ll have on hand to spend exploring the country and globe. If you have lofty travel plans this year, make an effort to avoid these pesky fees.
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