Travel Guides 101: How to Avoid Hidden Fees and Control Your Vacation

It is a well known fact that vacations are expensive. It is also a fact that there is nothing more fulfilling than travelling to a new destination and diving into the unique idiosyncrasies of that culture. Sadly though, airfare and hotel accommodation can cost quite a pretty penny and their sneaky hidden fees can really add up. Breaking the bank and permanently putting your family debt for a few days of fun is certainly a bad idea.

It is best to plan and save for this trip instead. If you’ve been disciplined enough to save the money needed to take a vacation trip, it is imperative that you take all the necessary precautions to get the most bang for your buck. Simply getting to the destination is not enough. You will also have to fork out money for food, transportation and attractions. Simply sitting in your hotel room will not keep you or your family entertained for very long.

Avoiding Hidden Bank Fees

Banks charge a lot more money for transactions done outside of their jurisdiction. They often claim that they have paid intermediary banks in order to process these transactions. Unfortunately, banks will not readily provide this information unless you engage them in a conversation about the matter before you travel. They can recommend other instruments that will allow you to pay less fees and can give you a clear picture of all the fees associated with transactions in that country in order for you to be more cautious.

Don’t be afraid to shop around. You can easily switch banks in search of better rates. Savvy travelers also arrange their affairs so that their bills will still get paid on time while they travel. Utility companies do not care about your vacation and will not hesitate to slap you with hefty late fees. Never assume that you will have the time to take of these things online while you are away.

Avoiding Hidden Hotel Fees

It is well known fact that hotels are also famous for tacking hidden fees on to your final bill. You might already be aware if this trick, but it must be emphasized that the mini bar if your room is not free even if the hotel offers an all inclusive package. Do not assume that the items in the mini bar are at your disposal. It might be filled with all the snacks and drinks you enjoy, but please do not give in to the temptation. These items are also incredibly expensive since the hotel marks up the price on these items.

If you have children, explain to them that the mini bar is off limits. You can also ask the hotel to empty the mini bar prior to your arrival. Be sure to ask whether there is a cost associated with this service.  If you cannot get rid of the mini bar, remove the temptation by visiting a supermarket or gas station nearby and get your own snacks. Why waste good money?

Parking fees are another sneaky charge that has taken many by surprise. Again, do not assume that parking is included in your accommodation package. If it is not clearly stated online, pick up the phone and give the hotel a quick call. It is a lot cheaper to be shuttled to some hotels instead of parking on their property.

Many consumer groups have argued that mandatory fees are both deceptive and cruel. If the hotel you have selected includes too many of these fees in your package, it is safe to assume there will be others that will not be disclosed until you check out. Periodically check your bill so that there are no surprises.

You can also opt to change hotels altogether. Instead of staying at the usual five start hotel, perhaps you can consider a quiet bed and breakfast or villa. These often prove to be a lot cheaper and may also have facilities which allow you to cook your own food. Cooking on your vacation might seem like a daunting task but chances are, you would not be eating out every day if you were back home.

Miscellaneous Spending

Sticking to a budget while travelling is very difficult because we can never be 100% certain about how much everything will cost before we get there. It is often the little miscellaneous purchases we make here and there that eat away at our disposable income. One cost that is especially deceptive is the cost of travel. Instead of renting a vehicle and having to purchase fuel and insurance, why not take public transportation instead? This is a lot cheaper and will ensure that you don’t get lost.

We also spend a lot on the things we forgot to carry. These items often include toothpaste, extra bathing suits and underwear. Make a detailed list of these items long in advance and be sure to include the specific needs of each family member. It is always a good idea to use reusable travel size storage containers. Simply upcycle old travel sized bottles or jars and refill them for each trip. These little cost savings exercises that really add up over time.

The excitement of going on a trip often makes people forget to take their medication along with them. Replacing your prescription items in a country not covered by your insurance is a miscellaneous expense you will not enjoy. The last thing you need while traveling is a medical emergency. Consult your doctor before your trip and ensure you get an adequate supply of all your prescription items. Be sure to pack these items in your handbag or carryon since checked backs may be delayed or lost.

In conclusion, it is possible to control your vacation spending. It requires a little more forethought and planning but it is the best way to ensure that everyone has a memorable vacation. Always remember that sooner or later you will have to get back to reality and that credit you are tempted to max out will have to be paid.

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