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Samantha Brown, Samantha-Brown.com | October 14, 2015
Between airfare or train tickets, accommodations, rental cars and other necessities, traveling can be expensive. Certain charges are easily avoidable though, and often end up being a big waste of money. Be aware of these 7 biggest travel rip-offs to avoid unnecessary spending on your next vacation.
1. Wifi Charges
Some people simply cannot disconnect when they travel. They need to update social media, check email, or even work while on vacation. For all the advances of modern technology, wifi abroad is still a huge hassle. Basic in-room internet often comes free or cheap at a hotel, but connecting elsewhere can be an excessive travel rip-off. The best thing to do is to unplug while traveling to avoid unnecessary charges and enjoy the trip you paid for.
2. ATMS & Currency Exchange
Normal ATM fees range between three and eight percent, but if you use out-of-network ATMs, the fees can be much steeper. Avoid airport ATMs and currency exchanges (as these are usually the biggest travel ripoffs) and head to your local bank instead.
3. Airport Purchases
One time, I paid $28 for a breakfast sandwich and a coffee in the airport when I had no other option. Normally, I try not to buy anything at the airport since prices are always inflated. If you have to, limit yourself to a budget of $5-10 to spend in an airport on absolute necessities. Duty free stores are the worst offenders when it comes to travel rip-offs. Although they make it appear you’re getting a good deal, you aren’t at all.
4. Baggage Fees
It’s easy to waste $20-30 when you show up to the airport without a plan for your baggage. Read your airline’s baggage rules and ask questions to determine the best way to get your luggage to your destination. It’s almost always best to pay for baggage ahead of time, as it is often more expensive at the airport. I suggest consulting the airline directly before your flight to get the best deal.
Driving rather than flying can often help you save money traveling—until you’re hit with often astronomical hotel parking fees. Sometimes your hotel may be the only option for parking if it is in a remote location, but if you do some research you may be able to find other options close by for a fraction of the cost, or even for free.
Travel insurance depends on the trip. If you are taking a massive, expensive vacation, it is best to consult an expert to decide what is right for you. If you’re purchasing insurance on every trip, though, and you’ve never used it, then it may be an unnecessary expense. In fact, you may even find that the money you spent on insurance could have bought you another trip.
7. Cellphone and Data Charges
Using your cell phone in foreign countries can cause an unbelievably high monthly bill. Save money traveling by calling your carrier before your trip to find out what usage your plan allows abroad, if any. You can then decide if you want to update your plan to be able to use your phone while traveling to avoid this travel rip-off.
Over the last 13 years, Samantha has traveled around the world visiting over 220 cities in 49 countries and 30 of the United States creating over 160 hours of programming (and counting). After all of that traveling she reluctantly accepts her title as a travel expert, preferring jokingly the more humble title of Travel Goddess. Currently, Samantha is the co-host of Travel Channel’s new show, “50/50.”