10 travel budgets to avoid

Unexpected costs can completely wreak havoc on your travel budget. Don’t waste your savings until the end of your trip – instead follow these tips and you’ll have even more spending money than you planned on the road.

Shopping at the airport
These days you have to arrive for flights hours before take off, lest you get stuck in a long safety line. At the gate, with plenty of time to kill, you’ll be tempted to shop for food, drink, and entertainment, all of which are heavily branded in airport stores. Plan ahead and pack snacks, an empty water bottle (which can be refilled once you’ve passed security), and your own reading materials. Now you won’t have any excuse to spend $ 10 on a bottle of water and a magazine to pass the time.

Car rental costs
Allow a certain amount for your rental car? You might be in shock when you arrive at the counter and have to sign a contract that requires you to shell out hundreds more than you expected. Educate yourself on the hidden car rental costs and you will be armed with enough knowledge to press the price down.

Air freight charges
Bring hand baggage, check in a bag or print your boarding pass at the airport? Each of these items will cost you money (in one case, $ 100 per person) on some airlines. Before booking your flight, review the SmarterTravel Airline Fee and Baggage Fee Charts. This way you can calculate the actual cost of your ticket and know which bags to leave behind.

Exchange fee
Nothing puts the brakes on a post-vacation glow faster than opening your credit card statement after you get home. Before you go, know what your credit card company will charge you for using your card abroad (some will charge you a transaction fee every time it’s swiped in a foreign currency). Also check with your bank about their fees for using ATMs abroad. If you travel a lot and your current financial institutions charge exorbitant amounts to use them internationally, it may be worth changing. Check out the best non-airline credit cards for travel rewards for suggestions. There are many card companies out there that won’t charge you anything extra for overseas transactions and will even reimburse you for any surcharges a foreign ATM may charge you.

Careless packaging
Take too much luggage and you will pay for overweight luggage. But wrap so lightly that you end up leaving the essentials (like an umbrella, sunscreen or a jacket, depending on your destination) behind, and you’ll end up paying too much for what you need at the airport or in a store when you arrive. Find a balance by checking the weather before you go and packing only the things you absolutely know you’ll need.

Eat and shop in tourist areas
We’re not saying you have to avoid touristy areas altogether – if you’re going to Paris for the first time, of course, you’ll want to see the Eiffel Tower. But, we recommend that you do not dine or shop for souvenirs where you are sightseeing. Get out of the hotel and the main tourist areas of a city and venture to local places off the beaten track for better meals and better deals. Plus, you’ll discover a whole different side of a city, often for the price of a public transport ticket.

Find a plane ticket or a cheap hotel? Look closely, just because he says it’s New York or London doesn’t mean it really is. Hotel websites often draw properties miles from the city center in your search results, and some budget airlines fly to airports that are hours away from the city they are associated with. These can still be a good deal (for example, staying in a hotel in Jersey City can save you hundreds, and you can have a quick and fairly inexpensive train ride to Manhattan), but always do some shopping. research before booking. You may decide that flying into an airport that is actually two hours and $ 50 by bus from a major city negates the $ 100 you saved by not flying into the main airport. For hotels outside of a city center, be sure to research when public transportation stops – having to fork out for overnight taxis could blow your budget in no time.

It is important to stay hydrated while traveling. However, buying a bottle of water whenever you are parched can quickly add up. If you are in a country where the water is safe to drink, bring a reusable bottle to fill it up as needed. If you are staying in an area where water is not potable, water purification devices like the SteriPen can save you money in the long run.

Telephone charges
Planning on using your smartphone to connect to Wi-Fi on the road or using offline travel apps while on the go? Make sure you have turned off your phone’s data and location services completely, or your phone will still be on and you could be hit with massive roaming charges. It’s not just cell phone charges that you need to worry about either. Incoming calls to your hotel room (from local tour operators confirming a reservation, for example) can cost up to $ 1 per minute. Be sure to ask the front desk for the phone charges when you check in, and if they charge for incoming calls, you can tell them not to make any.

Three restaurant meals a day
At home, going out to eat once a day can be a luxury. But when you’re on the road, sometimes you have no choice but to eat out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Consider heading to the local grocery store or market (a fun cultural activity in and of itself) for breakfast and have your morning meals in your room (minus room service surcharges). Or, book a hotel with breakfast included, then eat enough to be able to skip lunch. Another tasty suggestion we love is to try the famous and fancy restaurants for lunch – when it’s cheaper – and then have a light, inexpensive take-out for dinner.

SmarterTravel.com offers expert travel advice and unbiased coverage of travel deals.