Tips For Avoiding Hidden Travel Fees

Everyone deserves a vacation. Chances are, you’ve saved up for a trip of your own over the past several months. You’ve probably also done a lot of planning for your trip—building itineraries, booking flights and hotels; that sort of thing. You’ve also likely planned a budget for your trip, and staying within that budget is probably pretty important to you. If you’re not careful, hidden travel fees can wreck your budget and potentially ruin your hard-earned vacation. Here are some tips for avoiding those pesky fees.

Be Wary Of Redeeming “Award” Tickets

If your credit cards offer travel perks like redeeming awards points for tickets, it can be a real convenience when taking vacations. However, you should read the fine print and be wary, because you’re not always saving as much as you think when it comes to these kinds of tickets. For example, certain airlines charge some hefty fees when it comes to using an award ticket to book a flight. You may be using an award ticket, which isn’t exactly free in the first place, as you likely had to spend far more than a normal ticket is worth to get enough points to redeem it in the first place, but you could also be paying in excess of $500 to the carrier for things like taxes, fees, and additional charges. In short, your “rewards” may not be as valuable as you think they are. Try changing your travel dates, airline, or any connecting flights and you may find some additional savings.

If you’re one of the lucky ones and didn’t have to pay much for your award ticket, be careful in the event that you have to cancel or change your trip as those savings might go right out the window. Some airlines will charge you a fee for cancelling your ticket and placing the points back in your account. In fact, it’s not uncommon to pay $150 or more for putting those points back into your account!  If your card comes with the option of using additional points for trip insurance, do it!

Be Wary Of Where You Stay

Resort fees will quickly become the bane of your trip if you’ve laid out a strict budget. Resort fees usually range from around $15 per night to as much as $50, depending on where you stay. Many people don’t even use the “extra amenities” that the fees are meant to cover. On the bright side, many hotels also won’t charge a resort fee on a reservation booked with awards points, so it’s one more reason to be smart regarding which credit cards you use to book.