How To Avoid Unnecessary Travel Costs

How To Avoid Unnecessary Travel Costs

Have a checklist

Sometimes life takes an unexpected turns, in some cases it can be things you don’t have any control over like the weather or flight cancellations. No matter the case, there are costs associated with changes to the plan or unexpected occurrences. However, some preparation prior to your trip can combat that with a simple checklist. Preparing yourself with a checklist at the initial planning stages will make it remind yourself of the things you can easily forget. Planning with adequate time will potentially minimize costs such as airlines, luggage costs, parking costs and other factors discussed in the previous blog (How to stretch your travel budget)

Set up a budget and pay in advance

When planning a trip, it is important to have an overall travel budget to start with. Having a structured budget helps you plan on how much you are going to spend and on what, thereby minimizing overspending. Paying for flights and making travel bookings in advance will also work to your advantage. Try and make payments on the accommodation, flights upfront before your departure to minimize the travel costs on when your trip actually begins. In the same way, if you work out a daily expenditure allowance covering meals, shopping and excursions, you will be able to exchange money more effectively and can charge items to your credit card with an allocated limit.

Over-the-phone and over-the-counter booking

Many airlines have surcharges for services that are rendered when you book airline tickets over the phone or over the counter. It is recommended that you use the airline’s online services because it will save you time and money. Although there are times when you would need assistance from their operators, it is better to do self-service online to cut down on unnecessary costs. Another pro in using the online route, you can oversee all the charges that are inclusive of your airline ticket.

Tourist Taxes

In most countries, Airbnbs and hotels may charge you a “tourist tax” which is a fee that is usually not included in the room or apartment price. Most often, tourists only get notified on arrival. To ensure that this does not happen during your stay, always enquire before you finalize your booking or research online for more information and whether tourist tax is applicable. Read the fine print of the terms and conditions when booking your hotel through third party websites, to ensure that taxes are included. As soon as you arrive at your hotel, speak with the front desk regarding tax charges, if any, on using the hotel services such as laundry and wifi etc. When you are aware of the applicable taxes, that will put in you in a better position to avoid and manage them. Some restaurants also automatically add a tip to your bill, just ask ahead if you don’t want to overspend, and this will allow you to tip on your own terms.

Pack Essentials

Something as simple as forgetting your phone/laptop charger or a camera battery when going abroad can cause unnecessary extra spend at your destination, so it is important to remember to pack all your essentials. Electronics for example, are more expensive in South America because of high import taxes, so if you forget some of your electronics you will definitely be paying more which is almost as the same as overspending. On the other hand, cheap chargers may be tempting but they will only last a few days. Make sure to take proper clothing with you, summer clothes, winter clothes or gloves for cold protection etc. Know in advance the general weather pattern of the country you are going to and pack accordingly. If you are staying at budget hostels, then your stay might not entitle you to complimentary toiletries. So, instead of adding an extra expense by having to buy soap, toothbrush, deodorant, and shower gel abroad, remember to pack these items from home. Make sure to always revisit your checklist and stick to it because it will save you some cash in the long term.

Foreign Exchange Fees

Using a credit card to pay for expenses when traveling abroad is more convenient than dealing with cash in a foreign currency but be careful that your card of choice isn’t charging you added foreign transaction. One way to avoid these charges is to apply for a credit card with zero foreign transaction fees. Another tip is to always select the local currency when given the option, as your card is being charged abroad. The conversion rate on your bank statement will be better than the conversion offered to you in the moment of the charge.

International mobile roaming charges

Contact your mobile service provider and enquire if they have international packages on data and calling for your use abroad. If you are going away for more than two weeks, it is advisable to purchase a local SIM card of the country you are travelling to. Alternatively, if you are going abroad for a short period, put your phone on airplane mode and make use of public WiFi wherever available. Use apps like Whatsapp and Skype for making calls while on WiFi connection. Also, consider downloading guidebooks and necessary maps in advance and saving it offline to be viewed later when needed.

Health expenses

The best way to avoid unpleasant and unexpected illnesses is by taking all the necessary vaccinations before going to a country abroad. Some countries have made vaccinations mandatory before entering their soil by requiring proof of immunization as one of the documents required for entry. Furthermore, consider opting for a travel insurance which also covers emergency medical expenses abroad. Each insurance plan is different, make sure you select a travel insurance best suited for you. Some travel insurance plans assist by paying for missed flights and activities you paid for but couldn’t take part in because of health problems or unforeseen events.

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