Which airline does the best job, which hotel has the best perks and which cruise line has the best past-guest program are topics that few travelers agree on. But when it comes to extra travel fees, all seem to agree: they are something to be avoided if at all possible.
Getting to the final cost of an airline ticket was made easy with recent truth in advertising rules put in place. But nowhere in that legislation was a requirement for airlines, airports, hotels, cruise lines and other travel service providers to be fair. We have to watch out for ourselves when traveling and while some parts of our travel plan are bound to cost more on the road than they do at home, some can be controlled with a little thought.
Talking to a person can cost. Some airlines charge $25 or more if you buy your ticket over the phone, speaking to a human being. While thinking the airline employee on the other end of the phone might be able to help out when we run into trouble scheduling online is not a bad idea, be prepared to pay more for the extra service.
Unnecessary insurance can add up fast. Rental car insurance fees are often redundant. Most travelers who own a car at home are covered if they rent one on the road. Check with your personal auto insurance agent to see. While you’re talking to them, ask if you have any travel coverage for anything at all and ask that same question of your health care insurance provider. Many travelers assume that they have no coverage but many do, if not through their regular health insurance, then through credit cards they may have if travel is purchased using those cards.
Post-Security purchases at the airport can be insanely high-priced. A $6 bottle of water can be avoided by bringing an empty re-usable water container that will make it through the security check. Planning on a meal between home and your destination? Bring it with you and save. Portable foods that are nutritious and not perishable are the best bets. Planning ahead for flight delays, energy bars like KIND bars are a good choice when brought from home – $1.50 versus at the price at a convenient kiosk in the airport by the gate for $3.79.
Breakfast sandwich at McDonald’s on the way to the airport: See the dollar menu.
American Airlines breakfast sandwich in the air: $6.79.
Printing cruise documents, what was once the cause for dancing, as travelers who looked forward to their cruise of a lifetime waited for the mailman to deliver, has gone electronic on all but a few cruise lines. Many major cruise lines simply don’t have the option of paper documents anymore. Royal Caribbean still offers a printed version of cruise documents, upon request at time of booking, for a $35 fee per document.
Probably one of the worst and most avoidable extra fees is Spirit Airlines $100 Carry-On Fee, due to start in November.
The idea is to discourage their customers from making last-minute luggage decisions. The current bag charges of $20 for $9 Fare Club members, $30 for online orders and $35 for telephone reservations go up $5 each on November 6. The prices for carry-on bags paid for at airport ticket counters or kiosks go from $40 to $50. Forget to pay that before you reach the gate? $100 will be the fee. The airline still allows one free small personal item that will fit under the seat.
Check this quick video with some ways to save on airline fees.