Sneaky Travel Fees You Need To Know About

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Traveling is expensive. The flight, the items you need to buy, luggage (if you need new ones), hotels, car rental, tours, heck – vacationing can be a financial burden that causes more stress than it relieves. So when you’re hit with a bunch of hidden travel fees on top of that, it’s enough to make you take staycations for the rest of your life.

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Checked Bag Fees

Many airlines charge $25 per bag each way. Actually, it’s more like $50 for some of the more budget airlines (after all, that’s how they stay “budget”). Naturally, that fee can easily double if your bag exceeds the listed weight limited to the airline. Some try to jam everything into their carry-on to avoid this fee, but that’s often not practical – or even possible. So a better way to get around this bag fee is to sign-up for the airline’s credit card prior to booking your trip. Many major airline credit cards include free bag checking as one of their many perks for signing up, which can save you some serious money, especially if you travel a lot or in large groups. Another option to save yourself some money is to use the points from your Barclays Arrival Plus or Capital One Venture card (if you have one), which earns you points you can then use to get rid of any travel charges made with the card – including of course – checked bag fees.
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Resort Fees

Resort fees are just par for the course as hotels add these in exchange for the use of their amenities such as parking, fitness center, Wi-Fi access, and so on. These fees are very common and can be painfully high, especially in destinations such as Las Vegas and the Caribbean, and getting out of paying them can prove to be quite difficult. So the easiest way to avoid these wallet sucking fees is to book an rewards stay. Many (but not all), major chains will waive their resort fees for any stay booked with the points on your rewards card. Of course, it’s always best to contact the hotel in advance to make sure this is in their policy. If not, there is another way. And that’s to ask if you can opt out of paying their amenities fee. A long shot for sure, but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. And if it is a “no”, then your last resort is to try and flex your “status muscles” when checking in, by mentioning that you have elite status with the hotel chain and are already privy to a number of amenities for free. Should none of these tactics work, then you can erase the charge with points from Capital One Venture credit card or Barclays Arrival Plus card, as mentioned above.
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Phone Ticketing Fees

These days, many airlines charge anywhere from $15 – $30 if you want to book your tickets via your phone (as if having to deal with customer service representatives isn’t punishment enough). Having to pay extra really only adds insult to injury. So the best way to get out of this phone ticketing fee is to tap into the little white liar in you, and claim that the the airline’s website was having some sort of technical error when you tried to book – true or not. By mentioning a website error, you almost always get the customer service representative to waive the fee, as this is part of their protocol. Now of course, the best option of all is to just book your tickets online yourself, avoiding any calls in the first place. But the above suggestion is for all you techno-peasants than can’t be bothered to navigate those rather intricate airline sites.
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Rental Car Insurance

While this is not exactly a “fee”, car rental insurance bought from the rental agency might as well be considered one. Often totaling more than $20 per day for full coverage, this added expense can totally be skipped by taking advantage of the Auto Rental Coverage offered by Chase Sapphire Preferred. All you have to do is simply decline the insurance offered by the rental agency, pay with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and that’s it – you’re covered! Your Chase Sapphire Preferred card includes rental coverage for theft and collision damage at most of the rental car depots across the U.S. and abroad – which is all you really need. Just make sure you double check the terms and conditions on your card before taking advantage of this. It’s always better to be sure than sorry.
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Rental Car Gas Prepayment

One of the biggest rackets going is this ‘prepay for a full tank’ offered by most rental car agencies. It’s a fee that gets added to your rental so that you can drive the car without having to worry about bringing it back with a full tank. Of course, you’ll have to pay for them to fill it up themselves, thus the extra charge. Rental agencies often try to dump this service on you so that they can offer a lower price than most competitive gas stations. What they neglect to tell you is that you have to pay for a full tank of gas when you agree to pay for this option, not just the amount of gas you’ve used. So even if you are saving 30 to 40 cents per gallon, you are still losing out on money unless you return the car bone-dry. It’s best to decline this service and just fill up the tank yourself.
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Hotel and Airport Parking

Can you believe that parking at a hotel or airport over night can cost upwards of $50? Heck, in cities like LA or New York, it can easily be $60 or more. This is something far too many people overlook when deciding between renting a car or using a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. So unless you plan on using a car extensively, it’s in the best interest of your wallet to go with a rideshare service instead. It’s way more convenient, and definitely cheaper, and absolves you of the hassle of having to fill up, find parking in an unfamiliar city, along with returning the car when flying home. But if you absolutely must rent a car, here’s a money saving tip: bill the parking charge to your hotel room and erase it with points from your Barclays Arrival Plus or Capital One Venture card.
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ATM Fees

I get tons of emails every month asking me what services I use to withdraw or exchange money while I’m traveling. My answer to all of them (as if I even bother to respond) is the same: none! A much better solution is to open a free checking account with Charles Schwab. And this is why: You get unlimited reimbursement from any ATM fees, everywhere on planet (which personally saves me hundreds of dollars every year).
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