Five Money Traps to Avoid When You Travel

by  Mike Barish | Apr 19, 2012
Saving money
Saving money / AndreyPopov/iStock

You’re going to spend money on your vacation. It’s unavoidable and, quite frankly, necessary. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to just throw it away. There are bad deals, inflated prices, and unnecessary splurges lurking everywhere you travel. When you’re away from home and out of your element, it can be difficult to avoid these all-too-common money traps. The more you know, the better equipped you are to keep your vacation on track and your bank account full.

1. Distance Keeps Your Wallet Fatter

There’s nothing wrong with checking out the tourist hotspots. However, business owners know how close they are to those landmarks and look to cheat visitors. After a morning at the museum or day spent exploring ruins, put some distance between you and the crowds before stopping for a meal, drink or souvenirs. Even the gift shops charge a premium and you can often find the same products elsewhere at discounted prices.

2. Fuel from Afar
You definitely want to return your rental car with a full tank of gas to avoid the exorbitant charges levied by the rental companies. However, your wallet will take just as steep a hit if you fill up near the airport. Before you leave for your flight, ask the front desk staff at your hotel to recommend a gas station nearby. Unless you have a long road trip to some remote airfield, your tank will full enough when you arrive at the rental lot to meet your obligations.

3. Don’t Eat Where You Sleep
Unless you purchased an all-inclusive package, you’re bound to pay an arm and a leg for meals and drinks at your hotel. Hotel bars, in particular, are notoriously overpriced. Don’t be lured in by the convenience of a restaurant that’s just steps from your room. Stretch your legs, see the sights, and pay for the food, not the proximity to your bed.

4. Dial R for Rip-off
The B-52’s might tell you to "roam if you want to," but they wrote that song long before cell phones were popular. If you really anticipate using your phone overseas for calls or texts, discuss international plan options with your provider ahead of time. Take advantage of services like Skype and Google Voice that allow you to make calls over Wi-Fi to avoid worrying about roaming charges and unexpected fees. Why make an expensive phone call when you can video chat online for free?

5. Good Things Come in Easy-to-Redeem Packages
The best deals don’t have much fine print. They are easy to use and give you your money’s worth (and then some). Be sure to research deals carefully before splurging on a package with too many restrictions. Ask questions, read over the materials, and shop around. If you paid for something, you shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get it.

You can avoid money traps by using our Travel Search price comparison tool.

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