Hidden and unexpected fees are part and parcel of the travel experience. There are some instances however, where you are able to control the costs that others typically dish out for. Here are several areas where you may have the ability to forego certain expenses.
While certain excursions may require excess luggage, learning how to travel light is an excellent money-saving skill to have. Efficiently packing your carry-on bag, using your allowed personal item to its full storage potential and wearing travel clothing with extra and hidden pockets to hold additional items are all excellent ways to skip checked baggage fees altogether. You’ll definitely need to plan carefully with regards to wardrobe and business gadgets, but depending on where you’re traveling to and what your agenda is, baggage fees may indeed be a thing of your past.
Many travelers get the munchies around the middle of the evening. If you’re stuck in an airport, then the priority pass lounges are an excellent place to score a light, complimentary repast. Some hotels are now including evening hospitality buffets in addition to their morning selections, and the free executive lounge access that comes with certain reward points statuses from business-class hotels is what makes loyalty reward cards one of my favorite frugal travel essentials. Who doesn’t love free food and open bar?
Free wireless internet access is becoming so common; I honestly don’t understand why some hotels still think they can charge for it. That being said, if you find yourself with no other option than to stay at a venue where it isn’t included, you still have options. First and foremost, check the communications package you have with your cell phone provider. Many are now including the ability to tether (or connect wirelessly) your smartphone to your laptop in order to access the internet from the road. This is helpful when you need to manage receipts, file an expense report or submit a completed project to a supervisor or client. If your plan doesn’t allow this, stroll down the block a bit. Chances are you’ll find a coffee shop offering complimentary access. Operating from the highway? Many restaurant chains now offer free wireless access, including McDonalds, Panera Bread and even Denny’s.
Free breakfast amenities are included with many hotel stays, and upgrade options are available for travelers frequenting a variety of mid-range business chains where a breakfast buffet may not typically be standard. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a gas station stop before you reach the hotel at your destination. When traveling by interstate or other major highway, gas stations are often near shopping plazas that offer grocery stores, beauty supply shops and even office supply chains. All of those can be helpful to travelers, but the grocery stores in particular give you a chance to grab a few items for use the next morning and avoid the hefty gratuities that might otherwise accompany your ham and eggs.
These are travel expenses we try to avoid when trying to stick to a budget. Which ones do you make it a point to skip?
A lifelong money cruncher who can squeeze a nickel ‘til it cries, Myscha is a syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and founder of Trek Hound and We Be Sharin’.