Welcome to cheapskate land.
Travel is expensive enough without all the fees and add-ons airlines, rental car agencies, airports, and lodging companies try to pin on you.
In order to outsmart the system, you have to think like a cheapskate (and put in a little added work).
Don’t pigeon-hole yourself with a particular destination. Instead, keep an eye on cheap flights to that region, and then research how to get to your destination of choice from there.
If you’re traveling with someone, avoid paying more for your plane tickets by comparing the cost of booking two tickets at once with the cost of booking two tickets separately.
Rather than paying to choose a seat, get to the airport early, and ask the check-in desk and gate agents if they can move you.
Avoid the checked bag fee (and lost baggage drama) by bringing a carry-on suitcase and personal item.
Skip the pricey airport lunch and bring your own grub.
If you have to park at the airport for a long period of time, consider booking a night at an airport hotel and parking for free.
Instead of picking up your rental car at the airport, look at car rental locations around the city.
Before you say “yes” to car rental insurance, check your credit card benefits.
Avoid high nightly rates on Airbnb by booking a month-long stay.
Rather than adding international data to your US phone plan, buy a SIM card or rely on Wi-Fi.
Instead of taking taxis, walk, bike, or take public transportation.
Rather than eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner out, eat two of your daily meals at your hotel or Airbnb.
And when you do eat out, stick to grab ‘n’ go and counter service restaurants.
Instead of paying an additional 1%–3% on everything you buy abroad, get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
Finally, rather than stressing about ATM fees (or trying to forget that they’re a thing), find a bank that reimburses you for any and all ATM fees that you’re charged.
What travel add-ons drive you crazy? Have you discovered a way around them? Please share, wise one.
For more money tips and tricks, check out the rest of our personal finance posts.
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