If you’re feeling a bit miserly this year, and lets face it, who isn’t, you’ll have booked your tickets using a budget airline and you’ll be stopping at a bargain guesthouse or hotel in an unfashionable part of town. You try and save some cash but then you’re spanked with a whole bunch of hidden costs which it seems impossible to get beyond. Take for example car park costs at the airport, up 127 percent since last year in some cases.
So if you’re among those of us who’re jumping aboard a jet to get away someplace nice I’ve put together a few tips on how to avoid being overcharged by everyone except the cab driver with a meter that runs faster than Jesse Owens. (Out of touch with sports? Me? How dare you!?)
1. Make sure you have the right insurance for where you’re going.
We all hope that it’s not going to be needed but if anything does go wrong it can cost an absolute fortune. They don’t give you cover stretching into the millions of nothing. So if you haven’t that kind of cash on you insurance is the way to go. Even if you only sit by the pool for a week or ten days you could still lose your luggage, have a break-in to your room, eat something bad or even just slip and fall. If you’re not insured that’s a load of trouble to sort out when you’re supposed to be having a break.
Buy your insurance at the same time as you book your holiday, if there’s an airstrike or if you break a leg before you travel you’ll be covered, wait until the last minute and you won’t be.
2. If you’re going somewhere hot, travel light.
Budget airlines keep their seats cheap by charging for every other little thing they can that’s not an absolute requirement. If you’re not savvy you’ll walk right into one of their cash-traps. If you can get away with keeping all your luggage on you it’s possible to avoid costs such as the fee for stowing your bags in the hold. EasyJet in the UK charge £25 (US$40.58) and a whacking £40($65.00) if it exceeds the carry on size and you didn’t check it on at the boarding gate. Many other operators have such charges but none reach those sky-high rates.
Weigh your luggage on the bathroom scale and keep your weight down. If you can just take hand luggage you might save yourself an unexpected fortune.
3. Park your car at home.
Public transport can be the cheapest way of getting to the airport but that’s not going to be fun if you do have a lot of bulky luggage (did you not read tip number two?) or if you’ve kids to take on an early flight. If you have good friends or family you might get a ride for free. A cab could be an option but that’s still pricey. If you do end up driving your car to the long stay you might find that it’s possible to book your spot early. If you can, and you book early enough you can actually make advance booking saving here too, who knew? It’s still not cheap but it’s not as extortionate as pitching up on the day and hoping to get a place.
4. Avoid snacking.
Once you’re aboard your cheap flight with your little bag overhead you might be offered a snack or sandwich. You should have made your own, when you fly budget food is an optional extra and a few packs of chips and sodas will make a big dent in your wallet. Not only do they charge you for the optional extras, they put a hefty mark-up on it too, ensuring their shareholders are as happy as those who invested in the premium carriers. Food, it seems is marked up at about an average of 400% and drinks at 800%. It’s as you hand over the twenties that you remember you left bread out on the side that you could have made into sandwiches that’s going to be rotten by the time you get home.