Avoid hidden travel fees in planning your next trip

Madison, Wes. (WMTV) – When planning a vacation, it’s easy to accidentally let extra travel expenses pile up.

A technique called drip pricing hides the full impact of expenses because it slowly adds other fees throughout the purchase or reservation process.

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau recommends avoiding these types of hidden travel fees:

  • Resort fee. These fees are also known as “destination fees” or “urban fees”. They are often not listed on hotel aggregation sites, which means you won’t see the final price of the hotel until a later page. To avoid these fees, book hotels that don’t charge a resort fee, and get elite status at a large hotel chain if you travel a lot or use loyalty points for your stay.
  • Hospitality tax. Some cities charge hotel or hospitality taxes. This fee is not included in the hotel rate per night. Check the total amount you will pay to see if you will be charged any additional taxes.
  • Airport transfer services. Not all transportation services are free. Just because the airport provides these services does not mean that it is complementary. If you have to pay for transportation services, compare prices with other transportation services before booking. You may pay less and wait shorter with another company.
  • parking. Not all hotels have free parking, so check before booking, especially in high-traffic areas with limited parking spaces.
  • Comfort hotel. Poolside towels, early check-in, in-room snacks and continental breakfast may not be included in your room rate. Avoid a larger bill than you expect by asking before using these add-ons.
  • packing additives. Avoid baggage fees by reducing your baggage to one hand luggage. Keep in mind that some airlines also charge a fee for carry-on bags. Look up baggage fees before you book a flight because baggage fees vary from one airline to another.
  • Air ticket add-ons. Choosing your seats, in-flight entertainment, headphones, snacks, drinks, pillows, blankets, and in-flight Wi-Fi isn’t always free. Airlines can add additional fees for services that were previously included in your ticket price. Bring it yourself, or ask if the stuff is free before you use it.
  • check in. Some airlines now charge a fee to check you in and print your boarding pass at the airport. Speak with the airline ahead of time if you prefer to check in in person. Otherwise, check in early online and use self-checkout kiosks.
  • change and cancellation. Many airlines advertise free cancellations and policy changes, but there are usually restrictions. Free cancellation may not mean that you will be compensated in cash. They may simply offer a voucher for travel at another time, during a specified period.
  • Roaming charges. If you are traveling outside your home country, check with your mobile service provider about roaming charges before you leave. You may need to sign up for a package in advance. Another option is to turn off your phone data and use WiFi when necessary. If your phone is unlocked, you can buy a local SIM card for calls in your destination country.
  • currency exchange. Changing currency at the airport or in a large hotel is not always the best way. These places charge exorbitant exchange rates and can also charge fees for foreign transactions. Alternatively, get the local currency at a local ATM. Check with your bank about international fees beforehand. Some credit cards do not charge fees for foreign transactions, so this may be a better alternative.
  • Visa and tourism fees. Many countries have changed the length and cost of their tourist visas. US citizens should check here to find out what they need to enter another country.

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