This blog post was updated on July 25, 2023.
To err is to be human, but to err when on a tight travel budget can be catastrophic. But don’t panic: If you’re one of the countless travelers who often looks back at a vacation and goes “How on earth did I go over budget on this trip EVEN after I found cheap flight deals?” or you’re just someone who wants to save when on the road, then this post is for you. Here’s a list of the 6 most commonly made (and expensive) travel mistakes and how to avoid them.
You Go Brain Dead When Booking
Two words here, amigos: Hidden Fees.
I mean we know life happens. You need to cancel a flight at the last minute because your cat got sick, or your house gets flooded. It’s unavoidable, but all the more reason to pay attention to the fine print when you book those cheap flights in January. Knowing the hit your wallet’s going to take can help you prepare a bit better for any unfortunate circumstances.
What else can you often overlook when booking? Well, you could also make a big boo-boo by not giving yourself enough time between connecting flights. So many travelers end up missing their flight due to a small delay and then end up having to pay more for rebooking. Also, you may even have to shell out for a hotel stay. Be sharp and book yourself at least a minimum of a 90-120-minute gap time (also taking into consideration time zone differences). And if you’re planning your trip to a city that has more than one major airport (for example, JFK or LaGuardia in NYC), make sure you check (and re-check) that you’ve booked the right one!
You Didn’t Check About Baggage Allowance
Do you need to check in a bag? How much will it cost to do so? What’s the weight limit for each piece of luggage? Asking yourself these questions when you’re planning your trip can definitely help you avoid excess expenses. Some airlines may have a luggage policy with plenty of unpleasant surprises, so it’s good to know before you go. If you do have to check luggage online, make sure you go ahead and do it, as it might be a lot cheaper than doing it at the airport.
Many airlines charge hefty fees for overweight luggage. Therefore, if you feel that lifting that suitcase is breaking your back, the chances are that it’s going to break your budget too! The solution? Travel light and take full advantage of the free personal item you’re allowed to carry with you by packing smart.
You Purchased Onboard Wi-fi (Why? Why? WHY?)
You may have to purchase Wi-Fi if you’re working on a time-sensitive project that’s going to save humanity and win you the Nobel Prize. However, you shouldn’t have to do so for some in-flight entertainment. That’s just a waste of your money! Premium versions of online music providers like Spotify and Pandora have downloadable options for their media. This allows you to listen to all your favorites while you’re offline. Even Netflix and YouTube offer the option to download full videos ahead of time, meaning you can even binge while on a budget flight.
You Packed Your Bags…But Forgot to Fill Your Belly
Swiping that card for a bag of unhealthy potato chips or a dodgy-looking tuna sandwich? Don’t do it. Make sure you have a good meal before you embark on your flight. Also, make sure you take snacks with you so you don’t really get hungry until you arrive at your destination.
You Forgot to Change Your Cell Phone Plan
Our phones have become our inseparable travel partners, helping us find reviews of exotic eateries in unknown places and finding our way out of maze-like cities. Of course, the ability to record and share everything you experience via Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook is also pretty cool when on the road. Make sure to check with your service provider about international plans and roaming charges for the destination you’re heading to. This could help you save on expensive connections when abroad.
You Didn’t Get Any Travel Insurance
So you’ve checked the small print on your cheap flight deals, planned your in-flight entertainment, and sorted out your internet connectivity for your trip — all ready to go, right? Well, not really. Another important thing you need to take along with you is some travel insurance. Are you wondering how spending for travel insurance can be counted as a money saver? We’re here to reassure you that having a plan in place could help you save hundreds of dollars in the event of a medical emergency. Spend now…and save when you’re on the move!
Q: Is it better to check in a bag or travel with just a carry-on?
A: The answer depends on various factors such as the duration of your trip, airline baggage policies, and personal preferences. Checking in a bag allows you to pack more items and avoid carrying heavy luggage throughout the airport. On the other hand, traveling with just a carry-on can save you time and money by avoiding checked baggage fees and the risk of lost luggage. Assess your needs and the specifics of your trip to make an informed decision.
Q: How can I avoid overpacking when I tend to bring too much?
A: To avoid overpacking, start by making a packing list and stick to it. Lay out all the items you plan to pack and critically assess if you really need each one. Consider the weather, activities planned, and the availability of items at your destination. Additionally, pack versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched, and use packing cubes or compression bags to save space and stay organized.
Q: Can I bring liquids in my carry-on bag?
A: Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations restrict the amount of liquids you can bring in your carry-on bag. Liquids must be in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less and placed in a clear, quart-sized plastic bag. Each passenger is allowed only one bag of liquids. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the TSA guidelines to avoid any issues during the security screening process.
Q: Should I purchase travel insurance for domestic trips as well?
A: While travel insurance is commonly associated with international travel, it can be beneficial for domestic trips as well. Travel insurance can provide coverage for trip cancellations, delays, lost luggage, and medical emergencies, regardless of your destination. It is recommended to assess the coverage options available and consider the potential risks involved in your domestic trip before making a decision.
Q: How can I avoid paying extra fees for overweight luggage?
A: To avoid paying extra fees for overweight luggage, it is important to pack strategically and weigh your bags before heading to the airport. Use a reliable luggage scale to ensure your bags stay within the weight limits set by your airline. If you find that your bag is overweight, consider removing non-essential items or redistributing the weight between multiple bags to comply with the airline’s restrictions.
Q: Can I buy travel insurance after booking my trip?
A: In most cases, travel insurance can be purchased even after booking your trip. However, it is recommended to buy travel insurance as soon as possible after making your initial trip deposit. Buying early ensures you have coverage in case of unforeseen events that may occur before your departure. Keep in mind that certain coverage benefits may have specific time-sensitive requirements, so it’s best to read the policy terms and conditions carefully.
Oops! Made any costly travel mistakes? Share your advice with us in the comments section.