To err is 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 snagged 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 flight deals. Knowing the hit your wallet’s going to take in case of a cancellation can help you prepare yourself a bit better for these kinds of 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 and maybe even a hotel for the night. Be sharp and book yourself at least a minimum of 90-120 minutes 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, so if you feel that lifting that suitcase is breaking your back, the chances are 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 it smart.
You Purchased Onboard Wifi (Why? Why? WHY?)
You may have to purchase WiFi if you’re working on a time-sensitive project that’s going to save humanity and win you the Nobel Prize, BUT 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, which let you listen to all your favorites while 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, and make sure to take snacks with you for the journey so you won’t really get hungry till you arrive at your destination.
RELATED: Another way to go easy on your travel budget? Fly red-eye! Read this piece on Why You Should Hop on a Red Eye Flight for Your Next Trip!
You Forgot to Change Your Cell Phone Plan
Our phones have become our inseparable travel partners, helping us find reviews to exotic eateries in unknown places and helping us find 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. While you might be wondering how spending for travel insurance can be counted as a money saver, we 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 on the move!
Oooops! Made any costly travel mistakes? Share your advice with us in the comments section.