Six Ways to Avoid Excess Travel Fees

It seems foolish to spend money on fees for checking excess luggage, when it’s more convenient - and definitely adds more to your trip – to spend that same money on sights, day tours, museums, local foods, or just getting around while you’re traveling abroad.

Find out what you should and shouldn’t be paying for when you travel with these six ways to avoid excess travel fees:

1. Be careful of extra leg-room charges
Many airlines charge you to select the seat you want. Even if your airline doesn’t charge for seat assignments, you may have to pay if you want to sit in a row that has extra legroom.

2. Pack your own food
We all know that the majority of airlines charge extra for food or a snack. It was once unnecessary (and even odd) for air travelers to pack their own meals. Those days are gone. No one will think twice about your stowed snack or meal. But it’s important to pack wisely.

It’s safest to stick with items that will hold up much longer. Peanut butter is a good choice. It’s filling and packs plenty of protein for your jaunts down lengthy airport corridors.

As a matter of courtesy, avoid spicy or aromatic foods that could stink up your section of the plane. Keep it simple and non-perishable.

3. Beware of hidden hotel charges
Thought airlines were the only ones that are becoming increasingly adept at finding ways to nickel and dime you? Think again. Hotels are gorging themselves on surcharges and hidden fees for items like the minibar and towel replacement fees.

If you’re not using the service you’re being charged for, ask to have it removed from your bill. Some hotels remove fees for safes, business/fitness centers, newspapers, and gratuities from your bill. If the latter, explain that you’ve already tipped the staff (assuming you have). The practice of “negative option billing” — the legal name for fees billed without your express permission — is based on the assumption that you’ve used the service and have therefore implied you agree to the charge. If you don’t and haven’t, the hotel should remove it from your bill.

4. Your extra baggage could cost you
Not only does luggage that travels as excess luggage cost you unnecessary money, it’s often carried by the airlines on a ‘space available’ basis. Purchasing the right-sized bag for the amount of packed items you plan to take as well as some form of lightweight expandable luggage should be at the top of your packing list. As long as you keep your weight of your luggage under control, having extra room for your return flight is always good for gifts, souvenirs and stuff that grew while you were traveling.

5. Don’t get rental car insurance if you don’t need it
Collision-damage waiver, or CDW, insurance is a moneymaker for car rental companies. These optional policies insure you if you get in a wreck or otherwise experience a claims loss while renting a car. The charge for such rental car insurance can add $15 to $25 to the daily cost of a car rental.

The catch is that you may already have protection through your credit card company or auto insurer. Before leaving on a trip, check with your insurance agent and card issuer to see what kind of coverage you have for car rentals.

6. A Pillow will Cost You
If you want to take a quick nap on your flight, you’ll have to pay up if you want to use a pillow from some airlines. The new products are nice and convenient, but if you don’t want to pay this travel fee, you’ll have to figure out a way to nap without an airline-issued cushion.

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