So you’re actually taking a vacation? Yes! Wonderful! Keep these money-saving tips in mind when planning and booking your vacation so you have extra cash leftover for souvenirs or tequila or a neck pillow for the flight or whatever else makes you happy.
1. Find out about country exit fees. These pointless charges sneak up on you and often aren’t even included in airline fees. They tend to be only $20 to $30, but if you’re traveling to multiple countries, it can add up. To avoid breaking the bank, look up whether your destinations charge an exit fee in advance so you can better plan your trip budget. You can find a list of countries that charge departure taxes here.
2. Plan your cell phone use ahead of time. If you’re traveling overseas, talk to your cell phone provider. You may be able to get a temporary international plan to avoid huge roaming charges. You can also download free apps that’ll allow you text or make calls. Also, check with your hotel to see if they offer free WiFi, which you can use to stay connected during your vacation.
3. Check for mandatory gratuity. This is common on cruises and even in just some normal restaurants stateside. Check your contracts and checks when you get them before you plunk down another 20 percent on top of it—unless you have exceptional service, of course.
4. Make sure you’re not paying too much for rental car insurance. Most car rental agencies will try to get you to buy into expensive insurance policies when it turns out you don’t need any at all. Your credit card may actually provide collision insurance, and your current car insurance may cover rental cars, preventing you from needing to buy any extra at the car rental agency.
5. Plan ahead for ATM fees. Either withdraw a ton of cash before you leave for your vacation (and be careful of pick-pocketers!) or get a bank that will reimburse you for ATM fees, like PNC does.
6. Avoid resort fees if you can. Popular resort destinations like Las Vegas and Hawaii often charge resort fees of about $20-$40 per night, and these fees often aren’t included in your hotel prices. Ask flatout whether there’s a charge before you book.