Airlines and hotels say they’re hurting from the recession. Business is down and consumers are unwilling to pay more for flights and rooms. So, how do the airlines and hotels generate enough revenue? You got it, they nickel and dime us to death with fees.
You’ll pay $25 on average to check a bag on many major airlines; that price rose 50 percent last year. And let’s not forget the other fees: change of itinerary fees, booking fees, inflight food charges, and some airlines even charge you for pillows and blankets! Then, when you reach your destination, you’ll find more nickel-and-diming at the hotel with charges for minibar expenses, wireless internet, room service fees and more.
Here are 10 ways to save on those high-priced travel fees and avoid getting nickeled and dimed:
1. Comparison shop. Smartertravel has compiled a nice chart so you can check out what all the airlines charge and make smart decisions. Check out the pdf here: Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide
2. Pack light and avoid baggage fees by taking carryon luggage only. Check your airline’s website to find out the size and weight limits for carryons.
3. Avoid in-flight food costs by packing a small bag with snacks to bring with you. Make sure you use security-approved containers, and don’t bother packing liquids; most airlines still offer free non-alcoholic beverages. Check the Transportation Security Administration (TSSA) website to make sure you only pack approved types of items: TSA
4. Check seat assignment information carefully before you book your flight. Some airlines charge you to change your seat assignments, so make sure you have the seat you want.
5. Be really sure about your travel dates and itinerary. Fees for changing itineraries are hefty, ranging from $50-150 depending on the airline.
6. Are you a frequent flyer? Elite members of airline loyalty programs can check all their bags for free.
7. Check out special deals that could reimburse you for your baggage fees. Some hotels such as Loew’s offer deals to credit the fees against your hotel bill.
8. Once at the hotel, shun the mini-bar. Not only will you be charged a high price for the beverage, many hotels also will stick you with a “restocking” fee of several dollars per item you consume. Also avoid room service if you want to save money. Along with the price of food, your bill may include a room service fee.
9. Many hotels charge fees for in-room Internet. If you’re not on a business trip, ask yourself, do you really need it that badly? It’ll cost you less to quickly check your email on your cell phone. Or, if you brought your laptop, check if there’s free wireless internet in the hotel lobby or at a nearby coffee shop. Check out Openwifispots.com.
10. Ask questions – be sure to ask if there are any hotel fees for a special request, like a room with a refrigerator or coffeemaker.
Photo credit via Flickr