When you’re traveling, the first thing that’s most common to look for is the cheapest ticket available. Whether you’re flying, taking the train, or riding the bus, the most obvious way to save money is to find the lowest fare possible. While this is a good way to start, don’t discount the other costs that you’ll encounter while traveling, because they’re substantial. Just getting to airport, for example, can cost half as much as the actual price of your ticket depending on where you live. Taking a private car can add a hefty bill onto your entire travel tab, so you need to be mindful of where you’re spending your money. There are also offers that travel booking websites claim save you money, but it’s not always true. You need to weigh all the factors that determine the final cost of a trip and make sure that you’re making the best decisions for the type of travel you’re going on. Here are a few points of the ins and outs of traveling costs you may not predict.
Airfare, Car, and Hotel Combos
When you’re searching for the cheapest airfares, many times travel websites will offer the opportunity to save money if you include the cost of a car and hotel along with the airfare. This can also exist in various combinations that only include two of the services, depending on what your travel needs are, and might seem like a good idea. However, make sure you compare what it costs to book everything separately. For example, if you’re going on recreational trip and need to fly, it might be cheaper to book the flight with one airline, and then the car rental with a different provider that isn’t included on the booking website’s list. You can also find better deals sometimes by booking separately if you specifically want to pick up a rental car from somewhere nearby where you live. Whatever your needs are, sometimes it’s better to book separately. On the other hand, if you’re traveling to a popular destination, it’s more likely that the combo deal the website is offering will actually save you money. The key is comparing and contrasting.
Deciding on Travel Dates
Travel dates can make a big difference in the cost of a ticket, regardless of whether you’re taking a plane, train, or bus. There are certain times of year that are less popular to travel. Usually this is around downtimes when there aren’t any holidays or vacation off-seasons. The demand for tickets is less, so the supply becomes less expensive. It’s worth exploring your options and making your dates flexible, if possible, when you go searching for what kind of ticket deals you can get. Make sure you check out both different departure and return dates, because a single day can mean a difference of $100 or more.
Checking Baggage and Fees
A decade ago, baggage fees didn’t exist unless you were bringing aboard a box of lead in your suitcase. With the increase in travel expenses, though, you now have to pay for any bag you’re checking with most airlines. It’s a complete waste of money, though, if you can fit everything into a carry-on bag. While this tactic can save a clever packer money, make sure you also aren’t that person in line who can’t fit their giant carry-on bag into the overhead storage compartment. The key is to learn how to pack efficiently and only bring absolute necessities. Consider leaving behind toiletries, for example, that you can pick up for cheap after you get off the plane. If you do bring toiletries, leave the giant shampoo bottles at home, and downsize with a travel container. If you’re going on a bus or train, on the other hand, usually there aren’t baggage check fees.
Temptations at the Airport
You might have successfully beaten the odds of all hidden travel costs associated with traveling. You took public transportation to your departure point, avoiding exorbitant taxi fees. Perhaps you packed well, and you don’t check baggage at the airport, saving you money with the baggage check fee. However, the final frontier of truly saving money and not falling victim to the excessive expenses of travel is the airport itself. Every airport has a food court and other services for weary travelers, such as pop-up massage stations. Avoid these amenities at all costs, because they’re going to be twice as expensive as they would be outside the airport. If possible, try to eat beforehand, and save yourself the excessive expense of a meal at a subpar fast food restaurant.