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6 Ways To Avoid Expensive Travel Mistakes

©istockphoto/LDProd

©istockphoto/LDProd

No one likes unexpected travel expenses. Replacing luggage, getting walloped by roaming fees, and finding out you overpaid for a hotel room are just some of the unfortunate things that can ruin your budget, not to mention vacation experience. While there are no guarantees in life (or in travel), there are ways to ensure that you’ve taken the right steps to protect yourself against costly mistakes. Read on for tips on how to best avoid these unexpected financial messes.

Buy A Mobile Travel Plan
Survey a couple of friends and chances are you’ll hear some truly horrifying tales of being dinged by roaming charges after an otherwise blissful holiday. Even turning on your phone for just a quick second to check for messages can result in astronomical fees being added to your wireless bill, leaving you having to deal with some major expenses long after your plane home has landed.

Before setting out on your next adventure, contact your wireless provider and go over the details of your trip with them. Ask them which travel plans are best suited for your needs (for instance, you don’t need a mega-minutes bundle if you only plan on checking in every few days) and be sure that it’s activated before taking off. Spending an extra $100 on cellphone plan may seem like a lot but in reality, it’s infinitely better than coming home to a $1300 surprise.

Get Travel Insurance
Make this your mantra, tattoo it to your arm, and make it your new smartphone wallpaper. Seriously, we cannot stress this more: you need travel insurance. It’s easy to assume that everything will go swimmingly (and honestly, it probably will) but on the off chance that you get sick or injured, the last thing you need is to find out that you have to pay out of pocket. Healthcare is expensive and treatment costs can add up fast enough to make your head spin. Even if you fancy yourself the very portrait of health, call up your provider before hitting the road and see what your options are. It’s true what they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Comparison Shop
When booking hotels and car rentals, it’s worth taking a little time to do some research. While some websites and travel agencies promise the lowest rate, you’ll typically find that with a little extra digging, you’ll find something significantly cheaper. Take advantage of off-season rates, last-minute deals, and combo packages that could save you some serious cash. That being said, it’s important not to get too thrifty when it comes to accommodations and transportation. Booking a bargain room can end up costing you more than you wanted to pay if it ends up being a total dive and you need to find a plan B on short notice. Same goes with arriving at your destination only to discover that the subcompact you booked is actually a glorified rickshaw.

©istockphoto/Nikada

©istockphoto/Nikada

Pack Smart
It’s hard to predict just what you’ll need for your holiday, especially if you’re heading to a spot you’ve never been before. However, it’s worth asking around and adopting a minimalist approach if you want to avoid dropping serious dough at the airport to cover overage charges. Airlines are cracking down on over-sized luggage and tend to charge you an arm and a leg if you go over the allotted amount.

Before tossing in that fourth pair of shoes, hoist your suitcase on to a scale and see where you stand. Always double check the airline’s baggage regulations and save some space for the souvenirs you’ll inevitably want to bring back with you. Ultimately, not only will you save money, you’ll save yourself a lot of pain. Hauling heavy luggage while battling jet lag or trying to navigate a new city is no fun. In this case, less is definitely more.

Secure Your Documents
Losing your passport abroad is not only incredibly inconvenient, it can also end up costing you a lot of money to replace. No one intentionally loses their legal documents but a little prevention can go a long way. Always photocopy everything important (passport, identification, credit cards, airline tickets) before departure so that you’ve got backup in case something should go wrong. Always, always ensure that your important stuff is in a secure place (preferably on your person) and that you know where everything is at all times.

Something like the Coversafe 75 secret neck pouch or Coversafe 100 secret travel waist wallet can be indispensable when it comes to protecting your valuables and ensuring that your trip goes off without a hitch. And, as an extra precaution, always know where the closest embassy is.

Go Beyond The Tourist Traps
It’s hard to argue with the fact that often, convenience trumps all else. Especially when you’re somewhere you’ve never been and someone else has done all the hard work for you. However, by sticking to the tried-and-true tourist route, you’re not only missing out on some seriously incredible experiences, you’re probably paying a lot more than you should be.

Before heading out, take some time to look up reviews and recommendations from other travelers. Ask your friends or log on to a message board and see what people are saying. Chances are, you’ll find yourself inundated with recommendations for great hotels, amazing restaurants, and must-see attractions that would never have otherwise crossed your radar.

That being said, we’re not recommending that you bypass something you’ve been dying to see just because it’s a little pricy. By all means, buy those tickets for the Eiffel Tower. Just offset the extra costs by exploring the possibility of renting a local flat instead of staying at a popular hotel.

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