Sponsor Spotlight: Vacation Costs You’re Missing

Going on vacation is a time to escape, relax and live new experiences. But if you’re not careful, extra costs can surprise you like tiny money-stealing ninjas. Here are eight sneaky vacation costs.

  1. Clandestine airfares are rising. Airline pricing algorithms are programmed to store your browsing history to see if you’ve looked at flights. If you have any, they will raise the price. Before starting a search, clear your internet history and switch to private (or incognito) mode on your web browser. When you are finally ready to book the flight, do it using a different computer from a new location to avoid this artificial price increase.
  2. Stealth fees. The base rate per night for a luxury resort or self-catering often compares favorably to a standard hotel in the same location. This may be an intentional pricing tactic used to get their property on the initial search results page. Don’t be fooled! These same places often add daily resort fees or hefty cleaning fees to your bill. The extra costs might be worth it to you, but it’s best to understand the total cost of the stay before making your reservation.
  3. Bait and switch. In the self-rental market, a property management service might offer a nice rental, but when you try to book it, it’s not available. They then try to move you to a less desirable property. Worse still, the same property can be referenced on many services so that the property you think you have reserved is in fact already rented to someone else!
  4. Rental car insurance unnecessary. Car rental companies will try to sell you insurance to cover any damage you may cause during the rental period. Auto insurance that you already have many times over will extend to the rental car. In these cases, additional insurance is not necessary. Before renting a car, check with your insurance company if a rental will be covered.
  5. Inflated baggage fees. You probably already know that airlines can charge for checking a bag, but did you know that they will charge extra if a bag is too heavy? Exact weight may vary by airline or location, so check weight limits before you go and weigh heavy bags using a scale.
  6. Clever parking fees. Downtown hotels in major cities charge up to $75 per night for parking! Research other parking options near your hotel or compare the cost of using carpooling options before committing to the hotel rate.
  7. Additional driver fee. Car rental companies will charge an additional daily fee to have a second driver listed on the rental. If possible, commit to one person to handle all the driving during your vacation.
  8. Tricky foreign transaction fees. Traveling overseas and paying additional fees for each purchase will add up quickly. Before you go, check your credit cards, bank accounts, and cell phones to see if they charge foreign transaction fees. If so, buy another card, account, or cell phone that doesn’t charge fees.

Everyone expects to pay for their vacation, but with a little planning you can avoid unpleasant surprises.

— By Nancy J. Ekrem, CPA

Managing shareholder
Chartered Accountants and Business Consultants
[email protected]

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