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Top 5 Ways to Dodge Expensive Fees on Summer Travel

A well-planned summer vacation starts with working out the financial details so you don’t go over budget. One of the things that vacationers often forget to factor into their calculations are the sneaky fees that can pop up along the way, like baggage fees, ATM fees and booking fees. Knowing how to avoid them can help you ensure that your getaway doesn’t break the bank.

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1. Choose a Credit Card With Built-In Travel Perks

Benefits like priority boarding, Wi-Fi access and lounge access might cost extra, unless you’ve booked your flight with a rewards credit card that offers those perks. It might be a good idea to look for a rewards card that’s co-branded with the airline that you prefer to fly with. That way, you’re more likely to get your hands on the kinds of rewards you’re after. Just keep in mind that the card’s annual fee could cancel out the value of any freebies.

2. Switch to an Online Bank to Avoid ATM Fees

Top 5 Ways to Dodge Expensive Fees on Summer Travel

Pulling cash out of a foreign ATM could cost you $4 or $5 per withdrawal. If you’re trying to keep the final price tag for your trip as low as possible, that’s money you can’t afford to waste. Opening a checking account with an online bank that either waives foreign ATM fees or reimburses you for them means you won’t get penalized if you make a withdrawal when you’re abroad.

SmartAsset’s banking experts have pinpointed the best banks without ATM fees to help make your summer traveling even easier.

3. Don’t Pay for Insurance You Already Have

Spending money on travel insurance or paying for the rental car company’s accident insurance may give you some peace of mind. But there’s a good chance that you’re already covered. It’s best to read the fine print on your credit card agreement to see if your card issuer offers things like travel accident insurance, baggage insurance or rental car collision coverage. Those benefits are often included at no additional cost and can save you a nice chunk of change.

4. Book Flights Online, Not Over the Phone

Airlines are notorious for adding on fee after fee. Some companies even charge a premium when customers want to book flights over the phone. Rather than spending $25 or $35 on a phone reservation fee, it’s a good idea to just buy your tickets online. Besides cutting costs, that could also save you some time.

5. Stick With a No-Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Card

Top 5 Ways to Dodge Expensive Fees on Summer Travel

Foreign transaction fees are small charges that can add up in a big way if you’re travelling outside the U.S. This fee is typically 1% to 3% of the purchase amount and it’s used to cover the cost of converting U.S. dollars to the local currency. That’s an extra $1 to $3 that you’re paying on every $100 you spend with your card.

If you’re headed overseas and you’re trying to save money, it’s best to make sure you pick a credit card that doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee.

Final Word

Summer travel doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you know which fees to watch out for. Using our tips can help you keep the total bill for your next trip as low as possible.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/lechatnoir, ©iStock.com/vm, ©iStock.com/baona

Rebecca Lake Rebecca Lake is a retirement, investing and estate planning expert who has been writing about personal finance for a decade. Her expertise in the finance niche also extends to home buying, credit cards, banking and small business. She's worked directly with several major financial and insurance brands, including Citibank, Discover and AIG and her writing has appeared online at U.S. News and World Report, CreditCards.com and Investopedia. Rebecca is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and she also attended Charleston Southern University as a graduate student. Originally from central Virginia, she now lives on the North Carolina coast along with her two children.
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