We all love getting a good deal on a flight, especially if it's a last minute trip. Sometimes we get so excited about finding that diamond in the rough that we forget to read the fine print. Because of hidden fees, a good deal on a flight ends up costing the same as an average priced one.
But it's not only flights that have hidden fees. Many other factors involved in travel have their own costs. Here's how I avoid hidden fees from the airport, flights, and rental car dealers.
Airport food and drinks are expensive. One bottle of water can be the same price you'd pay for an entire case! I recommend bringing an empty water bottle that you can fill once you get past security. Having snacks with you is also a good idea.
Sometimes you have questions about your flight that a chatbot can't answer so you call the airline's customer service center. Although it might seem like a good idea at the time to book your flight while you're talking with an agent, it isn't free. Most of the major airlines participate in charging you a fee to book with an agent.
If you must use an agent or need to make purchases, use one of the best small business credit cards to earn points or miles for travel related expenses.
This one gets tricky, depending on the airline you are flying and the seat class you purchased. Some airlines restrict bags to one carry-on that fits underneath your seat. Know the bag policy before you leave to avoid surprise fees.
Sometimes a carry-on bag will suffice for your business trip, however, that's not always the case. Consider shipping your belongings to your destination to avoid the checked baggage fee.
In most cases, it's cheaper to ship your bag when it's overweight. However, if you know your bag isn't going to weigh more than 50 lbs, consider paying the checked bag fee.
You can also avoid the checked baggage fee altogether by flying with airlines who don't charge you for your bags, such as Southwest. Other ways you can avoid checked baggage fees is by either becoming a frequent flyer, joining airlines' loyalty programs or applying for an airline credit card.
If you do plan on using your laptop and already know what sites you need to use, then before you go to the airport, turn your browser setting to offline mode. You may be able to take care of your work without paying for WiFi. However, if you need to use WiFi, fly with JetBlue since they offer it for free.
If you fly often, consider buying a pass to use WiFi as often as needed. Alternatively, if you have an airline credit card, you may be able to get WiFi for free or at least at a discount.
You brought your ticket on your flight, but getting the seat you want will cost you. You can try searching for a better seat if there are options available. But if paying a hefty price for a seat you want isn't in your budget, try getting to the airport early and asking one of the agents if you can switch to an empty seat.
Blanket and pillows
For some people, having a blanket and pillow with them on their flight is a necessity. Some airlines charge you for this extra comfort. If you have space and can pack a thin blanket, then you can avoid this fee. Then you can bunch up your jacket and use that as a makeshift pillow.
Car rental insurance
Before you allow car dealers to talk you into paying for insurance, see if your personal car insurance covers any damage you may incur in a rental car. Alternatively, your credit card may cover collisions if you book a rental car through them.
Most rental car agencies will give you the option of filling up the tank before you return the vehicle or paying for them to do so. Always opt for filling it up yourself. Even though it may be a small hassle, it is often much cheaper.
Car rental locations
Although cars for rent near or at the airport are extremely convenient, the price to rent may be higher. To avoid paying high costs, find car rental dealerships that are away from the airport. I've taken a cheap Lyft ride to a rental agency further out of the area. Not only did I get a better deal, but I also didn't have to worry about driving myself out of airport traffic.
Avoid paying to make withdrawals by locating your bank's ATM or an ATM in your bank's network. If there are none available, consider going to a grocery store and opting for cash back. In the case where none of these are viable options, withdraw a large amount so that you won't have to make so many withdrawals.