Tips to Avoid Travel Traps

Baggage, blankets, bottled water – the airlines are always looking for new ways to nickel and dime us, and we don’t have a way out of most of them. But once you’re off the tarmac, it’s a different story entirely. New York Times Practical TravelerMichelle Higgins explained on Wednesday’s show how to avoid fees, hidden charges and general rip-offs during your next vacation.

Of course, one of the first hidden charges you’ll run into is right after you grab your bags and lug them through the concourse: rental car insurance.

You almost definitely don’t need this, Higgins said. Many credit cards cover rental car insurance, and your personal car insurance policy probably does, too. Check your policies ahead of time to make sure you’re covered on the road so you can decline this daily fee when you see it.

Look out for resort fees next, Higgins said. Many hotels and resorts will tack on a fee that covers maintenance for the pool, the gym – all the amenities you didn’t get to use on your trip. You probably won’t see this until you check out and receive the bill, so call ahead of time and ask about any miscellaneous fees.

If you’re going on any type of tour through a specific company, beware of the new currency surcharge. Tour companies are kindly passing the cost of the declining dollar on to you. But because they put out their brochures ahead of time, you aren’t likely to see these until it’s too late. Book your tour early, lock in the rate and you should be free from this hidden charge.

If your big vacation includes a cruise, be extra careful because this is where you can really be taken for a ride. Like airlines, the cruise industry has been hammered by high oil prices. Watch out for a fuel surcharge, which can sometimes be as high as $140, Higgins said. Work with a travel agent to book a trip that is fuel fee free.