8 of the Biggest Travel Rip-offs to Avoid
It’s fun to splurge from time to time, especially when you’re on vacation. However, the following “extras” are actually huge rip-offs that may not be worth it in the end.
1. Charges for Excess Baggage
Most of the time, you won’t wear everything that you pack anyway. When you’re preparing to leave for vacation, you may think that you need four outfits for every day. In truth, though, most of that clothing will go unworn and you’ll end up paying high fees for extra luggage. Plus, if you can wash your clothing at your hotel, that’s even a less of a reason to over pack.
2. Trip Insurance
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make sure you’re adequately cared for when traveling somewhere new, but some trip insurance costs a lot and doesn’t offer much in return. Read the fine print and make sure that your current health insurance doesn’t already offer the travel coverage you want.
3. Unmarked Cabs
Never, ever get into an unmarked cab. On top of being a rip-off, they’re also not safe. Unmarked cabs are infamous for charging extra high rates, taking longer-than-necessary routes, and giving the wrong change back.
4. Tourist Dining
When traveling, eat like a local instead of like a tourist. Tourist-heavy areas tend to come with high prices. Steer clear of restaurants that over-brag or that offer unusual cuisine. For example, if you’re on a beach vacation in the Caribbean (for examples the Caribbean beaches of Costa Rica), you probably don’t want to hit up that Italian restaurant. Talk to locals to find out where the best restaurants and eateries are. Can’t find a friendly face? It’s easy to spot a tourist trap by looking at the clientele. If there are cameras and guidebooks everywhere, go somewhere else.
5. Airline Clubs
The idea of an airport’s airline club is often a lot nicer than the club itself. Members-only airline clubs are often just as loud and crowded as the rest of the airport. Unless you’ve had a great experience in the past and travel all the time, these clubs don’t offer a great return on your investment.
6. Minimum Fees at Restaurants
Another reason to avoid tourist-friendly restaurants is because many of them have minimum fees. You’ll blow through your budget and get very little in return. These restaurants are located throughout the world and should be avoided at all costs.
7. High Taxes on Alcohol
Some countries have extremely high tax on alcohol, which is a good reason to skip over cocktails when dining out (and definitely one of the reasons why I do not drink alcohol at all.) One drink can cost more than $15! To keep costs down, stick with water or order a virgin drink. I personally suggest a smoothie or fruit juice which will keep you fit when traveling, too.
8. Hotel Rooms in Major Cities
By staying smack in the center of a thriving city, you’ll pay big bucks for a tiny room. Instead, stay a few blocks from the crowds or on the outskirt of the city. Lodging rates will go down and room space will expand.
The Guy Who Flies
Thanks for the article and tips Fiona.
I agree on the overpacking, I’m guilty too but have always avoided excess fees. Using hotel laundry is a good idea if you wash yourself. If it is the hotel serviced laundry then it can be ridiculously expensive, sometimes more than buying replacement clothing from my years of experience.
Airline lounges – they do vary. I find the US carrier lounges are awful, overcrowded and certainly not worth paying for. Lounges in other places around the world can be reasonable to excellent. When they offer showers, hot and cold food, free beverages, wifi and sleeping areas and even entertainment then you are onto a good thing.
Travel insurance is not an optional extra for me, it is a necessity. I agree to shop around and check the fine print so you are covered. I’ve had to make claims in the past and good cover is worth the price – believe me!
Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler
Very good insight, thanks so much 🙂 Travel insurance is definitely a must for me, too!