Friday, August 3, 2012

5 Things That Can Blow Your Vacation Budget

1. Resort fees – This can be a real budget wrecker, especially if you are staying somewhere for longer than a week. When we went to the Big Island of Hawaii last year we spent $15 a day for self parking and resort fees (they even charged us $15 for our first day even though we arrived at 10pm). And these resort fees did not include internet, computer time at the business center or printing our boarding passes. It's almost like they were charging us again, on top of our room, for staying there. This year we are going to Kauai and our resort fees are $25 but they include internet, parking and introductory Hawaiian culture classes (things like hula, lei making, intro to scuba/snorkel, canoe making, and yoga/Pilates on the beach). I can really see where the resort fee is going and I fully intend on taking a few of these while I am there!

2. Preferred Seating – Sitting on an airplane can be really tough sometimes, and you want nothing more than to be able to stretch out a bit. Well to stretch out for the whole flight might cost you, some airlines charge an additional $80 per seat to sit in the "preferred/more leg room seats. These seats usually consist of bulkhead seats and emergency exits. Certain people don’t like either of these options; with the bulkhead you have to have everything up and put away upon take off and landing. So that means you will have to get up to get your things from the overhead bins during the flight (kind of a hassle). And if you are sitting in an emergency exit that means you are taking the responsibility of opening that door (to save everyone's lives) if the worst happens…personally not something I want to be responsible for.

3. Hotel WiFi – Like I said above, on the Big Island wifi wasn’t included nor did we choose to pay for it. If we wanted wifi it would have cost us $12 a day or $1.75 per 5 minutes on one of their computers. In this day and age internet is not that expensive, if you didn’t have your smart phone you would either have to pay up or be disconnected from the world…we were in Hawaii so being disconnected was kind of the whole idea. And I have often wondered why huge resorts charge for wifi but small/normal hotels don’t.

4. Carry-On Fees – Ugh…another cost that can get you! Here you have a few options to lower/eliminate this cost. Checking your bag can cost you anywhere from $25-$50 depending on the airline, weight and size of your bag. And that $25-$50 is for one way! If you travel for work or plan on taking more than one vacation a year you might consider getting an airline credit card. You will pay a $95 annual fee for having the card but you will gain free checked bags and priority boarding. Both are worth it to me! You can also sit in first class; in first class you'll get free checked bags, food, more leg room, and your bags will be the first off the plane! Worth the price of a first class ticket? Eh, it's hard to say, try bumping up to first class at the ticket counter.

5. Cashing in Miles – When you are cashing in your miles for your trip the miles are only being applied to the actual ticket price. Not the total price which includes taxes and fees. These fees can start around $40 per person for instate flights and can reach $70 per person for out of state flights (and probably over $100 per person for international travel). These fees include: US Federal Transportation Tax, US Flight Segment Tax, September 11th Security Fee and US Passenger Facility Charge.
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