Tag Archive for Travel

4 Hidden Travel Costs to Watch Out For

4 Hidden Travel Costs to Watch Out For

4 Hidden Travel Costs to Watch Out ForThere’s nothing quite as fun as planning and getting ready for vacation. After all your hard work on a daily basis, it’s a true treat to jet off to somewhere exciting.

If you’re like many smart vacationers, you likely have your trip all planned out. You’ve saved up and budgeted for everything you can think of.

However, have you ever come home from vacation (or gotten halfway through) only to realize that you’ve spent more than you originally planned? If you’ve found yourself going over your travel budget, be sure to look out for these four hidden travel costs.

1. Transportation

Getting to and from the airport is a large expense that many travelers forget. For starters, driving yourself to the airport might seem like the most convenient or cost-effective solution. However, if you plan on parking your car there for several days, the prices tend to be astronomical.

Plus, once you’ve reached your destination, be sure you have a plan for how you’ll get to the hotel. The airport is full of different options, but some can cost you a small fortune, while others, are much more budget friendly.

2. Baggage Fees

Different airlines have different policies and prices regarding your baggage. Some give you one checked bag for free and then charge you after, while others charge for each bag you check.

Plus, should your bag be overweight, you should expect to get hit with an additional fee. Be sure to examine your airlines policies and do your best to avoid too much extra baggage.

Furthermore, it might be a good idea to invest in a [easyazon_link identifier=”B00NW62PCA” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″ cart=”n” popups=”y”]baggage scale[/easyazon_link]. That way you can ensure that your bag is within the weight limit.

3. Currency & ATM Fees

Whether you’re traveling to a destination that will require you to exchange currency, or will need to use the ATM on a regular basis, both actions will add to your bill. Depending on the exchange rate and where exactly you transfer currency, you’ll find that you’ll acquire some sort of charge or lose money in the exchange.

In addition, the cost to use ATMs not associated with your bank or to use your credit cards abroad could mean you pay a fee of $3-$10 each time you do so. While that might not seem hefty at first, the cost can add up quickly.

4. Forgotten Extras

In most cases, you probably have all your meals and a few snacks considered within your budget. However, once you arrive, the desire to try out local cuisine and drink or the temptation to opt for convenience foods, can have you spending more than you planned out.

Consider your destination and be aware of any miscellaneous extras you might be tempted to splurge on. And when it comes to snacks, be prepared and pack some pre-made ones from home.

Vacation is supposed to be your time to relax and get away from the chaos of the day to day. That being said, it’ll only stand to cause you stress if you get home and find that you’ve far exceeded your budget. Be aware of these extra hidden costs, so that you can plan ahead for the future and better stick to your travel plan.

 

Can you think of any other hidden travel costs? What are some ways you’ve been able to combat these hidden travel costs?

 

Photo courtesy of: Olichel

3 Ways to Make Flying with Children as Easy as Possible

3 Ways to Make Flying with Children as Easy as Possible

3 Ways to Make Flying with Children as Easy as PossibleAir travel is a great way to save time when getting to your destination, but there are certain drawbacks that come with the experience.

For instance, you may have to pay extra to bring along all the luggage you would like to have with you, and the time spent getting through security and waiting out delays can negate some of the time saved by flying in the first place.

Another potential issue with air travel is taking your kids along for the journey. Depending on the age and personality of your kids, flying might be a stressful experience.

Fortunately, it doesn?t have to be. By preparing yourself, and your family, properly, you should be able to make your flight an uneventful, and even enjoyable, experience.

Let?s look at three ways you can make flying with your children a stress-free occasion.

1. Make Them Feel Comfortable

If this will be the first time on an airplane for your child, you want to do everything you can to make them as comfortable as possible. This will be a new, and possibly intimidating, experience, so bring them some comforts from home to make things easier.

For a small child, it could be something as simple as a stuffed animal which they can hold onto during the flight. For an older child, you might allow them to play a handheld video game or listen to their favorite music.

By bringing some normal events and items to the experience of flying, it may not seem so intimidating.

2. Avoid Having to Rush

Getting through the airport with both your kids and your luggage in tow can be challenging ? especially in a big city with a large, crowded airport. More than any other time, this is the occasion to be on time and organized.

Don?t let yourself get behind the clock and in a position where you have to rush to make your flight. Get to the airport with plenty of time to spare so you can check in at a comfortable pace.

Once you are settled in by the gate, you can give the kids some entertainment and sit back to relax for a bit before boarding the plane.

3. Be Smart About Flight Times

For small children, an especially long flight could be a challenge. When picking your destination, do your best to keep flight times modest so your children can have fun on the journey.

Unless you are traveling to visit family ? in which case you won?t be able to control the destination ? think about picking places which are reasonably close to home. Flying for a couple hours as opposed to several hours can be a big difference in the mind of a child.

If you do have to cover thousands of miles to get to your final destination, consider breaking up the trip with a couple of shorter flights, when possible.

 

Flying with children can be an extra challenge on top of an already stressful situation, but using these tips can help make it at least a little easier on all of you.

 

Have you ever flown with children? How do you make flying with children as easy as possible?

 

Photo courtesy of: silverstylus

4 Ways to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling

4 Ways to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling

4 Ways to Keep Your Money Safe While TravelingTaking a vacation can be great fun for the whole family.

Whether you are staying relatively close to home or have decided to go overseas for a big trip, you will obviously need to have money along with you to complete the voyage.

Of course, traveling with money can present some security challenges. So, you’ll want to have a plan in place before you leave home. Consider using the four tips below to protect your hard-earned money while on the road.

Take Only What You Need

In terms of cards, take along only the cards you are planning to use while on vacation.

For most people, two cards will do the trick. You can bring along your ?main? card that you are going to use for most of your purchases. Plus, you should have a backup credit card in case anything happens with that first account.

Taking fewer cards means a reduced chance of having one get lost or stolen along the way. Of course, in addition to your cards, it is a good idea to take a modest amount of cash. This can be used for purchases that you may not be able to make with a card.

Use the Safe in Your Hotel

If your hotel has a safe available, it would be a good idea to use it while you are out of your room. The hotel room might seem like a secure environment, but that is not necessarily the case. It is possible that someone could obtain a copy of the card key for the room. Or someone could come in and out quickly while the room is being cleaned.

Whatever the case, keep your valuables in the safe to protect them during your trip. This will make it less likely that a theft will occur, and it will give you some valuable peace of mind so you can enjoy your vacation.

Don?t Keep All of Your Cash in One Place

Regardless of how much cash you decide to take with you on the trip, safeguard it by dividing it up among a couple locations.

For example, you could keep some of your cash in your wallet. The rest should stay in a secure compartment in your bag.

Think about how you are going to be traveling and you should be able to find at least a couple different secure spots to stash some money. If you are visiting a place where pickpockets are known to thrive, avoid keeping your money in a back pocket to prevent yourself from becoming an easy target.

Stay on Top of Everything

You don?t want to get so relaxed while on vacation that you make a silly mistake and wind up losing some of your money in the process. Pay attention to what you are doing while you travel, make smart decisions, and be cautious when necessary.

It only takes a moment or two of casual thinking to make a mistake that could wind up costing you money in the end.

 

How do you keep your money safe while traveling? Have you ever been robbed while traveling?

 

Photo courtesy of: stevepb

6 Things to Know Before You Home Swap

6 Things to Know Before You Home Swap

6 Things to Know Before You Home SwapWith the holidays coming up, a lot of people and families start to think about holiday travel. Some families even go on vacation during these times to experience a new country or location. One way to save on the costs of vacationing is to do a home swap.

A home swap is where you switch homes with another family during the same time. Basically it?s ?free? lodging with a complete kitchen so you can cook and save on meals. If you are considering this for your holiday vacation, here are six things to know before you home swap.

Determine the Type of Home Swap You are Doing

There are three general types of house swaps.

The first is where you both switch at the same time and are gone the same amount of time.

The second is where you still exchange houses but your vacation dates are different.

The last is hosting an exchange, so you are there when your guests and vice versa when it?s your turn to stay. Some families or couples chose to host their first time doing a home swap. This option can be a great way to meet potential new friends from around the world.

Plan Ahead, Especially for International Swaps

You need to start planning sooner than later. Not everyone, especially if you have children, can pack up and go in a week. There are a lot more logistics to plan out.

Plus, if you have specific places you want to go, they may not have an available date the same as you. If you have found an exchange household, you?ll want to spend some time getting to know them first.

If you are going to travel and do an international swap, you’ll want to plan ahead even further as there are more logistics to work out for international travel.

Sign Up for a Home Swap Service

There are several home swap websites you can use, such as Love Home Swap or HomeExchange.

Though switching homes is free, some of these services do charge a yearly or monthly membership. This can make potential guests feel better knowing that both parties have skin in the game and won?t turn out to be horrible guests. These services help you find a house swap partner and help you go through the whole process.

List Your Expectations

Write down what you expect to have of your host house and what you expect of them when staying at your home. List everything they can use or do and things that are off limits.

If you are expecting to stay in a mansion with room service and you don?t mention that, you?ll be sorely disappointed when you get to a large house with no room service. The more open you are about what your needs will be, the better experience you’ll have.

Lock Valuables or Store in a Safe Place

If you do have some priceless heirlooms or some things you are worried about being damaged, you can always remove them from the premise or lock them up in a room that your guests can?t get into.

The people staying in your home are expecting you to treat their home how they treat it. That is to say they?re just as worried as you are about belongings being cared for properly.

Consider Liability Insurance

Some home swappers also trade vehicles. If you decide to do this, make sure your insurance is up-to-date and that your swap family has vehicle insurance too.

Also, check your home owner?s insurance to see if it is up-to-date and if you need to increase the amount for a short time while the other family is staying in your home.

Place the numbers of your insurance agent along with your emergency contact numbers in a convenient location. Most likely nothing will happen, but it?s better to be safe than sorry.

Most home swaps are done to great success. Once you’ve home swapped once, you’ll likely become a regular. It’s a great way to save money and get to see places all over the world.

 

Have you ever tried a home swap? Would you ever consider it?

 

Photo courtesy of: sharonang

4 Family Friendly Frugal Spring Break Ideas

4 Family Friendly Frugal Spring Break Ideas

4 Family Friendly Frugal Spring Break IdeasSpring break is one of the most-popular times of the year to take a vacation, as the kids are out of school and parents are looking forward to getting out of the office for a week.

However, while spring break trips are fun for the whole family, they are also rather expensive. Since this is a popular time to travel, good deals can be hard to find ? especially if you are thinking about heading somewhere with warm weather.

So do you need to just stay home to save money? Not necessarily. If you are willing to do some homework while being a bit flexible with your plan, you should still be able to take a trip without busting through the top of your budget.

Shorten the Trip

Spring break is usually a full week in length, but that doesn?t mean you have to take a trip that lasts the entire week. Consider shortening up your vacation to cut costs off of the trip while still giving the family a chance to have some fun. For instance, taking two nights off of the end of the trip could save you a few hundred dollars, and it will allow you to spend some time relaxing at home before getting back to the ?grind?.

Go Somewhere Different

It is common for families to head to warm climates during spring break, but you can save big money if you go in the opposite direction. Consider taking a trip to a tourist spot that isn?t quite yet ?in season?, as you can save money on lodging and activities when you go during off-peak times. Unless you have your mind set on a week of sun bathing on the beach, you should be able to have plenty of fun without heading south alongside everyone else.

Stay Close to Home

The cost of your trip is going to immediately skyrocket as soon as you book a flight to a faraway destination. The two biggest expenses for most vacations come in the form of airfare and lodging ? so you can cut the cost of your trip nearly in half when you drive instead of fly. There are probably plenty of great destinations within a few hours? drive of your home, so take a look at the map and work on picking out just the right local spot for a fun week.

The Staycation

The staycation?is an idea which has gained in popularity during recent years, and it is easy to see why. By staying at home, you don?t have to pay for either airfare or lodging, meaning your expenses for the week will be rather minimal. However, you are still going to treat this like a vacation, picking a number of local activities to enjoy with your family.

Also, try to eat most of your meals out during the week, just as you would when on a true vacation. This might not be quite the same as actually getting out of town, but it can fill the void of a spring break trip without doing so much harm to your budget.

 

Do you plan to take a spring break trip with your family this year? How will you save on the cost of your spring break trip?

 

Photo courtesy of: kaboompics