Tuesday, July 23

9 Expensive Vacation Costs Travelers Always Regret

Let’s talk about expensive vacation costs that you’re likely regret!

When you go away on vacation, straying from your budget is tempting. You work hard all year, so it’s only fair to reward yourself with a retreat and some time off. The only issue is that you don’t want your vacation costs to hurt your travel memories as you try to think of how to cover that credit card bill when you get home.

This is why it’s important to control your spending on your trip. But this doesn’t have to mean sacrificing all good things. There are a couple of vacation splurgers that are pretty much always worth it, like booking a nonstop flight to your destination or applying for a TSA precheck.

Other expensive vacation costs may seem like they are worth it at first, but end up being too costly or having diminishing returns after you’ve made the purchase.

Without further ado, here are some expensive vacation costs you may want to think twice about before making!

expensive vacation costs
Photo by Aureliy from Shutterstock

1. Flying first class

Flying first class comes with more problems than most travelers may realize, and it’s often one of the most expensive vacation costs most people end up regretting.

According to experts, with airlines, the first thing you have to consider is that you can’t know with 100% certainty which aircraft you will be on. Let’s say you pay $2,000 for a first-class ticket to Hawaii. If you don’t know which kind of aircraft you’re flying on, you might simply wind up in a slightly larger seat located at the front of the plane.

This seat may not be too different from a seat in economy class. The difference, though, is that the economy class seat would set you back a few hundred dollars.

Another issue that could turn a first-class flight experience into one of the expensive vacation costs that simply aren’t worth it is a potential cancellation or delay. In this scenario, experts say the passenger might have paid for a first-class seat and known the aircraft they would have been on. However, if a smaller aircraft is slotted in, chances are it doesn’t have the same number of first-class seats.

When this happens, two things can happen: someone will either need to accept a seat downgrade (which should come with compensation!) or you may have to be willing to fly out at a different hour or even extend your stay by a night.

2. Travel agents

What once was a struggle is nowadays as easy as doing some research on the internet and giving your credit card number to a secure service. According to experts, unless you’re going to an exotic destination, splurging on travel agent fees may easily become one of the most expensive vacation costs that you’re better off without.

Some travel agents don’t charge a service fee, although even without that expense, you could get a better price online. This being said, if you’re flying within the country or going to a popular international destination where many people will speak your language, the best idea would be to get online and search for yourself.

You can use travel Web sites like Orbitz or Travelocity. Don’t forget to also have a look at discount-compilation Web sites like Travel Zoo, which searches the internet for travel deals and brings them in one place for you.

3. Paying for seat assignments

Families flying on their trip may consider spending some extra cash to pay for seat assignments to ensure everyone stays together. However, personal finance experts don’t recommend doing this, and they include the seat assignment fees on the list of expensive vacation costs that most travelers regret.

The only exceptions are when upgrading to another class of service or an advantaged seat, such as one in an exit row or with extra space.

In fact, Frontier, American, and United have official policies to not separate families. All other airlines also have similar policies, though unofficial, to keep families together, even if they aren’t guaranteed. Not even the cheapest airlines will separate a minors under the age of 16 from their parents.

4. Luxury hotels

Many people going on vacation, especially to exotic destinations, may want to treat themselves to a stay at a lavish, five-star hotel. However, the extra cost isn’t worth it, even if you can afford the splurge.

According to experts, many five-star hotels can cost as much as $35,000 per night. You might be in a wonderful place and receive excellent service, but if the hotel doesn’t enhance your overall travel experience, it might be just one of the expensive vacation costs that aren’t worth the extra money spent.

This particularly applies to travelers who don’t plan on spending much time in the hotel room during their stay. Moreover, you can get a just as comfortable stay with great amenities at a fraction of the cost.

Keep reading to discover other expensive vacation costs that you’re more likely to regret!

hotel upgrade
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5. Upgrading for anything sight unseen at a hotel

When making hotel reservations, people often choose to upgrade with add-ons like a drinks package or Wi-Fi. You haven’t seen yet what you’ll be getting, but it should be worth the money, right?

Well, be careful with those because they can turn into expensive vacation costs. In fact, experts say not to upgrade to anything that is unseen at a hotel. If the lodge wants to sell you an upgrade, the right thing would be to show it to you. Pre-buying add-ons commit you financially before the service provider has to deliver.

6. Car rental insurance

It’s not uncommon for tourists to rent a car once they reach their travel destination and buy the car company’s add-on auto insurance. Often, travelers will do this to ensure some peace of mind.

Financial experts say the reality of car rental add-on insurance is that it easily doubles your rental rate each day. As one of the most expensive vacation costs, car rental insurance can end up costing a lot.

Want to get around paying for this fee? Experts point out that it’s very likely your own auro insuarance policy covers rentals. See if it does by checking your policy.

Moreover, if your credit card provides this coverage, we recommend you pay for the rental using this card to cover your vacation.

7. Membership airfare lounges

Purchasing an airport lounge membership can be appealing for a bunch of reasons. Members get a retreat to stay in before their flight, often with free Wi-Fi, complimentary drinks, and more perks.

However, if you only occasionally fly, this type of service you receive can be among the expensive vacation costs that might not offer the best return on investment. According to personal finance experts, the annual fees for accessing airport lounges can range up to $440 per year.

While determining whether to purchase a membership to an airport lounge will depend on the traveler’s preferences and needs, experts say most airports offer plenty of accessible amenities and seating in their respective terminals.

8. Specialized group tours

Some travel destinations have very unique, in-depth special attractions: extraordinary architecture, ancient history, and hidden outdoor wonderlands.

Except for the most adventurous, research-loving tourists, specialized, thematic tours can be totally worth the money. In most cases, you simply won’t get the full experience on your own.

If you’re not really into group things, you can always choose a private guide. It will typically cost more and be among the most expensive vacation costs, but in addition to avoiding crowds of other tourists, it can be personalized in a way a group tour can’t.

The amount of money you’ll have to pay for this kind of experience depends a lot on the length of the tour, the destination, and the mode of transport involved. Sometimes, these group tours include meals, too.

However, if you’re just going to explore the sights and aren’t particularly interested in having an in-depth experience, specialized group tours are just expensive vacation costs. It’s easy enough and much less costly to get around to the popular spots on your own.

souvenirs
Photo by Marcos Castillo from Shutterstock

8. High-end souvenirs

It can be tempting to return with some lovely souvenirs to remind you of your wonderful time away from home, especially since most of us experience “vacation brain” and buy everything that draws our attention when we’re on holiday.

However, if you want to avoid expensive vacation costs, resist the urge to spend a fortune on souvenirs that won’t likely serve any purpose aside from memory-triggering. In most cases, the high-end rug from Turkey is going to seem a lot less pretty when it’s sitting somewhere in the attic because you really didn’t need another rug.

Another reason to avoid these expensive vacation costs is that high-priced souvenirs are seldom worth their travel-brain-aimed price tags.

9. Credit card/ATM fees

Vacations cost enough without adding 3%, 5%, or 10% to every payment you make. ATMs can charge a couple of bucks per transaction, and usually more (in the form of a percentage) for withdrawals overseas. When it comes to credit cards, those can charge up to a 10% fee for every dollar you spend in a foreign country, which can easily turn into expensive vacation costs.

Not all credit cards tack on a percentage, and not all ATMs charge fees. But most of them do it to make it smart to look into your credit card and bank details. The fees can quickly add up.

If your credit card has no foreign transaction fees, this can be a convenient and safe way to pay. Travelers’ checks are also a great choice. Try to avoid carrying a lot of cash—you’re in big trouble if you get robbed. By the way, anti-theft bags are a must when you’re traveling, and here are some options to choose from.

If you liked our article on expensive vacation costs, you may also want to read 7 of the Best Ways to Redeem Amex Membership Rewards Points.

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