If you’re a long-time reader of Quick Tips, you know that we like to travel. We’ve become expert at getting the most out of our vacations while keeping our travel costs low. In the last few years, the airlines have been adding so many fees… they kind of remind me of the banking industry.
But, there ARE ways to avoid or reduce those airline fees! Let me help you.
When I first started to travel, you paid for your airfare and all the little perks were included – checked luggage, beverage and a meal, the seat of your choice, and a movie. Those were the good old days.
Now back to today’s reality. All those little extras come with fees that can make even the most reasonable airfare seem expensive.
There is a real advantage to traveling light. Don’t over-pack. Choose clothing that you can mix and match. I personally pick three color themes for the trip so that all my clothes can be interchanged. Because I pack fewer clothes, I can bring my luggage as a carry-on to avoid the baggage fees and save time at the airport. If you try this, just remember to pack 3 ounces or less of toiletries because you won’t be checking your luggage.
If healthy eating is as important to you as your wallet, you will bring your food with you. Buying food on the plane, or in the airport, can be unhealthy and expensive. Pack what you like to eat, and you will be all set. Remember to bring an EMPTY water bottle. That can go through security, and you can refill before boarding the plane. Or, just purchase a beverage after the security check point.
Entertainment can be costly on the plane, but you can avoid it. Are you carrying your own electronics on the flight? If so, you can save money. Most mp3 player ear buds will work to watch the movie – you don’t need to rent or buy headphones from the airlines. Maybe you’d rather watch your own entertainment – bring it with you. While you can’t use Wi-Fi for free, you can watch what you already have downloaded to your laptop or tablet. This will save you even more money.
Choosing Your Airline (and your seating arrangement)
When you book your flight, there are so many options to choose from and all at a cost to you. Where do you want to sit? When do you want to board? All of your choices can cost money. Only you can decide if being one of the first to board the plane, and sitting up front, are worth the added fees. Personally, we fly one airline (and its partners), so we have frequent-flyer status with the airline, and get some seating benefits without paying additional fees.
If you’re a frequent flyer, you can do this too. If you’re not, you can participate with a credit card rewards program that can offer some of these perks without the fee. Beware: the types of credit cards that offer travel perks are usually the kinds that have an annual fee and/or a higher interest rate.
Look closely at how you travel, and consciously choose the perks you want to pay for.
Do you like to travel? How do you avoid added airline fees? Join the discussion.