Travel mistakes that could blow your budget

The holiday season is approaching fast, and many of us have already started Travel mistakes-255planning trips away.
Keep your hard-earned money working for you by avoiding these seven holiday travel mistakes on your next trip:

1. Using public Wi-Fi, especially for financial transactions

When you’re travelling it can be tempting to connect to every airport, café or hotel Wi-Fi signal you come across.

Public Wi-Fi may seem like it makes travelling easier, but you could be making yourself an easy target for hackers — and putting your personal information at risk. For this reason many reputable sources say you should never connect to public Wi-Fi and instead use solutions such as:

  • Invest in an unlimited cell phone data plan, or pre-purchase additional cell-phone data
  • Local simcards if travelling overseas (which can often be purchased at very low cost)
  • Accessing a secure Wi-Fi network such as in your hotel
  • If you’re overseas use roaming – after thoroughly checking the charges!

2. Getting distracted by a great deal

When making travel plans, some people think that booking the cheapest flights might save them a wad of cash, only to find that when the day of travel comes around the budget airline they’re booked on is experiencing a lot of cancellations and delays which ends up costing them a lot more.

Other common issues when planning a holiday are booking all-inclusive holidays without reading the fine print (these trips sometimes aren’t “all inclusive” at all) or focussing on just the airline ticket price and forgetting about all the other costs that go with it.

3. Inappropriate travel insurance, or not getting it at all

Many Kiwi’s travelling overseas forget that most countries don’t have New Zealand’s free public health system, and even the quickest hospital visit can cost many thousands of dollars.

Australian research (which we have no reason to think wouldn’t apply to Kiwis) has shown that even those that do get travel insurance often go for the cheapest rather than the most suitable travel insurance.

4. Exchanging money at the airport

Take a moment to think about the last time you made a simple purchase while waiting at an airport, perhaps it was a bottle of water and a sandwich. The chances are you overpaid for such simple items, mainly because the shops in the airport usually pay very high rents for the privilege of being there.

Changing money at the airport is no different, and most-often at airports the exchange rates are poor and transaction fees high. This will leave you with less spending money for the things you really want on holiday.

Instead of changing money at the airport, it pays to:

  • Change currency before your trip starts, and
  • In addition to the exchange rates, look at any fees and commission charged by currency exchange providers.

5. Not checking baggage allowances

The joy of shopping up a storm on your holiday can quickly turn sour when you’re charged hundreds of dollars to bring your new purchases home, with excess baggage fees for international flights costing up to $80 per extra kilo.

Some airlines are cracking down on baggage allowances, so expect to have your suitcases and carry-on luggage weighed at the airport. Even if you’re just a few kilos over, airline staff are getting stricter enforcing their fees and may charge you at the gate.

To avoid any excess charges, make sure you know the carry-on and checked baggage limits for your airline and, if needed, book extra luggage when you purchase your ticket.

6. Failing to plan trips to and from airports

Assuming every location has great public transport has been the downfall of many travellers who arrive to find that public transport only runs until 8pm or doesn’t connect to the airport at all.

You may have to fork out exorbitant amounts of money for a taxi fare to the city centre at the mercy of a local driver only too willing to take advantage of tired and unprepared tourists.

Save yourself some serious cash by researching your destination’s public transport, shuttle and taxi options before you leave.

7. Paying inflated holiday prices

Not all of us are organised enough to buy holiday airline tickets months in advance, when prices are cheaper.

All is not lost. You can avoid last-minute price hikes on Christmas travel by flying on Christmas day itself. Even better, if it’s possible for you to take your regular holidays during shoulder season you’ll probably save yourself thousands each year, and as you’ll be travelling when popular locations aren’t overflowing with other visitors you might have a much more enjoyable time.

The bottom line

To recap, here are seven travel mistakes to avoid on your next trip:

  1. Using public Wi-Fi, especially for financial transactions
  2. Getting distracted by a great deal
  3. Inappropriate travel insurance, or not getting it at all
  4. Exchanging money at the airport
  5. Not checking baggage allowances
  6. Failing to plan trips to and from airports
  7. Paying inflated holiday prices.