What Are the Biggest Travel Rip Offs?
It costs a lot of money to travel these days and that makes me sad because I love traveling, but I found some of the biggest travel ripoffs and how to skirt them.
There is almost no way around baggage fees, unfortunately. There is one airline that doesn't charge for baggage, but if you don't want to fly that airline, or that airline isn't going where you're going, you're going to have to change the way we pack. If we're going to be somewhere for a few days, I always pack for warm weather, cool weather, extra this and extra that. I really try and get everything in one bag so I don't have to carry on, but travel expert Terry Tripler says that when you're going somewhere and are going to be there for a period of time, many hotels offer laundry services and you can often get your clothes washed for a lot less than what it costs to bring an extra bag.
Sometimes agents will offer a deal if you buy trip insurance, but sometimes the insurance costs more than the "deal", so are you really saving? Terry says travelers need to read the policy carefully, otherwise trip insurance can be downright worthless. The one exception is if you're going somewhere during hurricane season. We have relatives who couldn't get to their destination because of a hurricane. They had purchased travel insurance and got all of their money back, but, like Terry says, read the policy carefully.
You could die, or end up getting charged way more than you should be. Gypsy cabs are known for exorbitant fees, less than direct routes and stolen credit card numbers. When you land, make a bee line for the transportation desk. See if your hotel offers a free shuttle and if not, grab a car service that offers a flat fee or ask where the cab stand is. People will approach you when you walk outside asking if you need a ride. Tell them no thanks, be firm and keep walking. Taxis are required to have visible markings and a visible license, permit or medallion. Also, when you hail a cab, look and see if the cab is with the others or is it off by itself and is the driver with the cab or are they off hustling other travelers?
When we go on vacation, we have a rule about where to eat. We can't eat anyplace we can eat at home. If you're looking for a great place to eat, there are apps, books and websites that can help you out. One app that I love is TV Food Maps. It shows you where restaurants are near you that have been on different TV shows like Diners, Drive Ins and Dives and Man Vs. Food. It also has maps, price points and reviews. Eat Your World is a great website that shows you places to eat all over the world and the book A Fork on the Road is a food guide to 400 cities. It's also a good idea to chat up the locals and find out where they eat, but don't ask the concierge. Ask your cab driver or the cops. They know what's up.