With Easter this year coinciding with school holidays and the ANZAC day long weekend, it’s a chance for many of us to take an extended break. And while we are all generally aware that any travel at Easter will bring with it several unavoidable ‘peak holiday surcharges’ it doesn’t mean that we can’t be savvy about stretching those dollars further.
If you are planning a family getaway this Easter, here are a couple of well known travel ripoffs and how you can avoid paying big.
1. Spontaneous punishment
Unfortunately it doesn’t really pay to be spontaneous anymore when travelling. These days everything from airport parking, theme park entries, spa treatments to rental cars are cheaper when you book ahead and pay in advance online. For instance, tickets to Dreamworld for a family of four are $40 less if booked online than if they paid the gate price, and pre-booking parking at Sydney airport for 6 days is $166 less than showing up and parking on the day.
2. Travel insurance commissions
Before you automatically accept the airline or travel agent travel insurance quote it really does pay to shop around. Some airlines earn over 50% commission on the travel insurance policies and a quick review of insurers on Mozo shows that prices vary substantially between insurance providers. For instance, a family of 4 travelling to Fiji for 5 nights can get coverage from as little as $44 for a basic policy with unlimited medical up to $155 for full comprehensive cover. Compare travel insurance here on Mozo.
3. Using the wrong plastic
Nothing can wipe the holiday glow off faster than a credit card bill or bank statement full of overseas fees and charges. Some banks charge as much as $5 per overseas withdrawal plus foreign exchange fees of over 3% so accessing your own money overseas can get expensive. Rule number one is never use your credit card for overseas cash withdrawals and take out money from ATMs in higher amounts so that you can limit the fees you’ll have to pay. While the Australian dollar is still high, it is a good idea to look at getting a prepaid travel card so you can lock in your exchange rate and avoid currency fluctuations while on the road. Compare how much your bank will charge you with Mozo’s Fee Finder Tool and see today’s prepaid travel card rates here.
4. Paying for the same thing twice
This is more common than you think, especially if you are looking to rent a car while on your holiday. Rental car excess reduction is a common insurance add-on by rental car companies and can take your rental price from $30 to $60 a day. But if you have standalone or credit card travel insurance there is a high chance you’re probably already covered for rental car excess so before you pay up a second time, check your policy.
5. Buying stuff you don’t really (or will ever) need
We’re all guilty of buying the equivalent of a seashell magnet, Minnie Mouse ears or local artist painting while on holiday that now sits at the back of the closet somewhere in its original packaging. If you’re planning on holidaying in a known shopping hotspot, before you go, write out a list of things you want to buy and set yourself a budget for each item. A list will help you stay focussed on getting the things you really want. There’s nothing worse than paying credit card interest on a red leather jacket from Bali that will end up in the local charity bin.