Travel’s Biggest Rip-Offs

I’m sure you’ve experienced some of travel’s biggest rip-offs.

Traveling is all about making time to relax and enjoy life.  When you say you’re on vacation then really what you’re saying is I don’t want to mess with stupid and complicated crap that can ruin my relaxing vacation in a minute flat. Unfortunately for all of us who travel, there are gotchas everywhere.  Travel’s biggest rip-offs can easily add hundreds of dollars in needless travel expenses and provide little to no upside at all.  So travel smart and don’t forget to learn from your mistakes.

Here are a few of the charges that I look out for:

WiFi Charges

This is an addiction you can choose to feed or not when you travel.  Many friends of mine choose to unplug and not worry about being connected 24×7.  For others, the struggle is real.  They must have a connection to do their constant social media posts, checking of email and seeing who has looked at their profile today.  That’s where it gets expensive.  Basic in-room internet is usually free or cheap, but if you want to connect poolside or on the beach for example, you’ll end up paying a premium charge.


ATMs & Exchanging Currency

If you are using out-of-network ATMs or the currency exchange at the airport you have arrived on the rip-off express.  Normal ATM fees can range between 3 and 8 percent, but if you go outside your network the fees grow scary very quickly.  If you need quick cash in another currency, depending on the ATM service fee, the normal fees could yield a pretty good deal with convenience.  Avoid airport currency kiosks and your local bank for exchanging, I have found their rates to not be competitive.


Purchasing Anything at the Airport

I’m pretty sure I still hold the record of $28 for a simple breakfast sandwich and coffee when I was out of time to make my flight and starving.  I will go so far as to say, plan to buy nothing at the airport.  Make it a game and try to anticipate what you’ll need to survive the airport with a budget of less than $5-10.  Then go down fighting or do without.  In case you are wondering, the duty free stores are the worst.  They are there to make you think you’re getting a great deal, but really you’re not!


Baggage Fees

I know I have blown $20-30 here and there because I showed up at the airport without a plan.  Avoid this huge potential rip-off by knowing what you have and learning ahead of time the leanest, meanest way to get it on the flight.  By reading the rules and asking questions I have trimmed what would have been more than a hundred fifty dollars to less than fifty.  I also recommend doing it with a porter at the airport vs. online, because you’ll get the benefit of their expertise.



How many times have you had everything all worked out and found out it was $50/day+ to park your car at the hotel.  You were driving to save money and now the parking fees are so high you’re not saving anything.  Depending on where you are staying, you might not have a choice.  However, if you are good at research, try to come up with a few other options. Chances are you can avoid your hotel’s greedy parking policy by finding something suitable nearby.


Cellphone and Data Charges

Everyone loves their cellphone when they travel.  However, if you’ve ever returned home to huge and complicated bill, then you know you have to be very careful not to accidentally cause a $100 phone call home just to chit-chat.  The best thing I have found to avoid these huge bills is to call your carrier ahead of time, discuss where you’re going and who/how often you will talk.  Then make an informed decision should you need to update your phone or data plan during your vacation week(s).


More from Samantha Brown:

6 Signs You’re An Experienced Traveler

Things You Must Do When You Travel

Money Can Buy Happiness

Don’t Be One of These Annoying Travelers

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