When considering the number of planes in the sky at any moment you will have a quick understanding of the millions of people who have packed fresh undies and socks into a suitcase today and fled to the skies for a well-deserved travel adventure. Personally, you may be the road trip type, preferring to stop at servos for slurpies and snacks while singing along to your tailored music playlist. Whether you are sipping down Champagne in first class or playing I-spy with the kids while driving past a paddock of cows, there are plenty of faux pas that can happen along the way.
Here’s a quick list of exactly how to spend too much on your next holiday. These 10 financial faux-pas, which include booking your flights at late notice and forgetting to take a backup credit card, highlight common financial mistakes made by travellers the world over, when booking the perfect holiday. Heeding these mistakes will ensure you have the money in your pocket to deal with any other surprises that might occur.
Mistake 1: Spend too much on your flight
The best way to spend too much on your flight is to definitely book it a week or so before leaving. This action will result in you paying double and you will be kicking yourself as you tap those credit card details into an online booking service.
Mistake 2. Be totally rigid with your dates
The next way to pay too much for your flight is to be stubborn about leaving times and dates. When checking out dates online be staunch and do not budge one bit. If you like a great sleep-in, which will afford you at least two coffees before leaving, stick to your chosen and ‘perfect’ mid-morning flight. Yes, I am talking the flight everyone else wants. Also travel on the weekend like everyone else, such as on a Friday night or Saturday morning. Sit on that flight with the knowledge that while you got your precious sleep-in, you may not have the money to buy souvenirs or a bus into the city, when you get to your destination.
Such joy (not….).
Tip: Don’t forget you can always sleep on a flight and grab a coffee once you wake up! Plus, you’ll get a full day at your destination, and not a half day.
Mistake 3: Travel during school holidays, Christmas and New Year
Marketing companies the world over love a good school holiday, Christmas marketing pitch or New Year’s Eve break. Peak seasonal holiday periods are the perfect time for these companies to take your hard-earned money. Disorganised, weary and time-poor people the world over are out in force at this time of year and are looking to catch up with relatives and long-lost friends at short notice.
But, since it is the people who make the holiday, not the event itself, you may wish to consider this alternative:
If you get organised ahead of time, you can get everyone in the one room on the off-season and have more fun doing so. With the complex life scenarios around, such as newly re-attached divorced couples and siblings living in different countries (all you need to do is consider your own family) you may wish to consider a Christmas in July for example. Seriously consider different dates for the sake of location, budget and getting everyone in the room. You may also be able to upgrade the destination to a better one or get a deal on luxury rather than budget accommodation. Pitch your idea to friends or relatives and you will be surprised by the response. Most will be happy with the advance notice and the fact that they can actually make it and also afford it. Further, a less pressured event and time will mean the room will be filled with a bunch of relaxed and happy party-goers!
Note: Also consider the cost of groceries and such associated costs in non-peak times. These costs all add up.
Mistake 4: Don’t shop around
If you want to spend more on your holiday, jump online and pick the first travel booking service you see. Then use that site to book your flights and accommodation. Yes, you will get that task ticked off your list, but you may well spend double by being so hasty. Unless you earn squillions per hour and your time really is money (in that case you can afford a more expensive holiday anyway), invest the time using comparison sites and shop around for the best deal. You will be shocked at the savings with this time investment. Also ask around on social media and your local networks if anyone knows of a great cut-price service for booking travel. Glean tips from people who have gone before you.
Mistake 5: Don’t read reviews online
Another great way to throw good money into the wind, is to not read reviews online. Sure, you may have got a great deal on a B & B in the South of France, but did you know the proprietor is a slimy creep and that the gorgeous cotton sheets on offer are yellow and stained beneath those Internet photos of the duvet? Definitely read reviews online before purchasing anything or you may find yourself looking for alternative accommodation in the middle of the night, or lying in that dirty bed staring at a similarly filthy ceiling thinking about the money you just wasted.
Mistake 6: Buy silly ‘add-on’ deals online and don’t check the fine print
You know the old adage ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch?’ Well, despite all the amazing deals online, these are often ‘deals’ because no-one else wants them (just like those specials you see at the supermarkets). Many travel deals are added onto accommodation packages but are often experiences travelers don’t want to indulge in once at the destination. For example, you may not wish to go on a Gondola in a blizzard. Get the picture? Have a good think about the deal on offer and read the fine print. If the deal was that good, most people would be happy enough to pay full price for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Mistake 7: Cram so much into your itinerary that you financially implode
While cramming your itinerary full of great experiences sounds like fun, the logistics of doing this can be both stressful and expensive. Leave gaps in your schedule so you can actually relax (yes, that’s the point of a holiday) and so that every living minute of your holiday doesn’t involve spending money.
Mistake 8: Leave ridiculously small gaps between flights
If you fly frequently you will know what it feels like to wait at the gate for a delayed flight. The last flight I took to Noosa in Qld was delayed by two hours because a bird had flown into the wing on the previous trip. We spent those two hours watching an engineer literally plucking those feathers by hand out of the engine. Yes, true. Luckily we had not organised a similarly inexpensive and non-refundable flight at our destination for our family of four, because that would have been a very expensive mistake indeed.
Note: I was more than happy to wait for the bird to be extracted though, as I heard after our flight, that those cute little winged creatures can bring planes down. Nice to know, in hindsight!
Mistake 9: Don’t take enough money or some backup credit
If you really want to ruin a great trip, definitely take limited funds. You won’t be able to see any of the sights at your destination and you will be eating noodles in your hotel room rather than enjoying a Pain Au Chocolat or un café out in a wonderful destination like Paris. Further, definitely take a backup credit card such as American Express. Such cards offer freebies like up to 10,000 extra mileage points and even a free flight every year. Check out their guide to using your American Express card abroad.
Mistake 10: Don’t write a budget before leaving
Finally, if you really want a holiday you can forget, don’t budget before you go. Aimlessly jump on flights and spend money randomly at every destination. You will certainly run out of money half way through your great adventure because you did not take into account the possible associated costs of travel including airline fees and charges, service charges at hotels, internet charges and even buying coffees while waiting for a delayed flight! Work through your itinerary and write your budget according to the days you will spend at each destination. Factor in costs for visiting attractions, breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners and also the unexpected.
Consider using a budgeting app while traveling and reap the benefits of keeping control of your spend while away. Also budget to have some money in your account when you get back. There’s nothing worse than the travel depression of coming home broke!
Do you have any travel faux-pas you’d like to share? Drop them into the conversation and comments below.