International travel is expensive enough, but some consumers take on extra fees and charges simply by ignorance. Awareness is the name of the game if you want to save money while you see the world. There are many things that you need to consider as you travel abroad and they are much more important than remembering to pack your toothbrush. While you make trip planning overseas, make sure that you do not overlook these 4 budget-busting mistakes.
They are quite common because they are so easy to make and taking careful notice of them during your trip planning stages could save you thousands of dollars.
First of all, when planning your international trip you need to remember that the exchange rate is not a standardized number. When you trade in your American dollars for local currency you run the risk of paying fees but also of getting a lower return because of a poor exchange rate.
Still, it is important to not only consider the exchange rate itself, but also several other factors that can influence the final value of your currency.
You should definitely compare exchange rates before you leave, especially since airlines and hotels typically charge more in fees and offer rates that are not as competitive.
Kimberly Amadeo, contributing writer who focuses on the United States economy for About.com says
There are so many variables involved that even sophisticated currency traders can’t be sure. If you want to hedge your risk, purchase currency before you go. That way, you know it won’t cost you more than it does today.
Another thing that many people overlook is the Foreign Transaction fees that credit cards charge whenever you use your card overseas. Usually these fees average out to 1 to 3 percent of the purchase which might seem like very little, but it adds up quickly.
This is something that you can anticipate but many people don’t budget for it so they are quite shocked to find the additional service charge on their credit card bill at the end of the month.
Of course, if you try to withdraw cash from a foreign ATM you may not only suffer the foreign transaction fee but also a non-native ATM fee as well.
The Dynamic Currency Conversion is one very elusive fee that many people pay without fully understanding what it is. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding leads many people to pay it without even realizing it; only to discover much later, of course, that their statement reflects the charge.
Put simply, this is something that you can acquire if you voluntarily opt to have your purchase converted into U.S. dollars at the point of sale. If you choose to do this, the retailer will use their own rate and charge their own fee in addition to the foreign exchange fee. Altogether, this is known as Dynamic Currency Conversion.
Obviously, checked baggage fees are something else that travelers will likely have to budget for along the way. Unfortunately, though, many travelers do not properly weigh their bags, if at all, and end up stuck with excessive overweight or oversized bag fees.
In addition, you can end up spending a lot of money by paying for little things like curbside check in, in-flight food or entertainment, and more.
The one thing that, perhaps, eludes travelers more than anything else, though, is the roaming charge on cell phones. When you travel outside of the United States, you must remember that your phone is out of network.
If you don’t, you might really pay for it. Suzanne Neufang, general manager of GetThere, a corporate global technologies servicing corporation, says
Cell phone roaming charges can be the most unexpected and costly bills, especially smart phones with hefty data charges.
Of course, you could try to quell this issue with an international phone, but that will not necessarily save you money since these phones and plans are often quite expensive.