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Watch out for Extra Journey Charges on your Gap Year

Sunday 1st May 2011

Remember to budget for potential extra travelling charges when you fly

Recent news reports have yet again highlighted the budget airlines’ practice of charging extra fees for anything from extra luggage, a check-in fee to a glass of water when you’re a sitting duck on board. Last year one airline company even considered charging the passengers for spending a penny. So when you’re planning your gap year travel arrangements remember to take into account any possible hidden extra charges.

Tips on how to avoid hidden extra costs are to pack wisely, eat before you fly and know the weight limits and rules for baggage before you leave home. There’s not a lot you can do about the extra cost of taxes, or being charged to check-in as they are legally required before you board a plane, and airlines are not obliged to include these costs in the advertised ticket prices.

Extra fees that may be charged on top of your ticket price could be:

•    Prior online check-in – usually cheaper than checking in at the airport but keep your boarding pass somewhere secure so as not to lose it!
•    Choosing a particular seat may only be relevant if you’re nervous about flying, or need to sit next to your friends.
•    Credit card fees- Use the cheapest one you can.
•    Priority boarding – unless you really hate crowds or rushing there’s really no point
•    Taxes – Check to see which airlines include taxes in the price, or not when you’re comparing the cost.
•    Extra baggage – Check the weight AND dimensions of your in-flight luggage, try and fly with carryon luggage only if it’s a short trip
•    Bulky baggage or snowboards are extra weight and bulky space-hoggers (hire them when you get there instead)
•    Travel insurance – get your travel insurance before you leave home. Buying travel insurance once you get the airport usually means paying a premium. Plus some airlines automatically include single trip insurance unless you opt out.
•    Booked seats – you can choose to book a seat
•    Onboard food & drink – Eat before you leave or make a packed lunch but check what edible substances you’re allowed to take on board!

Travelling can be expensive but by following some of these tips a little cash saved here and there can add up to a decent amount that’s better spent on your adventures when you reach your destination. These excellent tips were posted by one of Lonely Planet’s guest bloggers.