Based on recent survey results, among those traveling between the Christmas and New Year holidays this year, 22 percent will spend more than $2,000 on their travel expenses alone.
In 2009, AAA estimated that 87.7 million Americans traveled more than 50 miles over the holidays.
To help travelers prepare for expenses and prevent last-minute surprises, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends that consumers review the list of travel-related businesses below that may charge additional fees. In addition, to confirm whether or not a travel product or service company is trustworthy, BBB offers consumers a mobile website with online business reviews at: m.bbb.org.
BBB recommends that consumers prepare for potential extra travel fees from the following types of businesses:
Bag fees: Some airlines charge to check bags, so carry on one bag to cut down on this expense. Keep in mind that even if bag check-in is free, if your bag is over 50 pounds, you could still be charged an overweight fee.
Pet fees: Most airlines will accept pets if they are kenneled, but there is a charge of around $100. If you want your pet in the cabin with you, make a reservation, because generally, there is a limit on how many animals can be in cabin on a single flight.
Ticket changes: Plans can change, but keep in mind that your travel cost was determined by your original departure and arrival times. Changing these can cause you to pay more, especially during the holiday travel season.
Airport food and beverage vendors: As flights are often delayed or canceled at the last moment, consumers should be prepared to purchase food and beverages as needed from the airport vendors. Bring a backpack with extra clothes and snacks to prevent additional expenses.
Room Service: It is convenient, but if you can avoid ordering room service, it could save you a few dollars compared to eating out or packing something you can heat in your room.
Telephone and Internet Usage: Use your cell phone to make calls and check your hotel agreement before plugging into an Internet connection or accessing a wireless network. Sometimes fees for Internet access are billed by the day or by the hour.
Vehicle Rental Companies:
Additional Drivers: You have to let the rental company know who will be driving the vehicle, but they may charge to have extra drivers on the rental agreement.
Fuel Fee: Most companies ask you to return their vehicle with a full tank of gas, or at the level it was before you left their lot. If you fail to do so, you may be charged later, and perhaps more for the inconvenience, when the company has to fill up the tank.
GPS and Car Seats: Even if your rental car comes equipped with GPS, you may be charged extra to use it. The same goes for child safety seats if you are traveling with young children. Make sure to ask the company about these fees before you begin your road trip.