5 travel money rip-offs to stay away from this Easter
The Easter long weekend is fast approaching and it’s the perfect opportunity to take a mini vacay without digging into your annual leave. But like any peak holiday period, travelling during Easter can be expensive. While you can’t do much about high flight costs, you can make sure you don’t fall prey to pricey tourist traps. Here are 5 travel money rip-offs that you can easily stay away from this Easter.
Rip-off #1. Travel insurance commissions
Did you know that there can be a considerable difference between what you pay for travel insurance with an airline or travel agent compared to a standalone travel insurance company for the same cover? A recent mystery shop by Mozo revealed that for a 4-day family trip to Bali, the difference between the two is as much as $170! Airlines and travel agents earn a commission on any travel insurance policy that’s booked using their services so the smartest way to not pay this commission is to shop around. Try Mozo’s free travel insurance comparison tool, it compares over 40 insurers instantly and makes it easy to shortlist policy options and prices for your holiday plans.
Rip-off #2. High airport parking fees
With all the holiday planning and excitement, this one’s easy to forget until it’s too late. But booking your airport parking in advance online can result in a huge saving. It can even be cheaper than a taxi or Uber. For instance, pre-booking a parking slot in Sydney’s International P7 for the long Easter weekend (25-28 March) will cost just $135. Whereas, if you drive up without a booking, you’ll be charged $59 a day ($236 for four days). I know what I’d do with that extra $101!
Rip-off #3. Expensive group tours to tourist hotspots
While a group tour might seem like a convenient option for you to tick off all the popular tourist sites, remember that you’ll be paying premium prices. Why pay $70 per person for a half day temple tour in Bangkok when you can easily slash the price if you use the Sky Train or ferry service? In fact, any big city is likely to have a good public transport system and reasonable tourist passes like the Hong Kong MTR Day Pass or the Roma Pass, which give you unlimited access to the city’s transport network and in some cases even let you skip the long queues at popular landmarks and museums! A few quick Google searches and free travel apps can save you heaps of money – and you’ll get to have a more genuine local experience.
Rip-off #4. Car rental excess insurance
If you’re hiring a car for your Easter trip then don’t forget to check your travel insurance to see if it includes rental car excess cover. This is generally offered as standard on comprehensive travel insurance (including travel insurance offered through your credit card), so rather than also paying for this insurance with the car rental company put that extra $20 a day towards those delicious cocktails by the pool of your hotel.
Rip-off #5. Currency conversion fees
Many travellers aren’t aware that most banks charge between 2% – 3% of the total value of a transaction for overseas card payments. So say you spend around $3000 on your holiday, you’d pay $90 extra in fees because of this surcharge. The good news is that you can avoid this fee by getting a prepaid travel card. With these cards, you lock in the exchange rate before you travel and because your funds have already been converted to the currency, you don’t pay overseas conversion fees on purchases. The exception to this however, is when you use the card in a currency not loaded on the card, so avoid doing this.
Bio: Shubhda Khanna Nag is a travel money writer with financial comparison site Mozo. A travel addict herself, she’s always on the hunt for ways to stretch her dollar further and help her readers get the best value out of their travel budget. Follow Shubhda on Twitter @ShubhdaKhanna