Our recent survey revealed the top ten holiday rip-offs that make you mad, with the cost of withdrawing cash abroad taking the top spot. However, in most cases, with some inside knowledge, those swindles will dwindle, writes Michael Feeley. So if you’re heading off on your hols, here’s how to beat the cheats.
1. Cost of withdrawing cash abroad
Most standard cash cards, debit cards and credit cards are likely to charge commission of around 3% for withdrawals on holiday. You may also be hit with an ATM fee. If you’re making regular small withdrawals, the charges can soon mount up.
The easiest way to avoid withdrawal charges is, of course, not to make any withdrawals: work out a budget for your trip in advance and stock up on holiday cash before you leave. Alternatively, if you don’t want to travel with a large amount of cash, take a prepaid currency card. Many prepaid cards won’t charge you to make withdrawals overseas or a foreign transaction fee when you use them in shops and restaurants.
2. Organised tours and excursions
We’ve all been there: the hard sell from the tour rep; the hours spent sweating on a coach with no air conditioning; only an hour at the tourist site you actually wanted to visit before being shuttled to a succession of restaurants, bars and shops, all paying the tour operator a commission.
If there’s a particular attraction you want to visit, ask at your hotel or the local tourist information office how to get there by public transport. The fare is likely to be considerably cheaper than an organised tour and you can spend the money you save in a restaurant or bar of your choice, rather than one owned by the bus driver’s brother!
3. Internet connection costs
It may be the digital age but that doesn’t stop some hotels charging up to £20 a day for an internet or WiFi connection.
Do your research on a hotel’s internet pricing policy before you book. The good news is that international hotel group Accor recently announced plans to make in-room internet and WiFi free of charge for guests, putting pressure on the rest of the hospitality industry to follow suit. Alternatively, you could always try to live without the internet for a week or two. Or could you?
You find the sun loungers you want at a nice spot on the beach. You apply suntan lotion to yourself and the kids then settle down for a nice snooze. Suddenly, a young man is standing over you, blocking your sun and demanding you pay Euros per bed.
Yoga mats are cheap, light and, when combined with a beach towel, make an excellent and cost-effective alternative to pay-per-day sun loungers.
5. Late check-out fees at hotels
With some hotels charging up to half a day’s rate for late check-out, that extra hour in bed can prove costly.
Let’s be honest, late check-out fees are often the result of a final night bender, followed by a leaving-day hangover. Instead, why not have your last big night out on the penultimate night of your holiday, giving you a full 24 hours to recover? If you can’t resist the temptation of a last night splurge, invest in a loud alarm clock – but remember to set it before you go out!
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