Travelers beware of hidden fees you are going to be subject to as you prepare your vacation plans. These hidden fees are gonna getcha in addition to the already hefty cost you will be paying. Whether you're traveling, banking, or renting a car, you're going to be subject to a host of additional fees, some hidden and some blatantly obvious. During this current economic downturn, this is one of the ways companies have to collect more money from you on top of the price for the actual service.
Here are 6 hidden fees you may encounter as you plan your summer vacation, some of which you can't avoid:
Airlines Baggage Fees
Passengers traveling with cumbersome items such as bikes, golf clubs, and skis are used to paying extra fees to haul them. Some airlines have now began charging passengers for checked luggage. Almost every major U.S. airline carrier charges between $15 and $25 for the first checked bag, and $25 to $35 for a second piece. Fortunately, JetBlue allows one piece for free -- but charges $30 for a second item. Southwest allows two pieces for free. The Airline baggage fee trend has yet to go global. Most international carriers allow you to check one piece of luggage free, while Lufthansa and Frontier allows two pieces.
For many Americans, Automatic Teller Machine(ATM) usage has become as common as cell phone usage. It is a necessary evil which we all partake in. As technology makes ATM transactions increasingly cheaper, the cost of using another bank's ATM continues to rise. Bankrate.com reported that 99.2% of all ATMs levy some type of a surcharge, which averages $1.97. This is a 10% increase, up from a year ago. Many of you will discover this summer that your own bank is giving you the shaft too. Thanks to its fee for using another company's ATM. Their fees average around $1.46, up from $1.25 a year ago. So if you have to use an ATM while you are on vacation, expect to pay an average of $3.43 for not having enough cash on hand. If there is a WalMart nearby, buy something cheap and opt for some cashback instead.
Airline Fuel Surcharges
If your travel plans include international air travel, you will surely be affected by the constant rising fuel costs. Airlines are demanding increasingly exorbitant "airline fuel surcharges" to maintain their corporate profit margins. Airline fuel surcharges were first introduced approximately two years ago for international flights. Today they are responsible for an increase, on average, of $100 per ticket to most European destinations according to Bestfares.com. Travel to many German cities doubled from $160 in July 2009 to $320 in July 2010. Dublin, which enjoyed bargain-basement fuel surcharges last year at $14, now costs $184. That is still the lowest fuel surcharge to Europe.
Airline Preferred Seat Selection Fee
Airplanes travel remains the preferred means of vacation travel. Knowing this, it appears airlines have designed airplanes to cram passengers into. Like sardines, passengers are crammed into undersized seats in order to maximize the carrier's profits. Smart and often oversized travelers generally opted for emergency row seats for some precious extra legroom, while others choose to sit near (or far) from the bathroom. In the past, the ability to choose a window or aisle seat has traditionally been a standard courtesy while purchasing a ticket. Today many airline carriers are now charging for this non-service. The worst offenders of the airline preferred seating selection fee are United Airlines ($14 to $109 for domestic flights, and $89 to $109 for international flights) and Virgin America ($15 to $50). Others carriers, like American and Delta, still let you choose your seat for free, both domestically and internationally. At the rate the airlines are seeking, finding and adding on fees for non-services, in-flight pay toilets are probably inevitable. Don't laugh, it has already been proposed by Ireland's Ryanair.
Currency Conversion Fees
While enjoying your overseas summer travels, pay close attention to your credit card bill when you get home. You will discover you paid more than you bargained for thanks to a "foreign currency conversion" fees which add on as much as 3% additional cost. One percent of that currency conversion fee is charged by your credit card company, which is less than the commission you'd typically pay at a foreign exchange booth. Bankrate.com reports many credit card issuers and banks are overcharging their customers by attaching an additional 2% fee on top of that fee without providing any additional service-- which they rarely bother to disclose. The credit card issuers and banks known to be raking in this pure profit at the expense of their customers include Bank of America, Citibank and Chase.
Hidden Traffic Ticket Fees
If your vacation travel plans include a road trip, do not get a traffic ticket in California. California has instituted hidden ticket fees to assist them in plugging budgetary holes. According to Southern California's Triple-A, the base fee for a carpool-lane violation is $100, but nine additional fees, such as a "state court construction fund fee" can inflate that violation total to roughly $440. Other California cities even charge "crash fees" for fire and police services rendered at the scene of an auto accident, even though general taxes already pay for such services and most Californian's do not use the court system to handle traffic tickets.
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