Holidays seem to be cheaper than ever, with plenty of companies advertising incredible deals for that well-deserved week away. But when you come home you're often left wondering if you have a hole in your pocket as you've spent way over the odds and what seemed like a cheap getaway has rendered you penniless.
It's easy to get carried away and splurge on holiday, but are you actually paying too much for what you're getting? Here are a few hidden holiday costs and sneaky fees to keep your eye out for.
If you are planning to drive to the airport/dock and take advantage of long-stay car parking zones then be sure to book in advance. There are some great cheap airport and port parking solutions available with 'meet and greet' services that make parking a breeze. If you are going to take a cab to and from the airport, be sure to gather a few different quotes and try your hand at haggling. Don't be afraid to say "no" to a taxi driver's quote if you feel it's too expensive.
Generally tipping and paying service charges won't stand out as a large expense at the time, but when added together at the end of your vacation they can actually turn out to be quite costly. If you are likely to eat out regularly then try to find places that don't have a table service such as food courts. In the USA the standard service charge is 15% and in some holiday resorts, sneaky waiters will add a tip to your bill without you realising! Always check your receipts and go to the bar yourself, some waiters charge you a percentage of the bill to go to the bar for you! Having said that, do keep in mind that tips make up part of staff wages in a lot of places in the USA, so be fair.
It's always wise to use a phone card when calling home; mobile networks cost a fortune to use when abroad and the recipient caller/receiver of your message or call can often receive a charge too. If there is an internet café nearby it's a good idea to use Skype to chat with friends and family back home for the reasonable cost of an internet session.
Trying to pack everything into one vacation can be tricky; there are so many sights to see and such little time. If you're in a more developed area then you may have access to an underground rail network, but otherwise you may have to resort to cab usage. Be sure the cabbie is sticking to the quickest route; a common scam is to take a longer and needlessly complicated route to run up the meter and double the fare.
The key is to be vigilant whilst on holiday, don't be afraid to walk out of a bar if the drink prices are unreasonable and never feel pressured into buying something you don't want. If you're visiting markets abroad people will often use very persuasive sales techniques - don't be fooled!
This tip was provided by the lovely chaps at MF Airport Parking who have cheap parking options at many of the UK's major airports.