JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- This summer, if you're planning to travel, don't make the mistakes that can cost you money.
Here are my top 10 travel mistakes to avoid and ways to put more money in your pocket.
Number 10: Failing to inspect your rental car before taking the keys; at that point you are liable for every scratch and dent.
This mistake is easy to avoid. Find someone to inspect the vehicle before you accept it. Note any damage and get them to sign off. Some rental companies have started a program to take pre-rental pictures of their cars.
Number Nine: Failing to buy travel insurance
If you're going on a cruise, spend a few extra bucks for cancellation insurance. There are two types of policies, primary and secondary. Primary covers you from the first penny, and secondary kicks in after your own private insurance, like homeowners, has paid out.
Number Eight: Booking at a hotel that has a mandatory resort fee
This fee is suppose to cover phone calls, bottled water and additional inclusions, but it is usually not part of the base rate. You can avoid this mistake by using a triple-A rated hotel without a mandatory resort fee.
Number Seven: When using a credit card that charges a foreign transaction fee, check your card membership agreement.
To avoid this mistake use a credit card that does not impose this fee nor other fees that are related to cross-border transactions. It will put more travel money in your pocket.
Number Six: Pack light.
When you overpack you will pay more for your bulky bags. The airlines are imposing crazy fees - an extra $50 to $100 on every flight because you failed to practice one bag travel. Consider the costs and pack lightly.
Number Five: Choosing a travel agent based on friendship.
There's nothing wrong with this, but you may not get the best deal. Why? They may not have access to the best deals around, so find a travel agent who specializes in the trip your are planning.
Number Four: Consider traveling from a nearby airports.
If you have the time and driving to another airport is not a problem, compare fares. They are usually cheaper, so taking the time to make that drive can save you hundreds.
Number Three: Don't just use the online sites to book travel.
Many of them do not include smaller budget carriers, in most cases the cheapest fares will be found using a combination of sites. I found one called tripeedo.com, which allows you to open up to 10 separate sites so you can compare.
Number Two: Booking airline tickets at the last minute.
The airlines have cut down on the number of routes and the planes are packed. To avoid added expense, buy your tickets about four months before scheduled departures when tickets are cheapest.
Number One: Waiting to correct a mistake with your itinerary.
If the airline misspelled your name by one letter and you wait a week to correct it, you are in trouble. The TSA will not accept mismatched identities and you will be required to purchase a new ticket.
First Coast News