Jeffrey Strain writes about personal finance and how to save money in a wide variety of ways. He currently travels full time as a digital nomad and avoids the above items everywhere he goes.
Traveling is supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation, but it can also be a time when one is faced with financial questions that they don’t normally need to entertain. many times these situations appear without the traveler having thought about the purchase and they go ahead and make it to “be on the safe side.” The problem is that buying anything without fully understanding what it is you’re buying is likely to cost you money. here are five things that you should never buy when traveling:
Instant Travel Life Insurance: The travel insurance sold at kiosks inside airports are there simply to invoke any fear you have ever had of flying. The truth is that plane travel is one of the safest forms of travel and you should not let unfounded fear cloud your judgement and convince you to buy overpriced travel life insurance. If you really need life insurance then you need it to cover more than when you happen to be flying on a plane. If this is the case, you should look into purchasing a term life insurance policy which will cover you while you are flying and all other times as well. Not only will term life insurance cover you for most types of accidental death, it will provide much better coverage at a fraction of the price.
Timeshares: If you travel to a popular travel destination, there is a good chance that you are going to be asked to attend a timeshare resort presentation in exchange for some freebie you might like. Don’t do it. Timeshares are nothing but a huge money trap that are nearly impossible to escape. Far too many people let the fun they are having on vacation, and sales associates promises, to go to their head and buy a timeshare only to find out that they have purchased a timeshare trap. If you really want a timeshare, remember that the exact same unit can be rented for a fraction of the cost of purchasing one with no risk, or purchased on the secondary market for less than half the price the resort will charge.
Rental Car Insurance: When you rent a car, the sales associate will try to get you to pay far more than the actual rental car price you were quoted. You will inevitably be asked if you want all kinds of additional insurance that can end up being far more than the actual price of the rental car. Many times this additional insurance is unnecessary. Many credit cards will cover it if you make the rental car reservation with their credit card (call your credit card company to confirm) and your personal auto insurance often applies to rental cars (call your insurance agent to see. If not, you can purchase it from them at a much lower cost than you can from the car rental agency).
Food or Drinks from Hotel Mini Bars: When you arrive in a hotel that has a mini fridge filled with food and drinks, keep clear. Don’t even touch them (seriously — many of these are now touch sensitive so that if the item is removed for more than 30 seconds, it will be charged to your room — this is so people can’t consume the item and then buy and replace it later on). The food and drinks are outrageously overpriced and the hotel is counting on your laziness to make the purchase and increase their profit margin. You can find the same stuff down the street at a local convenience store for a fraction of the price.
Artifacts: If you’re traveling overseas and you are tempted to purchase what you believe is truly a rare artifact, pass it up. Most countries have strict laws prohibiting the export of items of cultural value. Don’t buy yourself a ticket to a foreign prison. If you do get it back to the U.S. you’re not out of jeopardy. Chances are the item will be considered the property of the country of origin, which could invoke some nasty laws. Leave the country’s culture inside its borders.
As with most financial decisions, the better informed you are before you head out on your travels, the less likely you will face a decision where you aren’t sure what you should do that will end up costing you money. Taking the time to know what you really need and what is reasonably priced can save you a lot of money on your next trip.
- 12 Tips for Navigating Your Way to Affordable Car Rentals (bradsdeals.com)
- Car Rental Insurance: Is It Worth It and Do You Need It? (prweb.com)
- When Should I buy Rental Car Insurance? (articles.onlineautoinsurance.com)