There is No Such Thing as a Free Trip But You Can Get Darn Close Story

Whether you travel for work, spend on rewards credit cards, or just travel occasionally for fun, it pays to belong to airline and hotel rewards programs so you can collect miles and points.

Over time, these points build up and can be redeemed for a free trip (see our friends at The Points Guy, Million Mile Secrets, and Go To Travel Gal for more info on rewards travel).

So, without further ado, let’s talk about the travel incidentals to be aware of when taking trips on miles and points, as well as tricks to keep those costs down. Let’s get you as close to a free trip as possible!

Alas, not even the airfare is free! Less experienced rewards travelers may not realize this, but most airline rewards redemptions (maybe even all of them) do not include the fuel surcharges. In fact, we’ve read travel blog posts where fuel surcharges for international flights were several hundreds of dollars!

Fuel Surcharges

This may be especially true when you book a resort style hotel and may drive your out of pocket costs up $30 or more a day. While there may not be much you can do about hotel fees, it is important to pay attention to exactly what is and is not included when you book with points to avoid unexpected expenses.

Resort Fees

Car Rentals Renting a car is a big-ticket item that can drive the costs of a trip up, despite how much money you save on airfare and hotels. A basic economy rental will typically run you around $30 a day and up, plus gas. This means a rental of 3-5 days could cost you between $90 and $150 at minimum, not including the cost of gas.

Food No matter how much you save on airfare and hotels, a girl (or guy) has to eat! Money spent on food can also really drive the price of your vacation up, especially if you’re spending a lot on fine dining. Spending money on food is unavoidable, but there are some tricks to saving as much as possible on your meals.

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Money Saved Is Money Earned!