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Granite Girl: Life in the Cloud – How to Avoid Travel Fees

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You may be starting to think about your holiday travel plans and looking for a deal on airfare and hotel to go visit Gramma. It’s likely going to cost you more this year, so here are some tips and tricks to avoid those annoying travel fees.


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Getty Images

Checked Bag Fees


 
 

It’s a known fact that airlines are citing “rising fuel costs” as a reason to charge you more for your airfare and now some companies are charging even more for checked bags on domestic flights. You can avoid it by carrying on, but if that isn’t an option, try Southwest or JetBlue. Southwest lets you check two bags for free. JetBlue lets you check one. Spirit Airlines, however, charges for checked bags and carry on luggage, unless your carry-on can stow under the seat in front of you, so if you have to fly that airline, it’s best if you just wear everything you’re taking with you.

 
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Getty Images

In-Room Wi-Fi

 
 

Some hotel chains charge $25 a day for in room wi-fi, but offer free wi-fi in the lobby. If you travel a lot, it may be cheaper to just buy a wireless card through your mobile company. Some smartphones can actually hook in to your laptop and act as a modem. This is what is known as “tethering”. You can also avoid the charge by signing up for the hotel’s bonus or rewards program. These usually offer a lot of perks including free in room wi-fi.

 
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Getty Images

Priority Boarding


 
 

First Class passengers always go first, but if you pay between $10 and $20, some airlines let coach passengers board when first class does. It’s kind of pointless unless you have a big carry-on and want first dibs on overhead bin space. Even then if your carry-on is too big you’ll have to check it anyway.

 
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Getty Images

Better Seat In Coach


 
 

Most airlines give passengers around 32 inches of leg room, but some seats have a little bit more space and they charge as much as $100 for it. Delta has new seats with four more inches of leg room, but those seats are going to cost you $320 extra for a round trip. If you truly need the extra space, sometimes sweet talking the nice people at the gate can get you in to an exit row seat. Those usually have an extra inch or two. You can also go to seatguru.com. They scour the airlines to find out who offers extra space for free. Modhop.com is another good website. They have video reviews of airplane seats so you can see exactly what your seat is going to look like.

 
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Getty Images

Rental Car Insurance

 
 

If you already have car insurance, you likely don’t need it and if you use a credit card, you’re usually covered that way, too unless you’re traveling overseas. Then you definitely should pay for it. Most American car insurance companies don’t cover mishaps in other countries.

 
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Getty Images

In-Flight Charges

 
 

Paying $8 for a pillow and a blanket? Ridonkulous! $5 for ear buds? Crazy! When you’re packing, make a side list of things you’re going to want to have on the plane with you, but make sure you don’t pack too much or you could be stuck fighting for overhead bin space or paying those checked bag fees.

 

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