Watch Out for These 3 Common Travel Hacks

They might end up costing you.

By Sarah Li Cain

It’s always tempting to snap up a bargain or avoid an extra expense—but some deals and travel tips that save you money in the short term don’t in the long run. Here, three so-called travel hacks that may be pricier than they first appear.

Flying During Off-Hours

You may have noticed that flights leaving during off-hours—such as early in the morning or late at night—are often cheaper. And red-eye flights may have the added benefit of saving you a night on accommodation. But keep in mind that flying during off-hours may make it trickier to find transportation. Buses, trains, and shuttles may not run at all when you land, or not very often, while taxis or ride-hailing services may cost you more than usual—you may experience surge pricing if there are a limited number of drivers on the road. Those costs and the general unpleasantness of arriving on vacation unrested may make you think twice about flying super early or late.

Purchasing Packages

Transportation passes and ticket packages that bundle admission to several major attractions are a good deal only if you really use them. After all, if you’re already planning to visit the included sites, you can save a significant amount of money. But if you’re not, you may end up going places just to get your money’s worth—or skipping them altogether because you don’t want to spend your valuable vacation time doing something you’re not that interested in. Before you buy, sit down and do the math. Be honest about what you actually want to see. And look for hidden costs. For example, an all-country rail pass may be a great way to get around, but only if you’re not planning to take high-speed or night trains, which aren’t always included.

Avoiding All-Inclusive Tours

You may think you’re saving by going the DIY route instead of booking an all-inclusive tour, which may include meals or other amenities. But these packages often have discounts that may save you money overall. For example, many tours to Honolulu include tickets to the Polynesian Cultural Center plus a luau dinner, which could cost more if you were to purchase them separately. Some all-inclusive tours can save you on food and transportation. But be careful—always check the fine print to see if there are additional costs and to make sure you’ll take advantage of all the amenities. Otherwise, it may not be worth it.

  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: March 2019