Keep a watch out for expensive travel tricks
Make sure you’re aware of holiday horrors before you head off for the sun, advises Simon Read.
Excess car hire insurance scam
If you hire a car on your holiday, you’ll be pressed to buy excess insurance at your destination, even though you may have already stumped up for car cover. If you don’t, you risk being liable for up to £2,000 if the car is damaged or stolen, even if it’s not your fault. Even a small chip on a windscreen can cost hundreds to fix, and the car hire company will demand the cash from you – or take it straight off your credit card – if you don’t have cover.
But the excess insurance sold at holiday destinations is hugely expensive and can add up to 40 per cent extra to the cost of hiring the vehicle. A survey of car hire companies last month at Barcelona airport by online broker iCarhireinsurance.com found that Hertz was charging £20.59 extra a day for the excess cover.
However, you can buy excess insurance before you fly from as little as £3 a day. or £40 for an annual policy.
“Car hire companies make good commission selling excess insurance to tired, disgruntled travellers who just want to be on their way,” said Ernesto Suarez, of iCarhireinsurance.com.
“But travellers can buy an excess policy from a third-party provider which not only costs a lot less, but is often more comprehensive than those offered by the car rental companies.”
The currency conversion con
Traders in shops, cafes and hotel often offer a great “service” – to convert your bill into sterling, rather than charging you in the local currency. You may also be offered the option at cash machines overseas. It can seem an attractive option as you’ll then know how much you’ll have paid for the goods or services in good old English pounds.
But what you won’t be told is that the trader or bank ATM will use their own conversion rate. This is known as dynamic currency conversion and is favoured by traders in resorts as their conversion rate is likely to be very different from the one which your bank may use. And guess in whose favour the different rate will apply?
You can avoid the hidden charge by turning down the “service” and opting to pay in the currency of the country you are in. Your bank will convert the money for you at a its standard rate which may not be the best on the market, but will be a lot better than the local rate applied.
If you plan to use plastic to get money out while abroad, be armed with the right card to avoid hidden charges. Credit cards, for instance, charge interest from the moment you withdraw cash, and most plastic cards also charge a foreign loading fee of 2-3 per cent every time you withdraw cash abroad.
The exception are cards from Santander, Post Office and Saga. Pre-pay cards often have no extra charges and as you load up currency beforehand, you know the rate you pay.
Mobile phone roaming rip-off
It’s useful to take a phone on holiday, but even if you leave it in your suitcase, you could still rack up charges of £336 in a week, research published this week found.
Investigators from Which? discovered that the huge bill can tot up if you leave your data roaming turned on while outside the EU.
Doing so will mean applications and downloads automatically run in the background, without you knowing.
The cost of using one MB of data outside the EU is highest with Three which charges £10 in some countries. If you removed Three’s data cap of £49, watching a three-hour film would set you back £3,600.
To avoid massive bills turn off data-roaming on your mobile – it should be found under your phone settings. However, if you’re holidaying within the EU, bills should not prove so high.New data-roaming rules came into force this month to cap charges at 68p per MB of data used.
Another solution is a local, pay-as-you-go Sim card. You’ll be charged local rates for data downloads and local calls and texts.
Also, use wi-fi hotspots, which are often offered free in hotels, restaurants and cafes.
Insurance that doesn’t pay
Why do you need travel insurance? To give you the peace of mind that anything stolen or lost will be replaced and that if you need medical treatment, you’ll be able to afford it. So you must ensure you have adequate cover. If you’re travelling outside the EU, for instance, you need worldwide cover. In addition, be sure to check that a policy will cover the length of your trip.
There are also new risks of ending up not being covered. First, many hotels in Spain and Greece are asking to be paid in cash this summer. That can mean needing hundreds of pounds. However, many policies limit the amount of cash covered to £300. Check your policy will cover you for cash.
Then there’s the risk to cameras or phones if you’re asked to check cabin baggage into the aircraft’s hold when you’re flying. Valuables may not be covered there.
“Pack valuables in a smaller bag which you can keep with you,” advised insurer LV.
Bargain Hunter: Now's your chance to watch the best movies free of charge at home
How much lower will mortgage rates go?
The FTSE 100 is inching closer to its record high but can it maintain these levels?
MPs call for Equitable Life policyholders to be paid £2.8bn owed by government
Simon Read: Frozen in time - the expat British pensioners who deserve a better deal
- 1 Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
- 2 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 3 People who sleep more than eight hours are more likely to have a stroke, research shows
- 5 New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
iJobs Money & Business
£17000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity to join this new...
£18000 - £21000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£36000 - £44000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Encouraging more businesses to ...
Day In a Page
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley