5 Mistakes That Will Bust Your Road Trip Budget

Planning a road trip this summer? Expect some company on the expressway. Even amid rising gas prices, Americans are packing up their cars for a vacation. According to a recent AAA survey, 64 percent of Americans traveling this summer are planning a road trip, and it’s the most popular option for family vacations. But to stretch your travel dollars while you’re on the road, you’ll want to avoid these five common mistakes.

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10 Apps You Need For Your Next Trip

If you sometimes feel as if your Mobile travel appssmartphone is becoming your travel BFF, you’re not alone. Consider that nearly half of all travelers have used a mobile device to plan or book a trip, a 2016 global survey from Apteligent found. Mobile apps have also enabled travelers to find hotel deals, dine with locals, and even overcome jet lag.

Ready to load up your smartphone for your next trip? These 10 apps will address many of your most pressing travel needs.

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How to Get More Legroom in Coach

If you’ve been feeling extra cramped legroomon flights these days, you’re not alone.

Air carriers have been been slowly shrinking the amount of legroom customers get for years. The average “seat pitch”—the distance between a point on one seat and the same point on the seat directly in front of it—has decreased from 35 inches in the late 1960s to 31 inches today, and on some airlines has been reduced to 28 inches. That may explain why a quarter of passengers on economy flights said they found seat comfort to be “poor” or “very poor,” a recent survey by Consumer Reports found.

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Read This Before You Travel Solo

Have you ever thought, GoEuro-female-solo-travel-min-759x500“It might be nice to go on vacation by myself”?

If so, you’re not alone. Roughly one in four Americans say they will travel solo this year, according to an annual survey by marketing firm MMGY Global. One of the benefits of vacationing by yourself, of course, is the freedom. “You can do what you want, when you want,” says Janice Waugh, author of The Solo Traveler’s Handbook and founder of the online resource Solo Traveler. Want to eat lunch at 4 p.m.? Go for it! Have no desire to see, for instance, that world-famous boardwalk? Just drive right by and on to your next destination.

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Beware of These Hidden Hotel Fees

Last year U.S. hotels collected more than Hotel service bell$2.5 billion in fees and surcharges, up from $2.45 billion in 2015 according to research by Bjorn Hanson, a professor at New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.

Hanson credits the uptick to the nation’s thriving travel industry. “When times are financially difficult, hotels are more concerned about offending guests with extra charges, but when the economy is doing well hotels feel more confident about increasing their fees,” says Hanson, who has tracked U.S. hotel fees and surcharges data since 2000.

Unfortunately for travelers, many hotel fees are often buried in lengthy disclosure statements or tucked into bill summaries at checkout.

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How to Decode an Airbnb Review

The average Airbnb rating is a whopping 4.7 do-you-want-5-starsout of 5 stars, according to a recent study by Georgios Zervas, an assistant professor of marketing at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. That’s a surprisingly high number when compared to hotel reviews on TripAdvisor, where the average rating is only 3.9 out of 5 stars for hotels with more than 100 reviews, a Cornell survey found.

Zervas suspects there’s a psychological component at play. “People might feel bad leaving a negative review because they know that many hosts are using Airbnb to supplement their income and help support their family,” says Zervas.

Some Airbnb customers might also be hesitant to write a negative review because they fear repercussions. “Hosts also review guests, and future hosts can see every review you leave,” says Emily McNutt, an editor at ThePointsGuy.com. Translation: “if you write a scathing review, a future host might be less inclined to let you stay at their place,” McNutt says.

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Read This Before You Rent a Car

For consumers, the rental car counter can be bigstock-Suitcases-and-bags-in-trunk-of-101954126-800x534treacherous. “Rental car agents are paid on commission, so they’re incentivized to try to upsell you for everything,” says Jonathan Weinberg, creator of AutoSlash.com, a service that tracks rental price changes to help get consumers the best deals. “If you ask whether you need something, they’re going to say yes.”

Also, since many rental car companies are good at burying fees and surcharges in long rental agreements—you know, the paperwork you barely glance at before signing—the onus is on you to thoroughly research your options. Indeed, “when renting a car, it’s a ‘buyer beware’ transaction,” says Neil Abrams, president of the Abrams Consulting Group, which tracks the rental car industry.

Follow these steps to drive down the costs on your next rental car and enjoy a cheaper, happier road trip.

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