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How to avoid Europe's biggest travel rip-offs

Whether you go on holiday to top up your tan or broaden your horizons, make sure that money worries do not get in the way of your trip. We spoke to over 2,000 British travellers to find out the biggest rip-offs so you can avoid them and focus on having a great time.

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For all your travel essentials in one place, visit our Travel Hub.

It starts at the airport...

You could end up out of pocket before you even get on your flight if you get stung with charges at the airport.

If you forget to print your boarding card, your airline could make you pay for the privilege of printing it for you:

  • 24% said this had happened to them

  • 21% paid more than £10

You could also get stung if your luggage exceeds the allowance:

  • Astonishingly, over a third (34%) had to pay extra because they exceeded the weight limit

  • 30% paid over £10 for exceeding their baggage allowance

Where do you buy your travel money?

8% of travellers bought their travel money from exchanges at the airport, which rarely offer the best rates.

Top tips for avoiding pre-flight charges

  • Print or download your boarding cards at home to save yourself paying at the airport

  • Weigh your luggage before you leave home to make sure it is under the airline's limit

  • Avoid buying your travel money at the airport - get a better deal online before you travel

Don't forget your travel insurance

Travel insurance can cover you against medical costs, theft, loss of your valuables, cancellations, delays and most other things that could go wrong on holiday.

However, you will only be protected if you get a policy with the right level of cover.

Everyone has travel insurance, right?

45% of travellers admit to going abroad without travel insurance.

Here is more on travel insurance

Use our comparison to find your travel insurance

While you are abroad

Once you have arrived at your destination, you still need to be careful, as you could be hit with all sorts of unexpected fees and charges:

  • 35% were surprised to have been charged tourist tax

  • 43% were asked to pay for a safe deposit box at their hotel

Other unexpected costs include car hire excess charges, expensive taxis and using air conditioning in your room.

Whatever services you use abroad, ask how much you will be charged first and read the small print.

Even worse than these fees is the danger of street crime and theft: 23% claim they have been the victim of pickpocketing whilst travelling in Europe.

29% know someone who had fallen victim to a scam at least once while holidaying.

Europe's worst countries for travel scams:

  • Spain

  • France

  • Italy

  • Turkey

  • Austria

  • Greece

  • Belgium

  • United Kingdom

  • Armenia

  • Cyprus

5 top tips for cutting costs abroad

  • Phone your hotel before you travel to ask how much a safe deposit box and other extras cost

  • Find out how much tourist tax is before you book

  • Check Trip Advisor reviews to find out about your hotel's additional costs

  • Keep your valuables out of sight and secured when out and about

  • Do not forget hire car excess insurance if you want to hire a vehicle

How to avoid rip-off roaming charges

Although mobile networks have been forced to cut the cost of making calls, sending texts and using data abroad, roaming charges can still be a major holiday expense if you are not careful.

43% said they were made to pay roaming charges whilst on holiday.

Checking your emails and Facebook accounts on holiday can come at a high price even if you switch off the data on your phone: 36% of Brits were caught out by overseas Wi-Fi charges at their hotels.

Top tips for keeping mobile costs down

  • Set yourself a daily usage limit

  • Call your mobile provider to see if bolt-on packages could save you money abroad

  • Find out how much hotels, café and bars charge for Wi-Fi before you connect

  • Switch data roaming off unless absolutely necessary and turn your phone to flight mode when not in use to avoid being charged for incoming calls

Read our guide to avoiding mobile charges abroad

When you return

Stop your holiday from ruining your finances

You might not realise how much a holiday has actually cost until you get home:

  • One in five (20%) returned home with financial debt

  • 37% of travellers funded their holiday with a credit card

  • 38% of travellers did not budget for their last holiday

If you plan to use a prepaid card or credit card abroad, the fees it charges can make a big difference.

Read our guide and choose the best way to spend abroad

For all your travel essentials in one place, visit our Travel Hub.

Find the right cover for your travels by comparing our best travel insurance deals.

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