Tips and Tricks: Cut Down on the ‘Extras’

You are planning a trip. You make a budget for the flight, hotel, taxes and fees, and even activities and food, and you have even set aside extras for a nice meal or a splurge. You are ready to go.

After your trip, you realize you are in the red. You have, somehow, managed to exceed your budget. How did this happen?

Other than exciting things popping up (which happens to everything and is to be expected on a trip or vacation), it could be that you forgot the small things. The expenditures you sometimes forget on the front end, but that can add up quite quickly when you go back through your credit card statement. Here are some ways to avoid and minimize some of those “extras.”


This is one people sometimes don’t think about until the last possible minute. You are getting to the airport, but where are you parking? How much are those lots the day before or even the day of?

I used to be someone who paid $18 a day for far-away parking at LAX. Then one day I discovered this not-so-hidden gem. This little gift. It was CheapAirportParking.org. This is a dream! By using this site, you are able to reserve your parking ahead of time at great discounts. So a lot that would normally cost more, or even hotel parking which is typically $30 a day near LAX, for example, can be as low as $10 a day if you make a reservation in advance. All you have to do is go on, enter your dates and times, and choose your parking lot or hotel based on price. Make sure to print your reservation and you are good to go.

And this site is not just good for LAX. I actually discovered it looking for parking for Burbank airport, but it services a bunch of other locations such as: Atlanta, Chicago (O’Hare), Ft. Lauderdale, NYC area airports, Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Richmond, and more. BONUS TIP: Go to RetailMeNot.com and look for a coupon code. Right now the code ‘CHEAPISM’ will get you an additional $5 off your parking reservation with no minimum.

And if you want to avoid parking altogether, check into various Park and Fly options. These are often buses that have various pickup points throughout a city and offer even less expensive transportation to the airport.


Bag Fees

It amazes me how many people still—in 2015—still don’t know that baggage fees exist. How is that possible? Let’s face it, folks; bag fees are here to stay. The airlines make wayyyyy too much money on them to get rid of them. But there are a couple of ways you can avoid them.

The easiest option is to fly airlines that don’t have bag fees. Enter Southwest Airlines. But also, depending on where you are traveling, the first bag may be free on most airlines. For example, if you are traveling from the State to Europe, many airlines give you the first bag free. But for consistent, domestic, free baggage, Southwest is the way to go. (Even though you could just pack a carry-on, but that won’t save you on airlines like Spirit Airlines).

The second option is to get a credit card that has free baggage perks (like I talked about here), and to purchase your ticket on that card. Remember, having the card isn’t enough. You have to actually book the ticket on that card. And the third option takes some reading the fine print. Some discount carriers offer ‘cheaper’ checked bag (or carry-on bag) fees if you purchase the checked bag ahead of time. Be sure to read your airline’s baggage policy to see if there are ways to cut back on the costs of baggage.



Upgrades can be a hidden treasure. Not only do you get a more relaxing experience in first or business class, but it can include other costs. If you have the miles to do so, upgrading can save you on other areas. For miles and a small copay, or sometimes they have same day upgrades available for a fee on certain flights based on availability. And many of those flights offer, as a perk for buying the upgrade, free checked bags, alcoholic drinks, and obviously some sort of meal. Given that bag fees can cost around $60 for two checked bags on many airlines, this could end up being a win-win situation. You get added comfort of first class while saving on bag fees and that in-flight cocktail. Score.



Adult beverages can get quite costly. So if you are driving to your destination, there is no reason that you should not BYOB. But even if you are flying, and you have a free checked bag, it may be worth it to bring your favorite drink or even check the little mini bottles for your convenience and savings. And it doesn’t hurt to ask hotels if they have drink coupons good for usage by the pool or at the lobby bar.


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I am a lawyer. I am a journalist. I am a writer. I am a photographer. And I love to travel.

44 comments on “Tips and Tricks: Cut Down on the ‘Extras’”

  1. OMG, PREACH! You’re sooo right!! I made it my duty to start planning all of this ahead of time. Honestly waiting till last minute does nothing but cause problems, delays, exhaustion, and best frustration!!! It’s a matter of working a bit smarter and not harder LOL.. Thanks for sharing this! People need to be smart like this and know these simple things which cause a huge positive impact on making traveling fun!!

  2. These are great tips. I just discovered the one about parking recently. That’s saved me major money.
    I’m going to have to try the other tips on my next trip.
    Great posts. Thanks for the tips.

  3. Those drinks can cost you They cost even when you not traveling. Great tips I think those bag fees can cost you and I know if I were to get on a plane my fees would off the chain because I carry everything with me lol

  4. Great travel tips as usual. So far whenever I’ve flown I was only going for a day or two so I never have to check a bag. I’m the queen of packing light. But I always avoid parking at the airport because that’s definitely not cheap.

    1. Tiki, glad to help! Every Thursday, I post a new travel tip or trick to help people save money. Be sure to come back next Thursday and check out the Tyra’s Tips and Tricks tab on the blog!

  5. Love the tips on your list and yes I cant believe people dont knw about baggage fees or figure out the weight before the leave. Depending on where I travel or if I traveling with my daughter, we always end up with one bag to check but I still weigh it before I leave so I know how much I can add from touristy things we buy on our trip. And definitely have a credit card on an airline you travel a lot to get free bags.

    1. Yeah April, it is hard to avoid the overnight parking fees at hotels. But be sure to look into that and factor it in ahead of time so you won’t be surprised! And maybe assess if it is a city where you even need a car in the first place.

  6. Love your tips and tricks. Years ago when I first upgraded to first class, I never wanted to go back to coach again – so I try to upgrade every single time. 🙂 Or I’ll grab the exit seats for more leg room (I’m tall). 🙂

  7. I still don’t understand how people become so baffled by bag fees. It is pretty funny. And then they stand there and argue with the person about it. We also have the internet and people should research before they make moves anyway.

    1. Tammilee, some airlines that charge for even carryon bags (read Spirit), and some other airlines sometimes offer cheaper rates if you check your bags ahead of time. I believe this was the case when I flew WestJet recently.

  8. These are definitely good tips. I really like the one about BYOB. It makes sense to pack your own in your suitcase instead of spending a ton of money on vacation.

  9. I totally adding ask hotels for coupons. This is such a great tip. Thanks for sharing all these great tips. I want to travel further in 2016.
    My husband is good for getting us out of the house, but we do a lot of GA and NC trips…

  10. On my recent flight home from California I upgraded our seats to the comfortable ones. Sooo worth it! I also joined the airline miles club so that my checked baggage was free. It allowed 1 free checked back per flyer, and I had three bags and me and my two oldest. It worked sooo well considering how much we brought home from Cali that we didn’t take down!!

  11. We don’t usually eat at the hotel, and that’s where my budget gets me. I never know what the prices are in a restaurant before we go there, and then I am often amazed after I see the menu!

  12. I absolutely love your travel tips Tyra! I learn something new every time. Thankfully, our most recent trip was truly all-inclusive (never even left the resort) in Turks and Caicos. No tips allowed, all the alcohol we could drink and food we could eat were included. But that is not normally the case. This will most definitely be saved for our next trip (especially that parking tip).

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