All of these common mistakes we made cost us money, time, frustration or a combination thereof. As the point of this blog is to help you travel with your little imps, hopefully you can learn from our mistakes and save time, money, and a little bit of sanity.
Fighting the Weather
We often travel during the shoulder and off season. That means the weather will be occasionally poor, and at other times, it will be miserable. When in Germany last autumn we missed our opportunity to ride to the top of the Zugspitze mountain on a warm sunny day, but because we really wanted to do it and only had one more day in the area, we went the next day in wet, foggy weather. It was not cheap, but check out that view…of the fog!
While preparing for our autumn Germany trip, I had been monitoring prices for about a week while we established a plan. For no explicable reason, maybe it was still open in the browser, I purchased some train tickets between Munich and Berlin first. Then I purchased the outbound flight going to Munich and the price had not changed since the day before. Next I booked our return trip from Berlin, but the price climbed about £300 overnight. Luckily we could afford this, because I had just purchased non-refundable train tickets and had to get home from Berlin somehow. It was however, an expense we were not expecting, and now I double check variable costs before the credit card comes out.
Based on where we live, it is much easier for us to drive and park at the airport than take all the kids and luggage on public transportation for 2 hours to get to the airport. The first time we parked at London Stanstead, our bill came back at almost £200 for less than a week of parking in the lot farthest from the airport. If I had prepaid, it would have been less than £50 for the lot closest to the airport.
Too Good to be True
Be aware that when dealing with discount European airlines, they operate out of airports that can be rather remote. We recently looked at some seat sales to Barcelona’s Reus airport which it turns out is 105km outside Barcelona. I am very happy that just before buying I thought to check the location of the airport so technically this is not a mistake I made, but I almost did and it inspired this post, so I included it. We later bought tickets to Barcelona at a slightly higher rate, but that arrived at Barcelona International much closer to the city. In doing so, we saved money in the long run as we would have had to transport ourselves to and from the city.
It’s All Greek to Me
My credit card offers insurance on car rentals. In order to get that, I must decline ALL insurance offered by the car rental company. Hidden somewhere in my Greek rental contract last year was some odd insurance clause that covered something insignificant and cost something silly like €0.39 but was “mandatory” so they didn’t inform me about it verbally. Long story short, the whole incident cost me some significant money for a nice scrape on the vehicle.
We have made our fair share of mistakes, and these are just a handful that standout because they were both frustrating and easily avoidable. If you have some mistakes you have learned from, put them in the comments below.
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Happy and safe travels.