3. Buying the package deal
While discount travel Web sites are certainly a convenient way to book an all-in-one travel experience, that convenience often comes at a cost. With a bit of legwork, Weiss says, you can build your own vacation package and often get a better rate.
"If you go on Expedia (EXPE) or something you're stuck with nonrefundable fares," he says. "Their prices can be good but they want to lock you into the fare on that day."
Instead, he recommends shopping around and even making multiple reservations, especially with hotels or cars, then calling right before the no-penalty cancellation period ends. Sometimes a better fare becomes available as the date nears and the company wants to avoid a vacant room or idle car."They know that since you aren't past the deadline, you can always switch hotels," he says. 4. Not changing money at home
Spring breakers who choose to live out their debauchery in Cancun or some other foreign country leave themselves open to plenty of other money wasters domestic travelers don't need to worry about, and they mostly fall under one simple category: foreign transaction fees. While the dollar can get you a long way in some countries, the fees and exchange rates you get if you wait until you land to convert your dollars will never work in your favor, Weiss says. "If you're taking cash with you it's always best to do it before you go. The conversion rate at your home bank will always be better." Of course, since most people probably don't want to take all the cash they will need while abroad, they may be tempted to visit ATMs to replenish their supply, but those will slap you with a number of fees as well, including foreign ATM fees and currency conversion fees. The best way to avoid those involves using a no-fee credit card or at least one that will earn some travel rewards to use in the future.