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Hidden costs add to holiday travel budget

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ATLANTA (10/21/09)--Airlines are tacking on fees at every opportunity, according to Associated Press airlines writer Harry R. Weber. That means your holiday travel may end up costing a lot more than you thought (Associated Press Oct. 8). While you may not be one of those paying $100 to check a fragile item--like antlers on Frontier Airlines--you could get socked with unexpected fees. Airline policies vary, so check the rules for your carrier.
* Boogie boards, skate boards, and even bowling balls may cost extra for handling and packaging. It may cost less to rent the item at your destination, and you avoid having it damaged or lost by the airline. * It can cost $100 or more one way to travel with your pet. Boarding and professional pet sitters are options. Or, consider trading pet care duties with a neighbor. * Size and weight matters to the airlines. Measure the height, width, and depth of carry-on and checked bags, and make sure they are within airline requirements. Oversized bags can incur an extra fee regardless of how much they weigh. Even an ounce over the baggage weight limit can cost $50 or more. To avoid having to pay the fee, or the embarrassment of removing a few items at the counter, weigh your bag before you leave home. * If you’re booked on the red eye or just want to catch a few ZZZs, be prepared to pay for a blanket and pillow. * Most airlines add a fee ranging from $25 to $100 to send a child younger than age 12 on a flight alone. Weber notes that parents usually can walk children to the gate where they are left in the company of a crew member.
Charges for checking baggage, in-flight snacks, and window or aisle seating also boost the total cost of your ticket. With all those extra fees, over the river and through the woods by horse and sleigh may be the cheapest way to visit grandma for the holidays. For more information, read “Find Good Travel Deals Even in a Bum Economy” in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.