Check the Cheque

This post will be brief but nonetheless succinct.  The majority of travelers are usually short on the amount of money they have in pocket versus the amount of time they are on vacation.  A fabulous getaway will definitely include bills for: accommodation, meals, entertainment, excursions and shopping sprees.  While it is nice to be able to purchase whatever you want without having to look at the price tag a few times or be overwhelmed by the price, it is still necessary for the budget traveler to create a bespoke itinerary that helps them to keep in check the how, what and where, the budgeted monies that are set aside, will be spent.  Even though many tourists include these dedicated funds as part of their itinerary expenditure for particular purchases, they may discover some inconsistencies that may turn their dream vacation into a nightmare.

A surprise charge, miscalculation, data entry error, or flat-out swindling are all scenarios that can alarm the unsuspecting traveler.  It is therefore imperative to review invoices received in stores, hotels, restaurants, and especially in dimly lit bars.  Take the time to check your order thoroughly before signing on the dotted line or before handing over your credit card.   Peter Lalor an Australian journalist and beer critic was thrown for a loop (thousands of dollars) at what he was charged for a bottle of beer.  Ordinarily, when he buys the various ales to taste and critique, they do not cause him to break his budget limit, but this particular brew nearly sent him to the poor house.  He is still hopeful that the error will be corrected and that he’ll be refunded the exorbitant amount he was charged.  Read of his debacle here.

Sometimes we are in a rush and only become aware of invoice mistakes, whether intentional or inadvertent, when it is too late. Here are a few tips to manage your charges when on vacation.

  1. Designate someone to go over the invoice and handle payment if you become inebriated.
  2. Whatever the circumstance, establish a spending limit and make sure that you are charged correctly.
  3. Calculate your purchases beforehand, include the necessary taxes and gratuities before calling for the check or going to the register.
  4. Be aware of the day’s exchange rate acceptable at your shopping establishments if paying in foreign currency.
  5. Question any differences on your bill immediately. It may be harder to be refunded if an error is noticed a day or two after the fact.

Community Peeps, I try to practice what I preach.  Whether at home or abroad, I always check the charges on invoices.  Invariably, I have found when I don’t, and there have been a few times when I didn’t, I would always realize a discrepancy which was too late to correct.  What has been your experience on this subject?  Were you ever overcharged or charged for items/services you never received on vacation?  Share your experience or additional tips in the comment box below.

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