Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nickels and Dimes

It seems as if the common carriers (airlines and cruise ships) want to nickel, dime, and dollar you to death. Take, for example, our last cruise. We thought it was all paid for. However, when we got our final bill, it was a shock. Sure, I like shopping on the ship, but $10.50 a night per person to tip all of the people who supposedly helped you? To me, this is just a way for the ship company to make extra money to pay the salaries of the crew. When we first went on cruises, we had envelopes given to us so we could give the cabin attendant and dining room staff tips. Now we can't even get good service in the dining room because the staff already knows they will be tipped, no matter how good or bad the service is. We always gave our cabin attendant extra because every one that we have had on the many cruises that we have taken has done a superior job. No wonder cruise ship jobs are so lucrative to people who are not US natives!

Shore excursions are another very expensive added expense. Why do you have to have a gourmet meal during a shore excursion? The restaurants on the shore excursions try to make the meal as ethnic as possible - then passengers get ill and are confined to their cabins for stomach problems caused by eating unfamiliar food. No wonder nobody would eat the chicken feet in China! And why do we get taken to very expensive shopping venues to purchase items that must be shipped home instead of going into the local marketplaces?

Up to now, we have not paid for luggage to fly either domestically or internationally. Now we are told by our airline that for our October trip overseas, we must pay $50.00 for a second checked bag. That defeats my purpose of taking the 22-inch carry-on onboard, putting a backpack in my large suitcase, checking the carry-on full of items we have purchased on the way home, and using the backpack as my carry-on. I just hope we can really squash Hard Rock bears in the one suitcase along with clothes, shoes, everything else we've bought, etc. Or we'll just have to shop less.

And you would think that you would get a gourmet meal on the plane for the price you have to pay for a turkey sandwich and can of Pringles. Think again!

We just need to remember that there are a lot of hidden costs in travel. And although we do pay a fee and a higher exchange rate, it is still good to get foreign money in the US - beats standing in line at airports to exchange money at even higher exchange rates than you originally paid in the US. You'll have your train or taxi fare in hand when you need it.

1 comment:

Brian R said...

Tipping is a US disease :-)
I never tip in Australia, NZ or Europe. Might round up the taxi fare to avoid small change, similarly after a meal.
Also hate the tax arrangements in US. Everywhere else I travel the price displayed includes tax.