Clark Howard

Don’t Make This Mistake if You’re Going to a Destination Wedding

Being invited to a destination wedding can be a celebratory affair for all involved, but how you choose to pay for it can rain on your parade.

A listener to the Clark Howard Podcast recently shared that she was invited to a friend's wedding in Punta Cana. She was told the trip was being booked through a wedding/travel planner, so she paid up like the other guests.

Going To a Destination Wedding? Read This

When she arrived at the resort, she found out that not only did she not have a room, but the wedding planner and bride and groom were at odds as to what happened to the money.

This would-be wedding guest was stuck out of town, out of her room and out of her money.

Money expert Clark Howard says it's super-important to make sure you're never left holding the bag when it comes to group travel and events like destination weddings.

“The one advice that I’ve given repeatedly with destination weddings is to book your travel on your own. You’re in control then,” Clark says.

“When you go third-party on it, that’s where we hear the problems, whether the destination wedding is in the United States or outside the United States,” he adds.

Here are a few additional tips for your wallet when it comes to destination weddings and other forms of group travel:

Only Pay via Credit Card

Clark is a stickler for paying only with a credit card for travel (and anything else). Not only do you get more consumer protections, but you may be able to get perks, cash back and freebies if you use certain reward credit cards.

Let the Destination Choose You

If you're in charge of travel plans, there's no better way to save than to follow Clark's #1 Travel Rule: Go where the sale is.

“My #1 rule of travel is buy the deal first and then figure out why you want to go there. By following that simple rule, I’ve been able to visit every continent except Antarctica and every state except North Dakota. And I’ve done it all on a dime.”

Consider Travel Insurance

One way to protect the money you spend on your travels is to insure it, but travel insurance is not something that you need for every type of trip.

Clark says the additoinal expense of travel insurance is worth only if you’re:

  • Taking a cruise
  • Booking special tours as part of your trip
  • Traveling on an itinerary that requires prepayment of thousands of dollars

"So you don't want to insure an airline ticket unless you look at it as a once-in-a-lifetime trip and you'd never have an opportunity to use the money again," Clark says.

Read our guide on buying travel insurance.

Final Thought

Clark says when dealing with group travel, keep things simple for your wallet’s sake. “Book your travel on your own. Make sure you book with a credit card, not through any third party.”

Want more money-saving travel advice? Read up on how Clark plans a trip

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