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You’ve booked your tickets, packed your bags, and your kids are overenthusiastic about the trip. You’ve also planned your budget. However, are you sure that you have factored all the travel costs in your plan? Are you aware of hidden expenses you might incur during the trip?
Vacation budgets are especially erratic and hard to stick to for several reasons, but mostly because you can’t plan for the unknown. Find below ten factors that can eat into your travel costs and expenses and how to overcome them to ensure there are no financial hiccups during your journey.
1. Transportation Costs
Most people, who are in a hurry to book their hotel, forget to overlook the location of the same. If the hotel is far away from popular tourist spots, you might end up spending a lot of money on transportation costs. To avoid this dilemma, plan the tourist attractions you would like to visit and mark them on a map. Now select a hotel that lies near those places and book a room. This allows you and your family to travel to those destinations on foot and helps you save money on transportation costs.
Tip: If you plan to go on a ferry, train, or take a rental car, it’s best to book far in advance, at least 2-3 months, before your trip to nab a cheaper price.
2. Currency Exchange
It’s better to exchange money before you travel instead of using the ATM at the destination city to withdraw cash. Make sure you do your research before going abroad, as this allows you to get the best exchange rates. Many currency exchange companies and banks will also purchase your unused foreign currency after you return from the trip. Your credit card issuer will charge an extra sum each time you withdraw money from overseas ATMs. You can avoid these fees if your bank is a part of a network with international partners.
3. Hotel Add-on Fees
Most hotels advertise the additional costs, such as access to an on-site pool or gym as well as Wi-Fi access, but you won’t find out about them unless you read the fine print carefully. You’ll most likely not be aware of this when you book rooms but will have to shell out an additional sum per night when checking out, even if you don’t use these facilities. Therefore, ensure that you read the tariff details carefully or also contact the hotel via email or phone to find out if they have any hidden fees included.
4. International Mobile Roaming Charges
You may avoid using your mobile phone while traveling overseas, but might have to use it in case of emergencies. Can you imagine the scenario if there are no taxis available when you reach the destination city? You’ll have to make calls through your mobile phone to take one. You can also Uber but you need the internet to do so. If the wifi connection at the airport is spotty, you’ll end up using your phone data which will cost you.
What can you do if you’re lost and don’t know the local language? Your sole option is calling the hotel reception staff and seek their help. International roaming calls are incredibly costly and can severely dent your vacation budget. You can avoid this problem by purchasing a global SIM card for cheap calls and data.
When I travel, I use a WorldSIM International SIM card because it’s a prepaid service. I can get coverage from just about anywhere and the voice and data charges are super low compared to my AT&T plan.
5. Getting To And From The Hotel
Check whether the hotel you plan to book your rooms offers free transportation from and to the airport. Otherwise, you might have to pay a hefty amount in renting a cab to take you to the hotel when you reach the destination city and when you want to return to the airport while leaving for home.
In the majority of cases, hotels are located in the heart of the city and are far away from the airport. In case you have already booked rooms in a hotel, book the services of a cab company and pay them online. This ensures that you don’t have to adjust your planned vacation budget at the last moment.
6. Cost Of Meals
Food costs are astronomical if you are staying in a 4 or 5-star hotel and plan to dine in their in-house restaurant. It’s cheaper to visit local restaurants located close to the hotel for dining purposes. Another cost is that of eating food when arriving as well as departing from your destination, especially if you have to wait for a long time to catch a connecting flight or encounter delays.
Alleviate such travel costs by taking food from home and taking them with you during your journey. In case you encounter a significant delay, contact your airline and request them for a meal voucher. Airlines offer these vouchers when asked for in such situations.
7. Entry And Parking Fees
Not all tourist destinations allow free entry. Some of them also charge parking costs. Although you can’t avoid such fees, researching online before your journey helps you remain prepared for such unforeseen travel costs. Check with the staff of the reception center if they have exclusive vouchers that offer discounted entry fees to popular tourist locales. You can save quite a lot of money through this option.
8. Visa Costs
Visa fees depend on the duration of your stay in an overseas country. Instead of opting for “visa on arrival,” visit the local embassy, pay the necessary fees and procure a visa from there as the former is always costlier. Don’t forget to include the transportation costs of going to the embassy and returning from there. On certain occasions, you might have to visit the embassy several times before you receive your visa.
9. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is necessary for individuals going abroad. Before purchasing such an insurance, make sure that the provider offers you medical protection in addition to assistance for trip cancellations, delays, and interruptions. You hear so many cases of people getting sick, ended up going to a local doctor and saved themselves thousands of dollars because they had travel insurance.
Make sure that the provider provides insurance for your baggage as well and pays the insured sum in the destination country. Typically travel insurance costs less than $100 and provide you with thousands of Dollars in coverage.
The one I personally use when I travel anywhere is World Nomads. It’s super easy to sign up (only just a few minutes). So make sure you check it out before your travels to save yourself a lot of money.
10. Baggage Fees
You’ve just got a fantastic deal with an airliner, only to find out later that you have to pay for baggage fees. Therefore, it’s ideal for checking the fine print of the airliner on their website to confirm if they have any hidden baggage fees. If you perform this task prior to packing, you can pack suitably. You should also check if the airliner offers Wi-Fi on-board and how much they charge for it. Wi-Fi might not be a necessary cost if it’s a short-haul flight.
Vacation Expenses FAQ
What are some vacation expenses?
I listed below some of the most common vacation expenses when planning a trip. You definitely want to consider these travel costs before you leave.
- Accommodation: hotel/hostels, camp sites, extra fees
- Transportation: train, plane, boat, bus, taxi/ride-sharing or car rental (including gas, toll fees, and car insurance)
- Food & Drink: restaurants, bars, hotel food, groceries, snacks, coffee/tea
- Shopping: gifts, souvenirs
- Entertainment: attractions, concerts, museums, organized tours
- Administrative: travel insurance, visas, passport, travel documents, maps, currency exchange, vaccinations, medications, mobile phone fees
- Miscellaneous: taxi/uber, toiletries, luggage, travel gear, clothing
The Ultimate Travel Planner Kit
Do you struggle with organizing a trip?… Or maybe you have trouble sticking with a vacation budget? I can help you in making sure that every single moment of your vacation is perfectly organized and memorable when you use my Travel Planner. This 23-page ultimate travel planning kit are the exact printables I use to plan and organize my own travel trips.
Use it to help you save money and get organized before your next adventure so you can focus on what you’re vacationing for: FUN and RELAXATION!