It’s easy to go over budget when traveling, whatever it may be, you may choose to indulge in unexpected gifts or that extra round of drinks. These are extra expenses you chose to pay for, so what happens when there are expenses you weren’t expecting? Those irritating hidden fees can seriously hurt your wallet and throw off your vacation.
Baggage fees can be tricky, especially when flying multiple airlines. They all have different weight and size dimensions that can cost you a pretty penny if you don’t meet them. Before stuffing your suitcase to the brim, find out the weight and size requirements for every airline you are flying. Also, check your ticket to make sure luggage is included with your ticket. Budget airlines/tickets don’t always include free checked luggage or even a carry-on! To avoid ever having overweight luggage, invest in a portable luggage scale.
You find the perfect hotel in the perfect place and the price is right within your budget. You come back to purchase the room and as you checkout, you notice the hotel has tacked on “service” fees and “cleaning” charges, making the price more than you anticipated. To avoid surprises, go through the process as if you were actually booking the room, all the way until payment is needed. Don’t enter payment but take note of the total price. You will be showed the complete total with all fees attached.
In some places, like Europe, accommodations will charge a city tax. This is known as the tourist tax. This can vary from per person to a percentage of your total price. This is usually paid when you get to your accommodation, and you may be asked to pay with cash only. Simply ask your hotel or host if they have any tourist taxes or additional fees and how much they will be.
There are 1000’s of different banks across the world, which means fees for non-members. If you don’t have a travel card, you’ll probably end up paying ATM or withdrawal fees. If you’re traveling internationally, some cards may even charge you a small percentage for each purchase. The best way to avoid these fees is to have a travel card that reimburses these fees or one that can be used internationally with no ATM or purchase penalties. Don’t forget to always notify your bank when travelling out of the country to avoid your card being denied or worse eaten up by a machine.
We’re connected to our phones and want to be able to use them wherever we go. However, it’s not always possible to do so while traveling. Turn off roaming on your cellphone to avoid expensive bills when you return home. Use Wi-Fi when possible or think about purchasing a Sim card at your destination.
Some restaurants add automatic tips to your bill. This may put a ding in your wallet if it was more than you planned on tipping. Ask beforehand if tips are applied automatically or add the 15-20% tip to your dining budget for every meal to add wiggle room.
In Europe, it will often cost you more to sit down or sit outside at a restaurant. In Italy, it is common for places to charge for sitting and drinking your coffee. In Spain, you can often be charged extra if you want to sit on the patio outside rather than inside. Restaurants will often note the additional fee at the bottom of the menu or a sign. If in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask or try looking it up on sites like yelp
There may be surcharges for that ride from the airport. This applies mostly to Uber, but sometimes happens to Cabs in cases of unrest in a country. For example, during the strikes in Paris, cab scammers were charging upwards of 150 euros to get into the city from the airport. During peak times, Uber will increase ride prices. To avoid paying these additional costs, know that there are flat rates for taxis and that they must abide by these. Learn these rates to avoid getting ripped off. If Uber prices are sky-high, consider taking public transportation like the metro, the bus, or a shuttle.
Currency exchange places also usually take a fee for their services, costing you even more. Use a currency converter, to make sure you’re getting the best rate. It is also often cheaper to exchange money in your destination country rather than at home before your trip.
Having an emergency is the last thing you want to think about when on vacation, but it’s something we have to think about. Accidents can and probably will eventually happen if you travel frequently. To make sure you’re covered, purchase travel insurance for every trip or have a credit card on hand in case of an accident.