Unexpected Travel Expenses (and how to avoid them)

There have been so many times when I spent more money while on a trip than I intended on. It is beyond easy to go over your spending budget while vacationing because you are more relaxed and are not concerned about the responsibilities and financial commitments you juggle back home.

So to combat the instances of spending extra money while out of town, you should prepare for everything before you even start your vacation. Asking yourself simple questions like “Does insurance cover flat tires?” or “Are there any hidden fees that my hotel charges?” can lead to you saving tons of money on your vacation before it even starts. 

Surprise fees are one of the many ways people go over-budget while on a trip. Some of these fees you can plan for and some pop up while on the trip. Either way, here are some tips to help you identify and avoid unexpected expenses while traveling. 

#1 – Baggage Fees

Almost everyone has heard of baggage fees and their association with airlines, but how do you avoid unexpected baggage charges when checking into your flight? Baggage fees are not completely avoidable, but there are ways to lower these costs.

To begin, you should educate yourself on the weight and size restrictions put in place from the airline you are traveling with. If you are traveling with more than one airline, then you should find out about the baggage fees for all of them because they may not be the same.

Having a bag that is larger than the weight or size restrictions can result in you being charged an extra fee. This is the most common unexpected fee one experiences while checking into a flight. 

A popular traveling tip is to pack lightly so you can save money with a carry on bag. Though this is a great tip, it may not always be useful because some airlines still charge their passengers for carry-on bags. 

Other airlines may not offer free baggage for your first checked bag either, so this is all why researching your airline prior to arriving at the airport is important. Researching the guidelines prior to your trip is the best way to avoid unexpected baggage fees.

#2 – Hotel Booking Fees

I am guilty of not always reading fine-prints, and that is usually how I end up spending more money than expected. If you are like me, that means you find the perfect hotel based on how it looks, reviews, and its amenities. Once you have found the perfect hotel, you book a reservation right away without looking at all of the charges.

There are countless times where my trip has been altered because of having to pay high service and cleaning fees to the hotel. There are numerous secrets to save hundreds while traveling, but reading all of the hotel fees prior to reserving your room is one that is not really a secret. 

Some hotels charge for wifi, parking, or even the coffee in your room. Make sure you know all of the fees and set aside money for those different costs before you arrive at the hotel.

#3 – Debit and Credit Card Fees

One way that banks and lenders make money is by charging sometimes unnecessary fees. Some banks charge out of country fees, ATM fees, or withdrawal fees. This means that swiping your credit or debit card while out of town can result in having to pay extra fees to your bank. 

To avoid this, you can withdraw money from your bank account prior to leaving your city or call to make sure that your bank will not charge you such fees. If you are already on vacation when you find out that you will be charged these fees, spend less money. 

Going to places that are free-of-charge, like free art museums, can also help you save money on fees. 

#4 – Roaming Charges

Similar to banks, cell phone providers can charge people for using their phones while in another country. Outside of those types of fees, they can also charge you for using more data than your plan covers or for what are called roaming charges.

When you are traveling, you are not connected to the WiFi that you are usually connected to while at familiar locations back home. You will also more than likely use your phone more than usual to navigate or research locations since you are in a new city. 

The best way to avoid these fees is by turning off your roaming or by purchasing a sim card or prepaid phone while vacationing. Connecting to local WiFi hotspots can help too, but be wary of connecting your private phone to public networks. 

#5 – Emergencies Expenses

This category may seem like an obvious one, but emergencies happening while on a vacation is truly unexpected. No one goes on a trip expecting to experience any kind of emergency. Whether it be a medical or family emergency, no one anticipates one happening while vacationing.

Though no one expects an emergency to happen while on a trip, one should always prepare for it. Having financial assurance in an emergency while vacationing is one of the major benefits of travel insurance

Having travel insurance or a surplus of money saved up for emergencies can prevent you from cashing out on a large chunk of money you were not prepared to spend. However, make sure you fully understand what is covered by your travel insurance policy.

#6 – City Taxes

There are certain cities throughout the world that charge people to merely be in the city. You can receive city taxes from hotels or via tolls on highways. City taxes are common in European cities where visitors are common and therefore often charged a city tax.

Depending on the location, they may request that you pay this tax with cash or coins. So to prepare, you should research the location you are visiting and any taxes associated with being a guest in that town. If you find that the fees are too steep, you can always change your location. 

However, knowing about these fees beforehand can prevent this from becoming an unexpected expense. 

Researching any and everything associated with the town you are vacationing in is a dummy-proof method for preventing unexpected expenses. Despite there being plenty of other ways you can spend more money than expected, research and pre-planning are important ways to help you stay in your budget while on a trip.

 – About the Author – 

Imani Francies writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, TheTruthAboutInsurance.com. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media and specializes in various forms of media marketing.

Imani Francies

Imani Francies