Even if you’re a diligent vacation planner, you can still be blindsided by unexpected costs. Just because you’re looking into hotels in Rome and spending a bundle on the trip of a lifetime, that doesn’t mean you want to pay more than necessary. Here are the most common expenses that can creep up, as well as tips for avoiding them.
1. Departure Taxes
Most people look at an airline ticket as a whole, but various things go into the final price. Aside from the Passenger Facility Charge and Segment Tax there is also a departure tax for international travel. While most companies charge this tax, it isn’t always included in the airfare. When you arrive at the airport for your return trip home, you could find out that you have to pay this fee before boarding. This is especially common when traveling to Central America, South America, or the Caribbean. The fee tends to be relatively low and is accepted via cash or credit card. However, you have to pay it before going through immigration, so if you’re completely tapped out from your trip, you could be in trouble.
2. Resort Fees
Most people assume various resort amenities are free, like the pool, in-room coffee, and a daily newspaper. However, these items, along with WiFi access and other add-ons may be charged! This is common in both Hawaii and Puerto Rico, for example. These fees are non-negotiable, even if you don’t plan on brewing coffee in the morning or hitting the gym every afternoon. Before you book a room, call the resort to ask about these fees. If you won’t be using the niceties, you may be better off booking somewhere else.
3. Visa Fees
If you’re traveling from the U.S. to a major country, the visa fees can get out of control. Factor in approximately $100 extra per person, but be prepared for the cost to be even higher. For example, Russia visa fees are as much as $170. To be fair, the U.S. also charges non-citizens quite a bit of money to visit America. By knowing how much to expect, you won’t be shocked when it’s time to pay. Also, make sure to secure your visa well ahead of time. If you need to expedite the process, you’ll spend even more.
4. Cruise Gratuity
Cruise deals often sound too good to be true. All-inclusive trips for practically nothing may include hidden fees, though. Even if you prepay, expect a bill when you reach your final port. On that bill will be a host of incidental charges, including cocktails you ordered while lounging by the pool and gratuity for each day of your trip. On top of that, bar tabs typically have 15% automatically added on for gratuity! These fees are mandatory, but if you feel like you didn’t get great service, you can negotiate with management.
5. Money Exchange
Part of the adventure of traveling is exploring an unfamiliar area, where everyone speaks a foreign language and the money looks a lot different from what you’re used to. Even small towns within countries can have their own currency. In order to pay the lowest exchange rate, use a major ATM. If you have to go to a foreign exchange bureau, you’ll be charged much higher fees.
Don’t let avoidable fees and charges ruin your vacation!
This article was contributed by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, a travel website that offers customers a fast and easy way to find the best travel deals.
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