Budgeting for Your Next Trip? Don’t Forget These 6 Hidden Travel Costs

hidden travel costs

You’ve paid for the plane tickets, booked the hotel, and saved up to pay for food and entertainment. What’s left to think about now? It turns out there’s quite a bit that should be on your list as you budget for your next trip. Otherwise, unexpected expenses could crop up and take away from all the fun stuff you’ve planned for your next getaway.

Here are six of the most commonly overlooked and  hidden travel costs that come with traveling. Factor them in and travel comfortably on this trip and all the ones to come.

Pet Care

Some pets can fend for themselves for a few days. Others can travel with you if you’re driving to a pet-friendly destination such as the ones at www.dogfriendlyretreats.com. Most of the time, though, you’ll leave your pets behind when you fly around the country and world.

Don’t forget to factor in just how much pet care will cost you. You can always find a deal, of course, so start researching early. Find a respected boarding facility or interview pet-sitters to find the place or person who’s budget-friendly and trustworthy. Asking friends and family who they use is a great place to start, since you don’t want to leave man’s best friend with just anyone.

Airline Fees

Some airlines will entice you to buy their tickets with a lower overall fare. Once you’re roped in, though, you’ll find out that everything costs more — from the bags you bring on board to the snacks you’re served when flying.

Before buying your ticket, look into what your chosen airline charges to check or carry your luggage with you. This is an especially good practice if you’re flying an unfamiliar airline while you’re overseas. Lots of budget airlines will charge you if you bring more than one bag — yes, including a purse — with you to board. Plus, there might be additional charges if you haven’t printed your boarding pass before arriving at the airport. Always read the fine print!



A domestic vacation won’t throw you for a loop — you already know how to tip in restaurants, bars and taxis. You know to give your massage therapist or hairstylist or tour guide a little something extra at the end of your session, too. Of course, you also want to give hotel staffers a monetary thank you. Everyone from bellboys to cleaning staff to concierge experts should earn a few dollars for their services. Doorman, bell staff and shuttle drivers should receive $1-2 per bag, depending on luggage size. Housekeeping should be tipped $1-5 per day, to be received daily, and the valet can be tipped with a daily drop-off or pick-up in the amount of $4-5.

In other countries, though, the lines become blurred. What are you expected to tack onto your bill? Brush up on cultural norms before taking off so you know just what to do in all situations in which you might have to tip.

Airport or Station Transfers

You know how you’re getting from your home to the city or town you’re traveling to. Did you also consider how you will get from the airport or bus or train station to the place where you’re staying? This is always something to factor in — taxis can cost you a pretty penny and, if there’s no other way to travel to and from your hotel, you’ll have to pay the fee twice.

Many places have more budget-friendly options, though. For example, there is usually an airport bus that will take you to the city center. You can also transfer from your regional train to a city-based metro that can drop you off closer to your final destination — city buses do that, too. If you must travel by taxi, try traveling with a ride-sharing service or splitting the costs with your fellow travelers, so it doesn’t take as much of a toll on your budget.

Card Fees

Card fees generally apply to international travel, although withdrawing from a different domestic ATM could incur charges, too. You’ve saved up for your impending vacation, but you might not have considered how much it’ll cost you to take out money once you arrive. Some banks will charge you to use their ATMs. On top of that, your home bank could charge you for an international transaction. This could add up to more than $10 tacked onto the amount of cash you take out. Either figure out a cheaper option or take out larger sums of money at first so you can avoid multiple fees.

Check into your credit card’s fees, too. Some add fees to international charges. A 3 percent upcharge on the total cost of each transaction can add up quickly, so call them before you go to find out what, if any, fees will apply. If your card isn’t travel-friendly, try swapping it for one that’s widely accepted and transaction fee-free. Fortunately, there are plenty of well-regarded travel credit cards out there.

Roaming or Data Charges

Again, this applies more to international travel, but data and roaming charges can hit once you’re home. You might find yourself a little bit broke after trekking around the globe, and you don’t want that to happen.

Find out how much you’ll be charged to use your phone overseas. Ask your cellular provider if there’s a budget-friendly international plan so you can still use your phone sporadically while you’re traveling. Otherwise, pop it into airplane mode and only use it when you have Wi-Fi. If you need apps to help you navigate, think about buying a SIM card when you arrive at your destination. A prepaid one is often pretty cheap, and it will only be a small portion of your budget in comparison to data and roaming charges.

Get Going!

You’ve thought about everything now, and you’re ready to go, mentally, physically and financially. So grab your suitcase, your passport and hit the road confidently — you’ve earned it.

Sarah Landrum

After graduating from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR, Sarah moved to Harrisburg to start her career as a Digital Media Specialist and a writer. She later founded Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping young professionals navigate the work world and find happiness and success in their careers.