When you’re planning your next trip it’s easy to remember to budget for the essentials; flights, hotels, spends when you’re on the ground, food, activities, the regulars. But we often forget to build in key line items into our travel budgets that can end up eating into our allotted funds unexpectedly and in some cases, significantly while we’re abroad if we’re not careful. Well we’re not getting caught out anymore! In the spirit of ultra-preparedness here’s a list of travel costs that might have slipped your thoughts during your planning:
Water – you read that right. Water is not always free or safe to drink in every country you visit. In such instances, bottled water is your most convenient option. However, seeing as we’re all aiming to be more environmentally mindful millennials, contributing to all that extra single use plastic is probably not a good look. In that case, you may instead opt for a refillable bottle (plenty of choice on sites like Amazon) or the more savvy might opt for a more compact option like a filter straw such as Life Straw or Grayl.
Visas – Raise your hand if you’ve ever been caught out by unexpected visa requirements while travelling *me!* Visas are one of those travel bug bares that have to be indulged from time to time depending on which country you’re trying to visit. The range in cost can also vary significantly from affordable to extortionate so this is definitely one cost you don’t want to be hit with unexpectedly while you’re on your travels so make sure you do your due diligence on your visa requirements before you set off.
Ubers/Taxis – Public transport isn’t always reliable or convenient in a lot of countries. Enter ride shares and taxi’s. Nothing hit me as hard as the difference in cost of rides in London compared to NYC. Lawd a mercy. Don’t get caught out like me and make sure you have ample funds in your budget to cover your rides in specific areas while you’re travelling in places with limited public transportation options. You’ll thank yourself later.
Airport Transfers – Have you thought about how you’re getting from the airport to your accommodation and back again? A lot of airports aren’t central so you need to factor in the cost of a transfer to/from where you need to be. Be prepared to pay more in the big cities (NYC, London, Iceland – I’m looking at you) or look into alternatives like the underground or busses/coaches.
Tipping – Every country’s tipping culture isn’t the same and in some places it’s actually considered rude to tip but across the globe you’re more than likely find you’re expected to tip in some capacity so make sure you’ve considered this when budgeting for meals out. In the UK tipping is viewed more as a bonus to reward exceptional service. On the other hand you’d be seen as rude in America if you didn’t tip around 20% on top of your bill. This is because tipping there is seen as compounding a server’s base wage so to not tip is seen as not fully compensating your server for delivering the service you received during your meal. Some quick research into customs or a casual conversation with a local should tell you all you need to know so you’re prepared.
ATM fees – being charged for the privilege of accessing your own money abroad is one of travel’s biggest irritations. Depending on who you bank with there can also be another charge from the bank to process the transaction too – double blow. There are ways round this; cards like Monzo and Revolut don’t pass these foreign transaction fees on to the customer so you save there. Also, estimate how much cash you think you’ll need to limit how much you need to withdraw while you’re there.
Entry/Departure Fees – First time I was introduced to this concept was in Malta and needless to say I was unprepared for it. It’s usually not an amount to send you into the red but it’s always worth considering so you’re not caught out.
SIM Cards – I’ve already broken down the advantages of a dual SIM phone when travelling (check previous blog post) but it’s worth remembering to budget for the actual cost of a SIM package in the country you’re visiting. Note, it’s sometimes cheaper to pay your home network’s fee to use your minutes and data in some countries than it is to buy a SIM package for the length of your stay there; make sure to do some research on the best option for you for added savings.
Here’s to not getting caught out while travelling 2020! Do you know of any more hidden travel costs a savvy traveller should be aware of? Leave a comment and make sure to share this post to keep our travel network in the know.