1. MOBILE PHONE CHARGES
We all want to stay connected while on vacation. We use our phones to take photos, connect on social media and to find directions and restaurants. I can’t live without my phone, especially when I’m traveling. But, we all must be aware of roaming charges. These charges may apply when you travel and leave your “home” network. And, if you’re not careful, they can be pricey.
To avoid these charges, be sure to turn off data roaming on your cell phone. (This can typically be done in your phone’s settings.) You should also call your mobile provider before you travel to see what kind of data options are available. Many providers will give you limited coverage for a small amount if you purchase a specific package before you leave.
2. HIDDEN HOTEL AND RESORT FEES
When booking your hotel, be sure to ask about the hotel fees that are associated with your stay. Most hotels have additional charges that are not listed in their advertised rates like a daily cost for activities, Wi-Fi, housekeeping, telephone use and/or the gym. If you plan on using the mini-bar in your room, plan on paying high dollar. Most of us know that hotel snacks left in our rooms are not free, but some hotels charge for simply moving an item in the mini-bar, so if you don’t want to pay, stay away!
Bringing your buddies with you? Also ask about an additional-person fee, which some hotels add on if more than two people are staying in the room. Kids are typically excluded from this, but be sure to ask because it is always better to know your total price up front.
3. CHECKED BAG FEES
If you’re flying, plan to pack light because those extra pair of shoes are going to cost you. Although some airlines, like Southwest, let customers bring their bags on for free, most airlines do charge to check bags. Expect to pay $25 or more per each bag. Some airlines charge more for the second checked bag, so if you are looking to save money, cram all your stuff into one suitcase.
We also suggest leaving your free weights at home. A suitcase that weighs over 50 pounds will cost you an extra fee to get it on board. If you are consistently an over-packer, get a luggage scale and double-check the weight before you leave.
Want to skip these costs all together? Pack a carry-on and take it onto the plane when you board. Just make sure that the airline you’re flying isn’t one of those few who charge for carry-on bags as well.
4. TRANSPORTATION COSTS
If you’re flying to your destination, you’re going to need transportation between the airport and your hotel or resort. Some hotels offer shuttles to and from the airport, but not all of them. Research your transportation needs before you leave. If you plan to take a taxi or ride share (such as Uber or Lyft) to your hotel, this cost needs to be included in your vacation budget. You’re also going to need transportation throughout your vacation. If you plan on leaving the hotel, research your transportation options. Heavily populated areas usually have buses, subways, and/or trains. If you intend on using a city’s public transportation, it might be cheaper to buy a daily or weekly pass instead of purchasing each ride separately.
If you’re driving to your destination, be sure to budget for parking. Some hotels charge daily parking rates that can be surprisingly high. Also plan on having extra in your vacation budget for parking lots throughout the area you are visiting. Some areas may have free parking available to visitors, but most popular attractions do charge extra to park your vehicle.
6. EMERGENCY EXPENSES
What if you miss your flight and have to pay to get another one? What if you hate your hotel room and need to stay somewhere else? What if you have to see a doctor? No one wants to have an emergency while on vacation, but it happens. If an emergency does arise, you will thank yourself for leaving some wiggle room in your vacation budget for the unexpected.
Keychains, magnets, t-shirts and oh so much more. Buying souvenirs is a vacation right-of-passage. We’ve all bought something while traveling that we later regret, so it’s best to set a budget for yourself and stick to that. Even if that fancy coffee mug is screaming your name.
Who can live without Wi-Fi? Although it is just about everywhere, you should still expect to pay for it. Wi-Fi access could cost you between $10-$25 a day. Airport Wi-Fi is typically free, but most hotels are still charging for this convenience. Be sure to ask about the daily Wi-Fi rate when you book your hotel so that you can plan this cost into your vacation budget.
There are a lot of people to tip on vacation, so keep some extra cash in your pocket. Of course, you have to tip your servers and bartenders, but keep in mind the others that are assisting you. Taxi and ride-share drivers, doormen, concierges, bellmen, the hotel valet, restroom attendants, and the list goes on and on. Be sure to throw a couple bucks to the people who help you out. It will make you feel good and make them feel appreciated. And, before you leave your hotel room, don’t forget to leave some cash behind for housekeeping.
10. TRAVEL INSURANCE
Most of us typically decline travel insurance, but is that really smart? Travel insurance can offer you not only medical protection but also assistance for trip cancellations, interruptions and delays. Travel insurance is not as expensive as you might think. Usually, it costs less than $100 and will save you hundreds (or thousands) if you actually need to use it. We suggest Allianz Global Assistance. They are a very popular provider of travel insurance and can help you find solutions to any travel-related problem.