Hidden Travel Costs You Should Know About

Traveling can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a number of hidden costs that most people don’t know about, and don’t prepare for. One of the most important elements of travel is budgeting for your entire trip. The last thing you want to happen is to run out of money halfway through your trip! Knowing all the potential expenses that face you before you leave home is vital to a good budget and an enjoyable vacation. And, as always, try to budget 10-20% more than you think you will need, just in case something goes wrong. Below you’ll find some of the most common hidden travel costs that many travelers don’t know about.

Costs to Check Bags

This trend started just a few years ago. As gasoline prices rose, airlines had to increase their prices. Instead of raising their actual fares, many airlines started charging fees to check bags. The fees vary from $10 – $50 per bag, but every airline is different. Most airlines allow you to check one medium-sized bag for free, and anything in addition to that bag will be subject to an extra fee. Be sure to check out the policy of the airline you have chosen, and make sure you know what you will be charged in advance. If they charge a lot for checked bags, try to pack light, and maximize your carry-on luggage (which is free).

Costs to Cancel Reservations

This is a big one. If you cancel reservations for hotels, rental cars, or airline tickets, there will almost always be a substantial fee. When you make a reservation, try to be as sure as possible that you will be able to fulfill it. As far as plane tickets go, some airlines allow you to get a “flex” ticket or something similar, which allows you to change the time and date of your flight without a fee. However, these flex tickets generally cost an extra 10 – 30% over regular tickets, so they are only worth it if you are likely to have to change your schedule.

Inflated Airfare Costs

Airlines try to maximize their profits in a number of ways. One of the biggest ways they do this is by taking advantage of non tech-savvy individuals. You have probably noticed by now that online airfare prices are constantly changing. They change based on the number of available seats, seasonal demand, and even time of day. In order to get the best deal, you have to have your wits about you and be ready to buy quickly when a good price pops up.

When shopping for airline tickets, have your credit card out and ready to go. If you see a price that seems too good to be true, purchase it immediately – it likely won’t last. If you shop for airline tickets one day, and don’t end up buying any, make sure you clear your browser history and your cookies before making a purchase. Airline companies use cookies (tracking devices) to identify return customers (people that browsed specific tickets but didn’t buy, and are now returning later to view the same tickets). They often increase the costs for these customers, because they know they are very likely to buy. Also, airlines will take advantage of last-second purchasers by inflating the cost of airfare well over the actual cost.

These are some of the many tips you need to keep in mind when traveling, knowing about hidden travel costs in advance is a great way to reduce unwanted stress while you’re on a vacation and an extra cost pops up.