Hidden Travel Expenses

Vacations are often a much-needed, relaxing getaway. According to Advantage Behavioral Health, “vacations, are important to the health and well-being of families. It’s healthy to take a break from the daily demands of juggling work and home…Vacation helps shrink stress and anxiety while also boosting the mental and physical health of the entire family.” 62 percent of American participants reported in one Gallup poll that they took a vacation away from their home in 2017. AAA (the American Automobile Association) released a list of popular vacations, which included road trips, national parks, theme parks, international destinations, and cruises. However, in many cases, the trip can end up costing more than expected due to hidden fees and expenses. Here are a few hidden costs to consider and bear in mind for last minute vacation planning.


Many travelers, at some point during their trip, will stay in a hotel. However, the advertised price may not actually be what consumers end up paying. Hotels often add an additional daily fee, frequently called a “resort” or “destination” fee. These mandatory fees typically include amenities like the gym, WiFi, the pool, and newspapers. The average cost is close to $27 but can climb to $45-$48 in cities such as Las Vegas and Hawaii. By calling and checking the hotel’s website, consumers should be able to determine whether or not there is a resort or destination fee that will be added to the total cost of their stay.


Consumers may encounter additional fees while attempting to rent a car. Companies can and will charge fees due to the age of the driver, the drop-off point for the car, any damage on the vehicle, or a lost key. Another added rental car cost can be passing through tolls. If the rented vehicle has a “to go” or “e-z pass” transponder, renters can be charged a convenience fee in addition to the total cost of the toll. One article reported, “With the e-Toll program at Budget and Avis, once you use the transponder, you’ll be charged $3.95 a day for every day of the rental (up to a maximum of $19.75 per rental month), even on days when e-Toll is not used.” A simple way to avoid paying tolls would be to take a route that circumvents them. Several mapping apps are available that can help consumers avoid these additional costs.


Foreign transaction fees present another added cost that consumers may not have considered. Before traveling outside of the country, it can often be beneficial to check whether the credit cards that may be used during the trip charge foreign transaction fees. Some cards do not tack on this additional charge, and it might benefit a credit card holder to attain one such card if they plan to travel beyond their home nation. Another important consideration is a currency exchange fee. While abroad, exchanging currency can generate additional costs as well.


Upon deciding on a destination, consumers should consider the supplies that may be necessary for their journey. For example, a backpacking trip may require non-perishable food, hiking boots, a map, a compass, a backpack, and a tent, adding to the overall cost of the trip itself. Comfort items may also increase the overall trip price. For example, in-flight movies and snacks, new luggage, and travel-sized toiletries.


Vacations can not only help to improve consumers’ overall health, but they also provide a break and the opportunity to have new experiences. Being aware of hidden costs that may accumulate while on vacation can reduce surprises and overspending for consumers across the country. All that’s left to do is to pack those bags!


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