V is for Vacation. Did you Factor in All the Hidden Fees?

 

Your main objective while on vacation is to relax and be carefree. So let us plan ahead for any possible setbacks. Some travel surprises are good others are not! Discovering an out-of-the-way exquisite restaurant or finding out that the museum you planned to visit is completely free will ultimately put a smile on your face. However, hidden fees and additional cost — NOT factored into your plans  — could cause you stress. Let’s discuss some of those fees and perhaps even avoid a few when possible.

Visa Fees — these fees are required for U.S. citizens traveling to foreign countries. Each Foreign Country has their own visa fees and they can range in price. It would be wise to go to the consulate’s website to find out how much you are going to have to pay beforehand. It can take a couple of weeks to process visas so be sure to plan ahead or you may find yourself paying even more to expedite the process.

Departure Taxes — if you look closely at your airline ticket you will find a mix of additional charges. A Segment Tax is usually a departure tax for international flights. Many countries charge a departure tax and it is not always included in the airfare. Check with your airline about exit and departure fees so that you may factor this additional fee into your budget.

Resort Fees — this may be one of the most surprising fees among travelers, because most of us assume pool towels, in-room coffee or courtesy newspapers are free. They may or may not be – some resorts charge fees to cover Wi-Fi, newspaper, gym access and local calls even if you have no intention of using any of them. Before booking your room, be sure to read the fine print especially when using a third-party booking site. After all, if you’re being charge $25 per night to cover Wi-Fi and you don’t plan on using it, you may want to consider choosing another resort.

Cruise Gratuities — many cruise lines offer all-inclusive boats where your meals are included in the price. What you may not be aware of are the automatic charges for gratuities. Many major cruise lines automatically bill between $10 and $12 in gratuities per person, for each day of the cruise. These charges may seem mandatory, but if you feel this tip does not reflect the quality of service you receive, you may want to speak with the purser’s office and try to have them adjust this rate.

Baggage Fees — there is a huge variation between airlines when it comes to baggage fees and the rules are constantly changing. So before you book you flight, be sure to compare baggage fees between airlines.

Money exchange — before you head off to your destination, check with your banking institute for the best exchange rate on the US dollar. If you don’t, you may incur a much higher fee at the foreign exchange bureau.

Foreign transaction fees — if you are going to another country look for a credit card that doesn’t charge a percentage on every purchase made. Even though they are typically a small percentage, you may want to explore a credit card that will not charge these fees.

Vacations are meant to help us relax, replenish and to come home feeling well rested and rejuvenated. Doing a small amount of research beforehand may help you avoid some unnecessary charges and stress during your trip.

Happy travels!

AZ Answers

 

About Ann Zuraw

Ann Zuraw, the voice behind "Chicks, Chat and Change", is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™). If you have comments on this post contact Ann Zuraw

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