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Some countries require you to apply in advance for a travel visa. Not only do you need to budget money for travel visa costs (which range in price, depending on your citizenship and where you're going), but you may also need to budget some time to get the visa - which can take up to weeks.
We don't plan for things to go wrong, but it's good to have a plan in case things do.
Travel insurance has three different components: baggage loss/theft, trip cancellation, and medical. You might have some coverage already through existing insurance or health plans, or by booking travel with your credit card.
Medical is the most important insurance to address; trip cancellation should be considered if the cost of your travel is such that cancelling or rerouting due to an emergency would represent a substantial loss. Baggage loss/theft insurance is the most difficult to make a claim for, and often holds the least value.
Travel Day Meals
Did you anticipate needing that coffee or snack at the airport? The food for purchase on the plane? Or the overpriced meal offerings on long-distance train rides and at bus rest stops? Food bought on the go is regularly unsatisfying, financially and otherwise.
Whether you're looking at ATM withdrawal fees, debit charge fees, credit card advance fees, or traveler's cheque commissions, you generally have to pay to access your money abroad.
ATM fees can be charged by both your home bank and the ATM abroad - resulting in up to $10 in fees per withdrawal. Credit card advances are even more dangerous; in addition to the withdrawal fee, interest is charged on your entire credit card balance as of the date of your cash advance - which can result in hundreds of dollars in interest in a very short time.
Even using a debit or credit card for direct purchases can result in hidden currency conversion charges....read on.
If you need to convert cash, generally airport currency exchange counters offer the worst rates; local bank branches are better. ATM withdrawals and debit/credit card purchases are usually reasonable, depending on the card. The currency conversion fee is hidden; check your policy statement to find out how much you're being charged.
If you're flying, how are you getting to and from the airport? While some destinations have easily accessible airports, others most certainly do not. All those buses, taxis, and trains on either side add up.
Depending on the country you visit, you could get dinged with departure tax when you leave. Some countries incorporate it into the cost of your airfare, while others expect a local cash payment. When checking into travel visa requirements, familiarize yourself with the departure tax policy.
What unsatisfying yet necessary travel expenses have you had to incur?
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Nora Dunn is The Professional Hobo: a full-time traveler and freelance writer. She is a contributing writer under the CareOne Debt Relief Services A Straight Talk on Debt blog. Having sold her business and belongings to travel, she has been on the road since 2007. She travels in a financially sustainable manner, taking advantage of creative volunteering positions. As a former certified Financial Planner, she is financially responsible for her actions along the way. She believes there is a fine balance between planning for tomorrow, and living for today. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.
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Between your credit card and insurance policies, you could save yourself some serious money on travel insurance.