The Hidden Costs of Travel 32


I love to travel – no secret there.  I am sure you love to travel as well.

You take time to research your destination, how to get there and what type of accommodation you want to stay in.  You make your choices for your family holiday by what suits you and your budget.

But do you allow for all those hidden costs of travel?

Hidden costs? you ask, what hidden costs of travel?

hidden costs of travel

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6 Hidden Costs of Travel for a Family Holiday

Hidden Costs Preparing to Travel

Once I have made my decisions on where we will be taking our next family holiday I start to research things to do in our travel destination.  This can result with me needing some sort of new clothing, whether that be just a good pair of walking sandals, some new dresses for dinner, or perhaps specialist adventure wear.  Before I know it, it can easily rack up to several hundred dollars worth of clothes (and just to let you know I am not one of those girls who loves to shop).  So what types of new clothes will you need?

Next are you also planning on doing any special sporting, adventure activities or just attending a function?  Will you need to purchase special equipment?

Then do you need any other special travel gadgets?  I have a great list of handy items to pack HERE.  Obviously you probably won’t need them all.  You may just need to purchase something like the pegless clothes line so that you can save money when washing clothes when you travel or perhaps something a little more elaborate like a new travel bag.

hidden costs of travel

After that I start to think about packing family travel essentials: new sunscreen, insect repellent, toothpaste and shampoo.  OK you probably want to buy these at some point but it’s just that I like to have a full packet to ensure I don’t run out whilst away.

Finally in the last few days before you travel there are those little extras:

  • putting your mail on hold,
  • getting a hair cut and
  • visiting the day spa to finish off your grooming.

It all adds up.

Hidden Costs of Travel with Kids

Now as I travel with a child there are a number of extras for my child that I buy in the lead up to our family holidays.  You may want to pack these for your kids as well:

  • travel activities like colouring and puzzle books,
  • new holiday toys/games,
  • new reading books and
  • favourite snacks.

hidden costs of travel

Hidden Costs for Travel Abroad

If you have decided to travel overseas then you will need a passport, OK you thought of that cost but did you allow for the passport photos?

And do you need visas to enter the country you are visiting, whether that be purchase on arrival or pre-departure?

hidden costs of travel

Another thing to consider when you travel overseas is your health.  On top of packing a medical travel first aid kit, but do you need any vaccinations?  Then did you factor in the travel insurance – don’t forget to disclose any health issues which you may be able to cover with an additional fee – yep more money.

Hidden Costs of Air Travel

If you are going to travel overseas then one of the most popular ways to get there is by flying.  Once you have bought your air ticket check your inclusions:

  • luggage
    • if your luggage is included check your luggage allowance – excess luggage is very expensive.
  • meals
  • entertainment

If they are not included then you will be paying extra at the airport or during the flight – see if you can save some costs by pre-purchasing these items.

But before you get on the flight you have to get to the airport, how are you getting there?

  • airport parking for duration of your holiday,
  • friend/family parking in short-term car park,
  • taxi,
  • or limousine?

Whichever one you opt for it will cost you money.

hidden costs of travel

Hidden Costs of Cruising

Are you sitting there smugly thinking I’m not flying, I’m cruising 🙂  I’ve bought my ticket that includes all meals and activities – but does it.

Watch out for hidden extra costs in travel on a cruise ship they include:

  • drinks,
  • additional dining options,
  • tours,
  • extra cruise ship activities: salon/spa, adventure parks, rock walls etc.

Look you don’t have to do these things on your cruise but just be aware that these items cost more.

Hidden Costs of Road Trips

Even if you are not planning a family holiday overseas, in a plane or on a cruise, a simple road trip getaway can have some hidden cost in its travel plans.

When planning a road trip I suggest in my road trip tips to make sure the car is serviced.  Once you are on the road and out of the city you will notice that petrol prices will fluctuate – often going up not down, and that’s not even allowing for a flat tire 😉

hidden costs of travel

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Now don’t be put off by these hidden costs of travel in your family holiday planning just remember to include then in your budgeting so that when you come home from your family travels you have happy memories not huge credit card bills.

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About Sally-Ann Brown

I am Sally-Ann the author of Toddlers on Tour. I am a wife and mother who has always had a passion for travel. I love sharing my experiences and lessons learned to help you have a better family holiday or day trip. Read "All About Me" under the "Home" tab to discover my story and what lead me to here.

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32 thoughts on “The Hidden Costs of Travel

  • eileen g

    i used to be able to stock up on $1-bin toys at the local discount store before traveling, but as DD gets older it’s a new book or travel game or journal, so that cost goes up. As much as I hate buying and packing space-eaters like sunscreen, bug spray, or diapers (when she was younger), I loathe even more having to buy them when we are away. They never have your brand or it’s painfully expensive — or both.

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      I try to think of the space eaters as shopping space Eileen. When Mr8 was a toddler and I had to pack nappies that space would then be available for holiday shopping – though of course that’s more costs 🙂

  • Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles)

    You’re so right about needing to budget for all those hidden costs, Sally-Ann! It’s so easy to think you’re almost there once you’ve booked those expensive flights and accommodation. I always get small things to entertain the kids on long journeys – sticker books, new magazines etc. One of my biggest extras is all the sun cream we need to buy – it costs a fortune! We’re heading for Greece soon and I’m trying to sort out all this other extras – taxis to the airport, car hire once we’re there. It all adds up. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • Paula McInerney

    Anyone who travels without a hidden costs contingency plan, is headed for problems. No matter how much you plan, there are always extraneous costs. We always had a set amount set aside for ‘hidden costs’, and it was a sensible thing to do.

  • Ruth

    There are so many things that can add up to your travel costs. I think you have to have some cash separated to cover those expenses. A cost that some people do not consider is the currency conversion / foreign currency costs. Before traveling, it is good to asses how you are going to get your money in a foreign country without having to pay all sorts of fees. I travel with a credit card that do not charge currency exchange fees. In addition, I see what banks in the country I am going to visit is partner with my bank. In that way, I do not have to pay for using a bank outside of my bank’s network.

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      Good point Ruth, currency exchange are forever fluctuating, so when you plan your travel to the time you actually go you can easily find that your costs have increased without even buying anything extra.

  • Emma (awetismblog)

    Lots of great tips. There are always things associated with travel that we forget. Meals on the plane is a big thing now, hardly any airlines include them unless long haul. Thanks for sharing! #mondayescapes

  • Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net)

    Budgeting is hard enough in the first place! The before-during-and-after costs of travel can really add up. We like to look at all of those costs after every trip, so we can make sure to budget for them before our the next one. Okay, that’s a lie – we don’t like it at all…but it’s important to do. 😉

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      That’s a really good idea Rob+Ann to revisit where you spent money on past travel to prepare for the next. I use this tip for other parts of travel I should really try and apply it myself as well 🙂

  • Bumble Bee Mum

    Haha.. I tend to brush aside hidden costs like these. Maybe that’s why we are always surprised by how little money we are left with by the end of the trip, although we were quite sure we brought along more than enough cash. #MondayEscapes

  • Anne Sutherland-Smith

    Sally-Ann, I agree that there can be many hidden costs. On our most recent family trip to Japan we had to renew all five of our passports which cost almost $A1000! And little things like International Drivers Permits and Visas can certainly add up over time.

    Another sneaky one for road trips is to get your wheels aligned before you depart and then do it again after you return, especially if you will be taking your vehicle onto any unsealed roads. There is nothing more annoying than having to replace all 4 tyres for wear on only part of the type which could have been avoided…