6 Hidden Travel Costs: So You Don’t Blow Your Travel Budget

I love to travel – no secret there.  I am sure you love to travel as well.  But how well do you plan your travel budget?  Are you prepared for all the travel costs?

You take the time to plan the basics of your trip.  You need to research your travel plans to the nth degree, taking time to discover the best accommodations, flights, cruises, activities and attractions to see during your travels.  You make your choices for the trip that suits you and your travel budget best.

But do you allow for all those hidden travel expenses in your travel budgeting plan?

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

Hidden travel expenses are costs you initially don’t consider when creating your travel budget.  They are costs that go beyond flights, accommodations and tours.  They are the “little extras” that you need to spend in order to have a successful trip.

Where will you find these extra trip costs?  Let’s look at six areas of travel planning and preparations where you will stumble upon hidden extra expenses.  Some of these costs will be small, while others will be quite hefty – making a dent in your travel budget.

So let’s get you prepared so you don’t come home from your trip with a credit card hangover.

In this Article You will Learn About These Six Areas of Hidden Travel Costs:

Six places you'll find hidden travel costs when planning your trip
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6 Places You’ll Find Hidden Travel Costs to Add to Your Travel Budget Plan

1. Hidden Trip Preparation Expenses

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

But hidden trip preparation costs go beyond needing a new outfit.  You may be embarking on a new style of travel eg backpacking – you will need a backpack and further backpacking essentials.  Or perhaps your current suitcase has worn out and you need new luggage.


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

Then do you need any other special travel gadgets?  I have a great list of essential items for any trip HERE.  Maybe, you won’t need them all.  You may just need to purchase something small like the pegless clothesline so that you can save money when washing clothes when away.

So, start by thinking and making a list of what types of new clothes and accessories will you need for your trip?

After considering all the special requirements for a trip, I then move on to my general travel packing.  Do I need new sunscreen, insect repellent, toothpaste or shampoo?  OK, you probably want to buy these at some point but it’s just nice to have a full packet to ensure you don’t run out whilst away or a smaller version for travel to save space when packing.

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

  • Putting your mail on hold,
  • Getting a haircut and
  • Visiting the day spa to finish off your grooming.

It all adds up.

Top Trip Tip: When in your travel research phase create a separate list of all the items you wish to buy for your trip.  You can cull later to save money

2. Hidden Costs for Travel Abroad

If you have decided to travel overseas then you will need a passport and passport photos.

Do you need visas to enter the country you are visiting?  Depending on the country you are visiting this may need to be purchased prior to departure or on arrival.

Another thing to consider when you travel overseas is your health.  On top of packing a medical travel first aid kit, do you need any vaccinations?

Then don’t forget the travel insurance and don’t forget to disclose any health issues, which you may incur an additional fee – yep more money.

Top Trip Tip: To find information about visas, immunisations and more about your travel destination visit your home country’s Department of Foreign Affairs.  Here in Australia we also have a specific government travel website called Smart Traveller – your home country may have one as well.

3. Hidden Air Travel Expenditures

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.  (These costs can also apply to cruises, ferry goers and rail travellers.)

  • Luggage allowance
    • Is your luggage included in the cost of the ticket?  If so how much weight are you allowed – excess luggage is very expensive.  If not, you may need to purchase a luggage allowance – it is often cheaper to do this prior to arriving at the airport – check with your airline costs and how-to’s.
  • Meals
    • Are meals included?  If not, can you save money by taking your own or do you have to purchase onboard?  Remember, even simple things like a bottle of water may not be allowed through security and you will have to buy a drink once on your flight/train/ferry.
  • Entertainment
    • Again is this included in your cost?  If not are you happy with reading a book/magazine/paper or would you end up paying for screen entertainment?

A further additional cost with air travel is how are you going to get to the airport.

  • Getting airport parking for the duration of your holiday
  • Find a friend/family member to drop you off or possibly park in a short-term car park
  • Grab a taxi, Uber, limousine or airport transfer

Whichever one you opt for it will cost you money and add to your travel expenses.

Top Trip Tip: At first glance budget airlines can appear cheap, but add in all the extras and you may find you are paying more than a full-service flight.

4. Hidden Cruising Charges

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.

Top Trip Tip: If you skipped over the hidden air travel expenditures, please go back and read it as some of those costs may apply to cruising

5. Hidden Road Trips Outlays

Even if you are not planning an overseas trip on a plane or on a cruise, a simple road trip getaway can have some hidden costs.

When planning a road trip I suggest making sure your car has been recently serviced.  Then double-check the oil, and air in the tyres (including the spare) and fill up the car with fuel.

Once you are on the road you will notice that fuel prices will fluctuate.  When you refuel you may notice the cost per tank is dearer once out of the city and then allow for the cost of snacks bought at the road station.

Top Trip Tip: Have an emergency fund in case of emergency car repairs

6. Hidden Costs of Travel with Kids

These days I now travel with a child, so there are a number of extras I purchase for my child before we head off on a family trip.  You may want to pack these for your kids as well.  Some of the items I buy include:

Discover more travel toys for kids.

I hope I haven’t scared you off planning your next trip with these hidden travel costs.  It really is just a matter of including these travel expenses in your travel budget planning process.

Find the hidden travel costs in your trip plans by reading this easy travel budget guide
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