Whether you’re planning a weeklong vacation or a weekend getaway, it is important that you establish a travel budget before leaving home. This can ensure enough cash for the duration of your trip. And with a budget, you can reduce frivolous spending. However, if you don’t plan carefully you may forget to factor in common travel expenses. These seven expenses can add up quickly and bust your travel budget.
1. Airport Purchases
Airport purchases are ridiculously high, and if you buy items for yourself and family, you can easily bust your travel budget. For example, you might pay $8 or $9 for a combo meal that might cost $5 outside the airport. And if you buy medication, reading material and other items at airport shops, you could pay double or triple the normal price. Plan ahead, and if possible, purchase everything you need before heading to the airport.
2. Checked Bag Fees
Southwest doesn't charge a fee, but if you fly with another airline, you may pay $25 or $35 per checked bag. This can add up quickly and take a chunk of your travel budget. You can't avoid this fee, but you can take steps to minimize the cost. For starters, pack light and only check one bag, if possible. If you have to bring another bag, consider a carry-on since there's no fee to bring these bags onto the plane.
3. Heavy Luggage Fee
Not only do you pay to check your bags, if your checked bag is more than 50 pounds, the airline will charge an extra fee. This fee can be as much as $50 per oversized bag. Before leaving home, place your luggage on a scale, or use a scale at the airport. Removing a few items from your bag can reduce the weight, helping you avoid an additional fee.
Whether you're planning to rent a car or use public transportation, the amount you spend in this area can bust your budget if you're not careful. To keep expenses within reason, shop around when looking for a rental car. Choose an economy car, and if you have personal auto insurance, you can decline the rental car insurance rider and save. Additionally, take advantage of free shuttles whenever possible, as well as the subway, which might be cheaper than a cab.
5. Phone Charges
If your cellphone carrier doesn’t provide service in your travel area, make sure you turn off your data and location services. If not, you could get slammed with a ton of roaming charges. Call your carrier beforehand to see if service will be available at your destination.
6. Three Meals a Day
You have to eat on vacation. Unfortunately, three meals a day adds up. To help you stay on budget, select hotels that offer free continental or hot breakfast. Purchase an Entertainment Book for the destination, or check out buy-one-get-one free offers online.
7. Ignoring Your Budget
This is the time to have fun, but not at the expense of your finances. If you establish a budget before the trip, do everything possible to stay within this amount. Understandably, you may go over a bit, but don’t go crazy spending hundreds more than you planned.
With hotels, entertainment and airline tickets, vacations can be extremely costly. For that matter, you don’t need extra expenses eating away at your budget. What steps have you taken to keep your travel budget on track?