8 International Travel Expenses that are Often Overlooked

Posted in: Advice

International travel means creating a budget and allocating your money carefully. While trips overseas can be a lot of fun, they can also be expensive, especially when not planned and budgeted for properly.

Some aspects of your travel expense management are self-evident – you will need to account for travel and accommodation costs, as well as costs for meals and outings. However, not only potential expenses are easily identifiable, and if not planned for, these hidden costs can come as an unpleasant surprise during your trip.

Wondering if you’re planned for every eventuality? To help you ensure that you’re ready for even the most unexpected costs, consider these common expenses that international travelers forget to budget for.


1. International Roaming

In today’s day and age, a cell phone is a ubiquitous tool. This makes it easy to forget that your SIM card is usually tied to your city and country, and charges to make calls and use mobile data increase significantly when you travel out of the country.

Make sure you have a good roaming package activated before leaving home. Alternatively, turn off your data roaming and use WiFi instead. While most people remember to avoid international calls, using mobile data is almost second nature, and we don’t remember how many everyday applications make use of the Internet. If you’re traveling for an extended period of time or will be traveling to an isolated location, you can also consider buying a local SIM card for your phone.


2. Departure Taxes

Departure taxes are a fee that is charged by a country when you are leaving that country by air. These fees are usually included in the cost of your airline ticket. However, some countries charge you departure tax at the airport. Furthermore, while these fees are usually inexpensive, depending on the country, they can be significant.

Before you travel, make sure to double-check the guidelines regarding departure taxes in the country you are visiting. You can also find these details on the US Department of State website.


3. Vaccinations

Depending on the country you are traveling to, you may be required to provide proof of certain vaccinations before you can apply for a tourist visa or enter the country.

You should make sure to budget for these vaccinations, as well as any additional immunizations that you think you may require, in your travel budget. To check which vaccines you will need to get, you can refer to the CDC’s website and the WHO’s comprehensive guidelines.


4. Currency Exchange Fees

Traveling overseas means paying with a different currency. Regardless of whether you are paying in cash or by card, you should budget a few extra dollars for currency exchange fees.

If you are paying by card, your bank will likely impose a foreign transaction fee on your credit card. This fee is also often imposed on debit card payments. When you pay by cash, you will first need to acquire the local currency. This can be done in two ways – by exchanging currency or by withdrawing money from an ATM.

An ATM usually results in a withdrawal charge that you should account for. On the other hand, if you are exchanging currency, you will likely be changed a few dollars to do so.

While currency exchange fees will not take up a large part of your costs, they can be a significant expense when you travel on a tight budget.


5. Tipping

Tipping customs vary depending on the country. However, you’ll usually encounter some people that you will need to tip, whether that be the bellboy who helps you with your luggage at your hotel or the server at a restaurant.

Make sure to account for tips in your budget and research tipping customs in the country you are visiting thoroughly to ensure that you are not over-or under-tipping. You can also refer to this guide on tipping etiquette around the world.


6. Impromptu Activities

You have undoubtedly created a list of things that you want to do during your travels and have budgeted for the cost of those activities. However, most people will inevitably have the chance to engage in a few impromptu activities that they had not considered when creating their itinerary.

Whether it’s a unique activity that you had not been able to research previously, or a need to change plans if one of your scheduled activities cannot be undertaken, you should keep some extra space in your budget to be flexible if necessary.


7. Hidden Accommodation Costs

Accounting for accommodation costs is one of the first things that most people do when creating a travel budget. However, there are often several additional expenses that people do not consider when thinking of accommodation costs.

For example, not all hotels offer free WiFi. Additionally, you may find that you need to pay for parking, laundry, and other services that are not part of your base costs. Ensuring that you budget for the possibility of such hidden fees means that you will not be caught completely off guard when you have to pay your hotel bill at the end of your stay.


8. Visa Costs

A lot of people do not account for the fact that international fees will mean paying visa fees. These fees will depend on the duration of your stay in the country and will vary depending on the country that you are traveling to.

You can refer to this guide on visa fees around the world. You may also need to contact the country’s embassy for more information if you are planning an extended vacation.



These are only some of the many travel expenses that you will incur during international travel. While these may not be among the most expensive travel expenses, they are however often overlooked. Accounting for them will ensure that you don’t find yourself in a bind when confronted with needing to pay for them.

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