Unexpected expenses can crop up on vacation but these tips and tricks will ensure you can stick to your budget as closely as possible.

Making the decision to take an international trip is exciting but it does require some proper planning. From flights and accommodation to meals and outings, every aspect of your trip has a cost attached to it, which is why a budget needs to be an integral part of your planning process.

Many travelers make the mistake of only including the obvious items in their budget and tend to forget about the many small expenses that could end up derailing their budget completely.  Depending on how long you will be traveling for, there are a few extra expenses to keep in mind if you want to take your planning up a notch.

Unexpected International Travel Expenses to Keep in Mind

Here are a few of the most common yet unexpected travel expenses that travelers forget to consider.

International Roaming

Forgetting about roaming charges will ensure that you come home to a hefty bill after your relaxing holiday, so consider turning off data roaming while you’re traveling and take advantage of free Wi-Fi instead. If you really need to make a call you can always buy a sim card or cheap cellphone in the country you’re staying in.

Medical or Doctors’ Fees

Nobody plans to get sick or suffer a trauma on holiday but it does happen quite frequently. Knowing where to find the right doctor the first time around can make a big difference to your budget. By choosing the wrong medical professional, you could end up having to see a second doctor to get the right advice and medication, which only ends up costing you more. Using a service such as Air Doctor during your trip to find and book with a doctor of your choosing may save you hours of unnecessary nerves and offer you access to professional medical services in your language.


Planning to park your rental car at a hotel in the city, ask the bellboy for help or thank the nice man that kept your car safe while you walked around? It’s best if you add the cost of tipping to your budget. While every country has its customs on who to tip, you can rest assured there will be someone waiting for your money.

Departure Tax

Departure tax refers to additional fees that are incurred when you leave a country by air. Many countries include these departure fees in their airline tickets but there are a few countries that will charge you at the departure gate. Be sure to check whether your destination is one of these countries by visiting the country’s official government website or the U.S. Department of State website.

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Baggage Loss

Baggage gets lost all the time and there’s nothing worse than the feeling of having to spend a day or two without your essentials. While your insurance will make sure that you are compensated, it’s also best to have a Plan B that will help you can sustain your activities. For more information on travel insurance options, check out this article.


Many a budget has been destroyed because people decided to purchase souvenirs at a tourist attraction gift shop. If you know that you’re going to want a souvenir, rather budget for it or find a local store further away from the tourist attraction where it will probably cost you less.

Impromptu Adventures

Naturally, you want to have the time of your life while you’re on vacation and you never know when you might want to do something on the spur of the moment. Putting some budget aside for impromptu adventures will ensure you stay on track with your expenses.

Hidden Accommodation Costs

Before you use anything at your hotel, make sure that you aren’t going to be charged for it. From room service and Wi-Fi to items from the mini bar, you never know when there may be a cost attached to it.

For most of us who don’t want to plan every detail and just want to enjoy the getaway, its best to add a certain percent to your budget for any and all surprise expenses. We would say adding 10% would be a pretty good estimate to rule out any real crazy over expenses.

It’s impossible to plan for every eventuality as an international traveler but being aware of potential extra expenses will help you stick to your budget as closely as you can. Apps and services like Air Doctor exist pretty much for every topic and are always good to have while traveling in order to save money and headaches.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Paul RYKEN

    haha. You forgot one. We document all our expenses, but this one I don’t know which category to add it to.

    Public Toilet Useage Fee. Admittedly, it may only be anything from EUR0.30 to EUR1.00, but it is still a frequently overlooked travel expense.

    1. Bryan

      Hmm… medical expenses, perhaps?

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