I pride myself on my budget trips but I haven’t always been so savvy with my cash. When I first started travelling I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and definitely could have saved myself a few pennies. So, a few years down the line I’m ready to share my tips on some travel expenses you may well overlook in the hope I can save you some money …
1 – Transportation to the airport
I’m lucky that I live about an hour away from several London airports meaning I have a few different ways I can get to each of them. Take London Gatwick for example – I can get the a bus (the airline) from a local village and it’ll take me right to the terminal. If I have a flight from London Luton I always drive there and leave my car in the airport car park. Both of these journeys cost money and to start with I never factored these costs into my trips.
The bus journey to Gatwick costs £37 return as of 2016. Yes it’s a comfy journey and it saves the hassle of not only driving to the airport, but parking too – but it isn’t cheap.
Driving to Luton is even more expensive. You have the cost of petrol and then parking your car. The cost of parking really depends on a few things – how far in advance you’re booking parking, the duration of your trip and if you want to use official airport parking or not to name a few … On average I’d say parking at Luton costs me around £50 each trip.
2 – Insurance
Being British and having traveled predominantly in Europe for the last two years means I could have just used my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) but instead I decided to buy a separate travel insurance package.
I feel more comfortable travelling knowing that I have insurance in place should anything go dramatically wrong. Unlike the EHIC card, my insurance policy covers me for severe flight delays, lost baggage and costs incurred due to natural disasters. So far I’ve not had to claim on my insurance (thank goodness) but I feel like a responsible traveler for having a policy in place should disaster strike.
3 – Arrival at your destination
I don’t know if you’ve been in the same boat as me but I’ve been stung by expensive taxis at arrival destinations so many times I’ve lost count now. If you arrive in daylight aim to get a bus/ train / any other mode of transport other than a ridiculously overpriced taxi. However, as I said in my post about safety, if you’re arriving at night then a taxi may be your only option.
Make sure you inquire about the rough cost of the journey before getting into the car and if you can agree on the cost with the driver before setting off. It would be impossible to approximate how much money to save for a taxi journey from the airport so I recommend you Google it and see what others say they paid – that way you know if you’re getting scammed or not.
4 – Backpack & equipment
If this is your first trip then it’s likely you need to invest in a rucksack/ suitcase. A decent rucksack isn’t cheap, but it’s worth spending money on a good one that will go the distance. Equally, depending on the type of trip you’re going to do you may need to invest in equipment such as a tent, sleeping bag or hiking gear … None of this is cheap and is often overlooked when working out a budget for a trip.
5 – Airline baggage
Whilst I’m on the topic of bags let’s talk about airline baggage fees. Lots of airlines are cottoning on to the fact that we hate paying the hold luggage so we are maximising our hand luggage allowance. Lots of budget airlines now charge you a small fee for hand luggage and the majority of airlines charge you to store bags in hold.
So, when you see an amazing deal online for a flight make sure you check out the baggage fees as things like this are often where budget airlines make their money.
6 – Vaccinations
I’m off to Africa in a few days and this trip is the first one where I’ve needed to get immunisations for it. I knew I would need them but didn’t realise just how much they cost. All but one of the injections I had cover me for life so it was an investment for future travel, but just be prepared that they aren’t cheap to get.
I’m lucky that the NHS covers the cost of some of my vaccinations including Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Tetanus. Rabies was my most expensive injection coming in at a whopping £175 – but my health is something I’m not willing to compromise on and although the Rabies injection doesn’t make you immune, it does buy you 24 hours after infection which could be critical.
7 – Visas
Always check if you need a visa before leaving for a holiday. Some places let you buy one at the airport, but not all countries let you do this so you need to be prepared. The visa won’t probably won’t be free so be prepared to factor this cost into your trip
8 – Tipping
In some countries not leaving a tip is considered extremely rude so make sure you look into the tipping culture before you arrive. As a rule of thumb I make sure I always leave at least 10% tip in all restaurants if I’ve enjoyed my meal and I always leave a few £’s for a taxi driver. This isn’t a necessity but for countries where tipping is part of the culture you need to make sure you have money aside to pay for this.
So that’s my list of costs you may overlook when working out your travel budget. We all have our own budgets and what may be a lot of money to some might be a drop in the ocean to others. I hope I’ve managed to help some of you save a few pennies at least …