Avoid Unexpected Travel Costs

Your bags are packed, your hotels are booked and you’re ready to board your flight to a much-needed getaway.

You’ve also, hopefully, set aside a budget for this trip and outlined the costs, so you can travel in peace knowing you can afford it. But what happens if plans go awry and you have to stop into urgent care, and are later hit with a medical bill? Or what if you get to your gate and have to pay just to board?

Even the most careful of planners can be caught off guard by unexpected but necessary expenses while traveling. Here are some potentially unexpected travel costs to keep in mind as you plan for your next trip:

  • Medical costs—Check with your health insurance company that you are covered for out-of-state or out-of-country medical costs. If you aren’t, you may want to consider purchasing a travel medical insurance policy, especially if you plan to be exploring the great outdoors or doing something else that could result in injury. Your current provider might have one, but shop around; some companies offer them at very low prices. Additionally, some travel insurance plans cover medical expenses as well as things like stolen luggage, missed connections and even trip cancellations.
  • Device coverage—Are you planning to bring an expensive device like your laptop or camera? Check your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy for coverage of items brought with you on travel, or your device’s coverage plan. If you’re not covered, you may want to consider leaving the item at home, being extra careful with it or buying a travel insurance policy that will cover lost, stolen or damaged items.
  • Baggage and seat fees—Most airlines charge you to check a bag, but some charge even for carry-ons. Plus, some airlines will charge you not only for your ticket, but for your seat selection. Familiarize yourself with an airline’s fees before you buy, and factor them into the total price of the ticket.
  • Clothing—Maybe you didn’t expect to need jeans at the Grand Canyon or shorts in Winnipeg. Check the weather a few days before your trip to make sure you’re packed with appropriate clothes so you can avoid having to waste money on items you already have at home.

And for those of you planning to travel internationally, here are some costs to plan for:

  • Entry and departure fees—Some countries will charge you an entry or departure fee when you arrive or leave by plane. These fees may be included in the price of your ticket, but they aren’t always, so do a quick internet search ahead of time to see if the country or foreign airport you’re visiting will charge this fee and what methods of payment are allowed.
  • Cell phone data – Check your cell phone provider’s coverage in the place you plan to visit. If you think you’ll need to use data, you may want to purchase a travel plan. These tend to be inexpensive and are on a per-day-used basis.
  • Foreign transaction fees – Some financial institutions charge a fee to process foreign purchases. This fee tends to be in the 1-3% range. If you have a debit or credit card from TruStone Financial, you’re in luck; we don’t charge foreign transaction fees on any of our cards.
  • Traffic tickets—Avoid traffic infraction fines by ensuring you are legally allowed to drive in the country you’re visiting. You can do this by checking with the embassy of the country you plan to visit. If you can’t drive there with a US license, consider getting an International Driving Permit.

These costs are some of the ones you should prepare for or avoid when you’re making your next travel plans. Even with all of your bases covered, though, it’s a good idea to have some wiggle room in your travel budget. Reserve some money for unexpected costs, and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your trip.

Lastly, make sure to contact us ahead of time when you’re going on a trip so we know your out-of-area purchases are legitimate. And in the event that your card is lost or stolen, call our Contact Center. Outside of business hours, you will be redirected to a different customer service line that can help you.

Editor’s note: Parts of this article were sourced from MoneyUnder30, How Stuff Works and CreditKarma.