Snacks on a Plane! The Horror of Unexpected Travel Costs

Budgeting money while you travel be difficult. Not only because you’re on vacation so you want to let loose a little and forget about your budget; it’s also because traveling can include all sorts of hidden expenses that you didn’t plan for before you left home. For example, I knew the drinks in Las Vegas would be expensive (I paid $20 for ONE cosmopolitan at the Britney show), but I didn’t think twice about how much cash I would need for cabs. Here are a few “hidden” travel expenses to make sure you account for when making your travel plans:

1. Taxis –

One thing I learned in Las Vegas is that even if your destination is on the same street as your starting point, that DOES NOT mean you can walk. We took taxis to get almost everywhere in Vegas and they were a lot more expensive than the cabs back in good ol’ Portland, Maine. Plan to have cash on you for cabs, including a lot of smaller bills so you can split the cost with your travel buddies or tip the cabbie easily. Also, check out the public transportation situation before you get to your destination. A weekend subway pass may only cost $15, whereas a cab will cost $30 each time you ride. Riding the bus might mean saving enough cash for an extra drink or dessert!

2. Hotel/ Airport Parking –

 If you drove for part of your trip, where do you plan to leave your car? Keeping your car in long-term parking at the airport can be costly (as much as $50 a day in some places). It might be worth it to see if you can get a ride to the airport or take public transportation. Remember to factor in cost of parking when you’re comparing flights from different airports, as well.  When I went to Vegas, flights out of Boston were between $300 to $500 cheaper than flights out of Portland; this meant it was still cheaper to fly out of Boston even with the extra cost of parking and gas than it was to fly out of my hometown, but this might not always be the case.

If you’re driving to your destination, check with the hotel about parking before you get there. They may have limited parking spaces available or they might charge a fee. In either case, you’ll want to know in advance so you can budget accordingly.

 3. Snacks in the Airport/ on the Plane –

I am very guilty of buying snacks in the airport. Why is a Cinnabon bought after I’ve been through security always so much more appealing than that PB&J I packed in my carry-on? Calories consumed inside an airport don’t count, right? We all know anything you buy at the airport is super expensive ($4.50 for a bottle of water, anyone?) but you can combat those costs by planning ahead. Bring a few snacks in your bag that you know you’ll enjoy, but also allow yourself a treat here and there. For example, plan to treat yourself to one airport item traveling to your destination and one on the way back, then cut yourself off from any other impulse buys. That way you still get a treat but you don’t spend all of your vacation money before your flight boards. Also, bring a water bottle. Leave it empty to get through security and then fill up once you’re inside. As for the snacks they sell on the plane now, forget about it! They’re tiny, not very tasty, and a waste of your money. Whatever happened to the free peanuts, anyways?

The next time you’re traveling, I hope these tips help you stay on track. After all it’s YOU who should be letting loose and having a good time on vacation, not your wallet!

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