Even the savviest of travelers overlook an expense or two when making vacation plans. Read our guide “Planning a Trip: How to Choose Where to Stay” to start planning your trip and then keep these easily overlooked transportation costs in mind to help stay on budget while traveling.
The cost of keeping your vehicle at the terminal can be pricey, especially if you plan to take a lengthy vacation. For example, parking at one of the terminals at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston costs $17 per day. Look for on-site economy lots and off-site parking providers, including nearby hotels, to save more than 75 percent off that daily rate of airport parking.
Fees vary by airline and route — whether flying domestically or internationally — but expect to pay for even your first checked bag unless you have a credit card associated with the airline or plan to fly one of the few airlines that do not yet charge; Jet Blue and Southwest are two holdouts. Also, keep the weight of your bag under 50 pounds or get hit with an overweight-bag fee by most airlines. Simply plan to do laundry at the hotel instead of packing enough for each day.
Even in the most pedestrian-friendly cities, you won’t be able to walk everywhere, despite your plans to do exactly that. For example, what may only be a 10-minute walk back to your hotel in Manhattan or Rome might not be the safest option late at night. As part of your travel planning, research public transportation and taxi fares in your destination city, then budget accordingly. And keep in mind that you likely will walk less toward the end of your trip, as feet aching from sightseeing will need to take a break.
Rental Car Facility Fees
If you plan to rent a car while on vacation, ask for a listing of all fees associated with the rental when you make the reservation, including the facility fee that rental car companies must pay to cover doing business at an airport. If you can, rent off-site instead to avoid this fee, which can tack an additional 10 percent onto your bill. Also, be sure to inquire at your hotel or rental property as to whether or not a parking fee will be charged.
Data Roaming Fees
While not a traditional transportation cost, if you use your cell phone to navigate the streets while you vacation internationally, talk to your provider before you leave. Many offer month-long international plans that give you a block of minutes, texts and megabytes at a fraction of what they would cost were you to roam without notice.