Five Hidden Costs To Help You Budget Better for Travel

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in Planning | 3 comments

Summary: These are five costs people often forget about when they budget for their trips—so if you’re one of those people, here is a good reminder

These are five costs people often forget about when they budget for their trips—so if you’re one of those people, here is a good reminder:


Laundry is an expense you can’t avoid while traveling. Still, you have different options ranging from the very expensive to the cheaper and more affordable. Doing your laundry in the hotel can be very expensive, but not always—it depends on the country and the city you’re staying in. The best thing to do is to check and compare prices.

Laundry in Kuching Malaysia

In expensive countries—and if you’re on budget—you should avoid dry cleaning services and save your money by using the public machines. This is the cheapest way to get your laundry done without spending too much and with less hassle. The other good thing is that you can easily socialize with locals while you’re waiting for your laundry.

In other countries you will find plenty of small laundry businesses that will clean your clothes. Some of them charge per kilo, others per piece—you’ll have to check what is cheapest and matches your needs. The pricing per piece is not necessarily more expensive.

ATM Withdraw Fees

Using the ATM is the easiest way to get cash, but it can also be a source of expenditure so you should try to reduce the use of your ATM cards. This means that in order to avoid being charged at each transaction it is better to withdraw bigger amounts of money at one time. You can sometimes withdraw at a cashier inside the bank to get a bigger amount than the amount allowed by the ATM.

ATM in Chicago

You could also use a no fee credit card (you have to check the options with your bank before traveling).

Use cash as much as possible and hide it in your wallet belt/shoulder pouch, or close your luggage using your Pacsafe metal net. You can also use your credit cards for daily purchasing of goods and groceries.

Local Transfer

While calculating your budget these are the kind of expenses that one usually forgets. Transfers are a difficult expense to calculate because you don’t know in advance what kind of transportation you will use and how often. Still, there are some forms of transportation you should avoid in order to save money.

Public bus in Cochabamba Bolivia

Taxis are expensive.

Almost anywhere you go, taking a taxi is expensive. We usually only use taxis on our way to or from airports and train or bus stations, when we want to avoid carrying our bags.

Public transport (e.g. buses) are much cheaper.

Choosing your hotel properly is very important, or you might end up paying for a taxi every time you want to go for a drink.

Extra Weight

Extra weight is something you won’t be happy to pay for. Pack right—cheap flight tickets are cheap for a reason, and they will charge you for everything.

It is sometimes just a matter of distribution between your bags—you don’t always have to give up things to avoid paying extra charges.

Our bags


Since we track all our travel expenses, snacks make up a good portion of our budget. Sometimes snacking is more expensive than a decent meal in a restaurant.

Instead of taking your coffee at Starbucks, grab a kettle and thermos and make your own and drink it in a public garden—or go to the local coffee shop.

Our favourite snack in Thailand

You can also wander through any shopping mall or five-star hotel for a free air-con while drinking the Coke you bought from the nearby grocery store.

What did we miss?


  1. Great tips! ATM Withdraw Fees are a bugger. After living in Bolivia for 5 months it was quite a shock to see that withdrawing money from the bank in Argentina and Chile was as expensive as it was to buy dinner in Bolivia!
    Brigid recently posted…La Sombrerería Cultural CenterMy Profile

    • Hi Brigid,

      Thanks for your comment. Indeed Argentina and Chile are expensive, we didn’t visit those countries but heard a lot about living cost there. I would say that quite almost everything is a shock after tasting the Bolivian living cost! We really loved Bolivia, you’re lucky you spent five months there!

  2. Great tips! I always seem to not account for local transfers and sightseeing entrance fees, and get rude surprises as I realize it’s time to remake my budget again! Gotta keep your advice in mind.

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