Unexpected travel costs: How to stay on budget

Unexpected travel costs can put a dent in your vacation budget.

The thrill of finding a great hotel deal can turn sour if you get hit with extra fees. Case in point, the mandatory resort fee. Close to 750 hotels in the U.S. now charge this fixed rate.

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“It’s for what people expect. For the use of the gym, internet, the pool towels and you can’t get out of it,” says Claire Newell of Travel Best Bets. “If you’re booking a hotel room, ask if there is a resort fee, how much is it going to be and how it’s payable because usually it’s added on at the end of your stay.”

You may also want to think twice about ordering room service.

“Not only is the cost of the actual meal on your menu, but you also have to pay a mandatory tip, which is in the neighbourhood of around 20 per cent, and then the take-away tray fee which can be up to $25 on some menus,” says Newell.

If you have to rent a car, avoid the convenience of picking up the vehicle at the hotel or airport because it can be double the price.

What are the cheapest places for Canadians to fly? (Hint: not in Canada)

If you plan on eating on your flight, order online before takeoff.

“It’s cheaper to plan ahead for anything that’s four hours or less where you have to buy your meals onboard,” says Newell.

Depending on where you travel, you may have to pay an entry or departure fee, which is sometimes included in the price of the airfare.

“I would definitely check the Government of Canada website because they will have all that information on there. Be prepared,” says travel writer Joanne Sasvari.

She also cautions to watch your weight limit for baggage.

“If you are looking at a discount airline like Ryanair, their restrictions are quite different than a major international airline like Air Canada. So if you are paying for a cheap flight, chances are you are going to pay for it along the way.”

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