Last night, this topic came to me in a dream. During a vacation I met this couple at the airport and they were telling me about the luggage fees they paid the airlines and how it was so high. When I woke up, it got me to thinking about all of the fees we encounter when traveling maybe are unexpected. Knowing to expect these would be helpful.
These are just a few of the fees that you might encounter above and beyond the plane ticket, hotel reservation or cruise rate.
Baggage fees can add up and every airline charges for them except Southwest Airlines. Most airlines are pretty generous in allowing you to bring a carry on and a personal item and if you are a savvy traveler, you can get away with just that. But when you are going on vacation, you are often going to check luggage and that is where the fees come in.
They can run $25-$50 per bag and over weight fees can be up to $75.
For whatever reason, we are always hungry when we get to the airport so we make our way to the Chilis Too or the McDonalds and grab some food. Be aware, pricing at the airport can be considerably higher than in the regular world since you are a captive audience.
Hotels and Resorts
Hotel and Resort Fees
On top of your rate for the stay, you might have some additional fees called resort fees. Typically you are going to see this in tourist areas like a city center or at beach destination but not at the Best Western off the interstate. These will usually cover the use of some facilities or amenities and are usualy nominal. I have seen that as low as $2 a day to 5$50 A day just depending on the hotel and destination.
If you are driving to your destination or rented a car upon arrival, you will likely need to park that car. You will see in tourist areas hotels will charge for parking and it can be quite pricey up to $50 per day. You might see self parking, valet parking or both. If they do offer valet as an option or the only option, ask if it has in and out privileges.
At times, the parking cost can be a reason to fly instead of driving. I had family going to DC and since they really did not need a car, flying was a better option since it was cheaper than parking a car.
Recently Celebrity Cruise Lines introduced All Included Pricing wrapping some of the expenses of a cruise into one price like drinks, wifi and gratuities. Maybe other cruise lines will follow suite but not as of yet.
The cruise lines have packages where you can purchase providing you access to the wifi network on board. Now this can vary by cruise line the pricing is based on the number of minutes, amount of use or type of use. You can often purchase these packages ahead of the cruise but keep in mind, its not required to use the cruise lines phone app.
Depending on what and how much you drink, this can add up. All the cruise lines offer drink packages that allow you to drink as you want with of course some limitations. The benefit of this depends on you. If you. You basicly need to do the math and determine if the drink package price is more than what you will drink. But, I can say, buying the package a head of time, allows you to plan for your expenses.
Most cruise ships now have two of more specialty restaurants on board. These range from Italian to Teppanyaki to simply Al a carte dining. You could pay $15 - $60 Per Person for lunch or dinner at one of the specialty restaurants.
This is also something you can pay for a head of time either by booking and paying prior to your cruise or purchasing a dining package. Royal Caribbean and NCL currently offer dining packages hat include a certain number of restaurants.
These can vary by destination and activity. These can be city tours, food tours, beach days, snorkeling or something more adventurous. The pricing in the Caribbean is pretty reasonable ranging from $50 to $200 per person of course the higher end being limited. Destinations like Alaska and Europe tend to me more pricey and often not required but makes for a much better visit.
Often you can save money by purchasing a 3rd party excurions, just make sure you get back to the ship. And going out on your own is almost always a choice and can be a less expensive option depending on what you are doing.
Now due to regulations because of COVID, there is talk about a requirement where if you want to get off the ship in a port, you will need to purchase a cruise line sponsored excursion. But this has not been finalized or made official.
This of course is up to you. Do you want to by some tchotchke type gear or are you buying jewelry and art. One tip on this is if you want to purchase some jewlry or even some liquor, check the pricing at home before leaving. The deal may or may not be a deal.
There is usually lots of shopping on board the ship and in the port.
Gratuities are just part of the deal when you cruise. These go to the dining staff, cabin stewards and others who make your cruise experience. They can range from $13 to $17 Per Guest Per Day depending on the cruise line and type of stateroom you are in.
You can pay this 3 different ways. Prior to your cruise you can lump it in with the price of the cruise. If not, they will just add them to your on board account and you can leave it as is. Some will go old school and pay cash in the envelopes and just have them removed off your account.
Your expenses on a cruise are really dependent on your desired experience. If you want to disconnect completely, then wifi is not something you need to worry about. If you drink, then a package might be a good idea. There is always food available that is included in your cruise price but if you want that special meal, this might be an expense you take on. You could walk on that ship and not spend a dime if you don't want to.
If your goal is to save money, one is finding a hotel or package that includes breakfast. If not, while usually really good, the breakfast at a hotel can be pretty expensive. Find a local diner or place close by.
Often we are flying in and we need transportation around town. Check the hotel, they may include transportation to and from the airport as well as local attractions.
These are all cost you can expect when traveling but knowing this ahead of time can help your enjoyment of your vacation. Also keep in mind, a lot of these cost can be wrapped up in a package and can save you a great deal.
I have a passion for travel and believe travel is about experiences. Experiences create memories and are the stories we tell to friends and family - even with a little fudging on the facts.