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Five Surprise Travel Expenses That Can Break a Budget

Young woman smiling as she walks down a South American city street because she's saving on travel expenses because she's paying no foreign transaction fees with her Sound credit card.

Even the most experienced traveler can run into unexpected expenses. To help you prepare for smooth travels, here are five common travel expense surprises to avoid.

Forgotten necessities

Whether it’s your contact lens case or your toothbrush, you’ll most likely find yourself needing to run out to pick up small but essential items you forgot to pack. To prevent spending souvenir money on sunscreen, use a packing list and check off items as they make it into your bag.

Getting around

Weather or accidents can delay even the best planned travel – one delay can throw off a whole itinerary. If you’re planning to use public transportation, budget extra funds in case you arrive after hours and have to take a taxi or ride share.

Eating out

When you planned your food budget, did you remember tips? Drinks? Allow extra for those unexpected outings and save a little by bringing snacks with you. Packing a few granola bars can help stretch your budget further.

Taxes and fees

The biggest surprise travel expenses are taxes and fees. Resort, hotel and car rental taxes and fees can add 20% or more to your quoted price. Abroad, taxes like Value-Added Taxes (VAT) and Goods and Services Tax (GST) can add even more. Call before you go and ask for the full price including all taxes and fees. For foreign travel, check with your destination’s embassy before you go to find out which taxes to expect and if you can request a refund for taxes paid and how to do it.

Credit card foreign transaction fees

Another surprise expense that often sneaks up once the holiday is over is credit card foreign transaction fees. Foreign transaction fees are surcharges many credit card issuers and payment networks add to transactions conducted abroad. This means you can incur these fees not only when traveling, but also when you purchase something from an international merchant. Usually around 3% of qualifying transactions, foreign transaction fees cover risks and costs associated with converting purchases into U.S. dollars.

Because Sound doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, you’ll automatically save money by using a Sound credit card. You can also take advantage of the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver benefit when you rent a car and pay for it with your Sound card.

The Sound Cash Back credit card also offers Visa Signature® benefits, including Travel Accident Insurance. See our Sound Credit Cards page for complete details.

Bonus tip: Let us know before you go

Remember to let your credit union know of your travel plans before you go. Call us at 800.562.8130 to make travel notes on your cards that let Visa know you may make purchases while away from home. Call to make sure we have your best contact number so we can reach you while you’re away. Use our mobile app and turn on or off the cards you don’t plan to use.

Bonus tip: Before you go, ask “Is it included?”

For many, Wi-Fi is a necessity of life, but Wi-Fi, breakfast or extra towels for the pool aren’t always included. When making reservations, ask which extras are included.

Surprise travel expenses don’t have to catch you off guard. With a little planning ahead and the right card in your wallet you can be ready for the unexpected and thoroughly enjoy your travels.

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