Summer vacation travel with the kids can be expensive enough without having to worry about unexpected expenses. Here are a few of the main ones to watch out for.

Baggage Check Fees

Most airlines charge for bags these days, so learn to pack light and make sure everyone has a carry on bag or backpack with all they will need.

Airport Fees

These can all add up and need to be budgeted for.

Transportation To-and-From the Airport

Taxis can cost a small fortune. When choosing a hotel, check its distance from the airport and from the amenities you wish to visit most. You might get a good rate on the hotel, but get zapped with travel costs back and forth.

A rental car might be more economical, but do a cost comparison. Check to see if the hotel you have chosen has a free courtesy bus. Also, check to see if a hotel near yours has a courtesy bus, which is likely in most big cities. In most cases, the drivers will be happy to let you on provided the shuttle isn’t in high demand.

ATM Fees

ATMs will charge you to use them, and your bank will charge you for using them. Plan ahead in terms of how much cash you will need. Use your credit/debit card for as many purchases as you can.

Credit Card Fees at Gas Stations

Gas stations these days have one price for cash and one for credit cards. At a difference of 10 cent per gallon or more, use cash.

Car Rental Insurance

In most cases, your credit card company that you book the reservation with will give you collision coverage automatically. You can also check with your insurance company to see if your coverage extends to rental cars.

Resort Fees and Taxes

These can be a hidden expense you get hit with on checkout.

Hotel Surcharges

Check your bill for various fees, including that seemingly free newspaper stuck under your door.

Meals Out

Eating out can really start to add up. Choose a hotel or motel with a kitchenette which includes a microwave and fridge. Get in milk and cereal for breakfast. Some hotels offer a free breakfast bar. A hearty breakfast should tide you over until lunch.

You can also usually make your own sandwiches from what’s available if you are not too obvious about it. Bring little plastic bags to carry the food with you.

Pet Boarding/Care

If you have pets, they will need to be looked after while you are away. This might mean boarding at a pet hotel or having someone come in to house sit, or them going to be boarded with a carer. Expect to pay from $50 to $100 per day per pet. Ask if there are multi-pet discounts.

Bottled Water

This can add up to a small fortune. Get everyone a stainless steel bottle to refill. If you don’t trust tap water, buy a large bottle of spring water when you get to your destination. You can also get water purification tablets.


Snacks like chips can be very costly when purchased one at a time. Head to a local supermarket to buy multi-bag snack packs.

Diapers and Swimmers

These can usually be bought in bulk through a warehouse club. Buying small packs is extremely expensive. Be sure to bring enough for the duration of your vacation so you don’t have to pay a fortune away from home.

Cruise Service Fees and Port Fees

These are not usually included in your package and need to be budgeted for.

Suntan Lotion/Beach Gear

Make sure you have sunglasses, sun block, flip flops and so on. It can be really expensive to buy these at your destination.

Mobile Phone Roaming Charges

Check your plan before you go and keep your calls and data usage down if you can.

Use these tips to save being hit by unexpected expenses when you’re on your summer vacation.