Unfortunately…sometimes no matter how much planning and budgeting goes into your trip, you can end up with a not so pleasant “surprise” expense. Here are some fees you should factor into the budget—including some you may be able to avoid all together.

  • First, Baggage fees. There is a lot of variation when it comes to which airline charges whaht. You just need to find out what the weight & size limits are at the time of booking and factor that into your budget. These days charges can be for checked bags, excess luggage, and even carry-on bags. If you forget to check this before you book, don’t worry — you can always visit the airline’s website which will have a list of all baggage fees and allowances.
  • The next fee you may forget to factor into your trip is a Visa fee. Some countries require Canadians to obtain a visa before they can enter. Prices vary, anywhere between 25 to 300 dollars. If you aren’t sure whether or not you need a visa for the country you are visiting, consult your travel agent or visit travel.gc.ca and search for the country you’re visiting. 
  • Another unexpected expense can be departure taxes. Many countries charge one and if you look at the breakdown of some airline tickets this tax is often factored into the total price. Sometimes, however, this is not the case and you will be asked to pay the departure tax at the airport before returning to Canada. It’s usually anywhere from 25 to 40 dollars.
  • There are definitely some great deals to be had when cruising…and they can seem especially tempting when your meals are included in the price. But here’s the tricky part… even if you have prepaid for your trip, you will still get a bill before you reach the final port detailing the incidental charges you racked up. Cruise lines automatically bill cruisers between $12 and $18 in gratuities for each day of the cruise. One way around a surprise bill is to simply pay your gratuities in advance. Ask your travel agent about this option before you book.
  • I get asked about this next one a lot… resort fees. This added expense really annoys travelers because it’s usually charged for use of amenities you probably already thought were included like pool towels, in-room coffee and use of the gym.  Vegas and Hawaii are the biggest culprits when it comes to charging resort fees. These charges are non-negotiable, even if you aren’t planning on using the amenities that they include. So be sure to read the fine print and include them in your budget.

So there you have it, some fees you may have not included in that trip budget. And as I always recommend…buy travel insurance! That way a nasty medical bill won’t be included in these unexpected expenses.

Happy Travels!

The last thing I want to do is be the fun police, but there are certain rules – some official and some unspoken – that should be followed at the beach. To ensure maximum enjoyment for you and your fellow beach goers, be a good citizen with these things you should and shouldn’t do while soaking up the sun.

This first one is already prohibited here in Vancouver, but while away don’t smoke on the beaches. Not only can warm summer breezes blow secondhand smoke into the faces—and lungs—of your fellow beachgoers, but cigarette butts are harmful to the environment.

Don’t shake out your towel or blanket around others. What you are shaking off will likely fly into someone else’s face or onto their blanket.

Don’t feed the birds. Not only is trying to eat your beach snacks around relentless seagulls annoying, it’s not good for their health. Handouts of bread, fast food, and so forth can make them sick and lead to overcrowding in places that humans frequent, like beaches.

And this brings me to my next point, which really should be a given but don’t leave trash behind. Not all beaches come equipped with trash cans, so pack a plastic bag in your tote to dispose of trash and take it with you.

Now I’m sure you have a really amazing beach playlist, but unfortunately, you are not the beach’s DJ. So, put your speakers away and pull out your headphones. That way, everyone can enjoy their own tunes, beach reads, or just the gentle sound of crashing waves.

Don’t ignore local customs. As always when traveling, be respectful and observe local customs, including manners of dress and public behavior. Teeny bikinis and public displays of affection may be OK at home, but in some countries, it’s frowned upon.

Finally, don’t ignore warnings. Those signs warning of riptides, strong currents, and jellyfish are there for a reason…to keep you and your fellow beachgoers safe.

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