Unexpected travel costs

Don't get caught out by these hidden travel costs.

You've planned and saved for your dream international trip. The flights, accommodation and activities are paid for so you’re all set, right? Wrong.

Any traveller will tell you there are expenses you may not have accounted for which, overtime, can derail the best-planned budget.

Ensure you factor in these unexpected travel costs before your next journey.

Food and drinks

Most travellers plan a daily budget for food, but things can change in an instant while travelling. Depending on your destination, food choices can be limited and you may be forced to pay higher prices.

In Australia, we're used to creature comforts such as tap water in restaurants. Most restaurants across Europe don't offer this service and you will need to purchase bottled water. It may not sound like much, but if you're eating out for two to three meals a day, every day of your trip, it can add up.


Tipping is customary in many destinations across the globe, including the United States and some parts of the United Kingdom and Europe. As a rule of thumb, you should leave 15-20% of your total bill as a tip for waiters at sit-down restaurants, bartenders, hairdressers, taxi drivers and tour guides. 

Paying for a bathroom

Another thing we can take for granted living in Australia is free public toilets. In some countries you will be required to pay before you can access a restroom. The cost is generally small, so make sure your budget permits a healthy supply of spare change.

Tourist taxes

You're likely to encounter variations of tourist taxes as you travel. Across Europe, these are generally called city taxes and require you to pay a fee to the hotel based on a percentage of your total bill or the number of nights stayed. In countries like Japan they charge a 'sayonara tax', a 1000-yen fee paid by tourists as they leave the country.

Exchange rate fees and ATM fees

Compare exchange rates before changing any currencies and avoid exchanging money at the airport as it generally is more expensive.

Don't pay for items on a credit or travel card in Australian currency as the Dynamic Currency Conversion will be more costly than the local currency.

International ATMs can also charge high fees to access your funds be mindful of the extra charges each time you withdraw money.

For more information on currency exchange rates and fees, click here.

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice and does not take into account any person’s particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives, financial situations and needs.