Travel Tip: Budgeting for invisible and unexpected costs



Sanibel Walk-In Clinic (credit:

Sanibel Walk-In Clinic (credit:

Florida Vacation Guide: When planning your budget remember the incidentals and invisible expenses

While there are many ways to find some savings for your family vacation to Florida (or anywhere else for that matter), vacationing is no cheap business.

As you make your lists of expenses that you’re likely to incur along the way (gas, food, checked luggage, etc.), there are a few costs you might forget about factoring in. We’re going to add some of our best examples here. If you have more to add to the list, please leave a comment and we’ll see what we can come up with together!

Parking and Tolls

Depending on where you’re going, you may need lots of cash for road tolls and/or parking. Again, do your research to see just how much you might need to park at your accommodations or attractions, and to see what sort of tolls you might encounter so that you’ll have enough cash in the car to get you through.


Valet parking, housekeeping, bell service…there are more people to tip on your travels than just the food and beverage servers. And tips can add up! It’s not something many of us keep in mind when we’re budgeting, either. So if costs are a concern, plan to eat more meals on the beach or in the parks than you do in restaurants. And if you can manage your own luggage without having someone help then perhaps you should do so!


If you’re coming from a place with fresh, tasty tap water to go to a place where you can only drink water that comes from a bottle, remember that you’re going to need to factor in costs for fresh drinking water. Depending on the size of your family and the kind of climate you’re going to, you may need to spend a significant amount of money on just water.

Medical Insurance

You can’t travel to a different country without having insurance in place. This can be pricey, but depending on where you’re going, you most likely need to have coverage. Keep in mind that if you do get sick while you’re traveling and you need to visit a doctor or clinic, depending on their billing policy you may need to pay cash or charge to a credit card when you receive services and put in a claim later to your insurance company. That means you need to have some sort of savings on hand in case the worst should happen! Do a bit of research before you go to see what you might be looking at in the event of a doctor’s visit.

Rental Car Insurance

If you’re renting a car for your vacation you will need to have insurance on that as well. You will either have to take out a policy with the rental agency which usually costs a certain amount per day, use your own existing car insurance policy, or if your credit card carries insurance that will cover your rental car that will do. But whatever way you go about it, you will have to factor in that cost for insurance and if you go through the rental agency, it could end up costing as much or more than the rental itself, depending on how long you’ll be needing the car.

Tell us…

Do you have other examples of costly items that most travelers don’t think of accounting for? Please share by leaving a comment.