Planning that trip of a lifetime can be expensive enough without having to contend with all the sneaky extra costs along the way – and there are many to watch out for from the minute you start browsing flights and a place to stay to the second you’re headed home again. Everything from your airline company and hotel to the activities you have planned for the week have hidden fees lurking in the fine print, but the key to dealing with them head-on is to prepare, prepare and prepare some more.

Many hidden travel expenses wait to trip us up. Most airlines and hotel chains like to squeeze money out of customers at every opportunity and for the sake of convenience, some of us give in and watch our travel funds slowly disappear. As long as you have savvy planning and a strict budget on your side though, most of these sneaky travel fees are easily dodged – so you can put a little extra towards amazing days out or that souvenir you just can’t pass up!).

Unfortunately, there are some travel fees that can’t be avoided completely, but you can at least learn how to budget for them in advance; paying a departure tax or using our phones abroad, are things we all need to do while traveling, but at the end of the day, it’s up to us to know how much we might end up overpaying for them. Here are 20 hidden fees all travelers should know about (and how to avoid them).

20 Clear Your Cookies Before Booking Your Trip

When you’re in the planning and research phase of your trip, you may have noticed something strange about the price of your chosen flights or accommodation – they start to hike up. How can this be? Surely you’re imagining it in all the excitement of planning your beach getaway? Sadly not.

If you’re revisiting the same websites again and again, the site is tracking your interest in the product (in this case a specific flight or hotel) and it’s gradually increasing the price.

To ensure you’re not splurging extra on a flight that your fellow passengers paid the standard amount for, always go to your web settings and clear cookies before shopping around for flights or accommodations, and do your initial research in a private browsing window.

19 The Sneaky Entry And Departure Taxes

For those who have only ever flown on domestic flights, you might not be aware of entry and departure fees. These are basically the taxes payable for coming in and out of certain countries and since this tax is normally included in the price of our airline ticket, it’s often something that goes unnoticed.

However, certain countries such as Hong Kong, Costa Rica, and Cambodia charge a departure fee separately from the airline fare which must be paid at the airport. Departure taxes also apply whether or not the country is your final destination, so if you have many legs to your journey, be sure to make budget allowances for each tax (if applicable).

18 Exchanging Your Currency (And Spending Money Abroad)

Accessing your money while traveling isn’t as simple as using your bank card in an ATM (unless you plan to pay extra fees of $5-$10 each time you withdraw!). Using your money on your travels can incur many hidden costs, so it’s crucial to research this beforehand. Find out about ATM or credit card transaction charges overseas (if any) to try and avoid this. Relying on your credit or debit card will mean running into fees at some point during your trip.

Opt instead for using a prepaid overseas card for your destination and take plenty of the local currency with you.

Exchange rates can swing depending on where you go, so shop around for the best deals (bank rates are usually far cheaper than in shops).

17 The Price Of Getting To And From The Airport

Unless you’re lucky enough to get a lift from a friend once you land, getting to and from the airport when traveling can cost you big time – particularly since a jet-lagged mindset will convince you that any option is the best option, so long as it gets you to your hotel pronto.

In between taxis, train rides or airport shuttle buses, you’ll be looking at an average of $15-$20 each way for your out and return journeys, so rather than letting your tired and travel-weary mind decide for you, consider what your best transport options are when booking. Find out if there are any deals on Uber or train fares in line with your travel times or if your airport’s shuttle bus runs a discount on certain days – it could make all the difference.

16 Picking Out Your Airline Seats

Unless you’re traveling alone, if flying alongside our traveling companion is important to you, you need to make this a priority. Sitting in an airline seat of your preference requires early planning, otherwise, you could be paying nearly half the price of your airfare just to reserve a specific seat!

A lot of airlines will allow passengers to make their seat selection from a seat map in advance when booking the actual flights. Some budget carriers, however, can make you wait until 24 hours before you are due to board and the later you choose your seats, the emptier you can expect your pockets to be. If seating preference is important to you, you don’t want to leave this until the last minute.

15 Be Wary Of Overseas Phone Charges

Even if you’re the kind of traveler who’ll mainly be using their phone to take fun holiday selfies or to scout out restaurants on Google Maps, chances are you’ll also be needing your phone for making the occasional call or text (and even the tiniest of texts can add up to an eye-watering amount).

Avoid the pricey pitfalls of calls and data roaming charges when you’re abroad by getting a global SIM card beforehand.

These will let you use your phone as normal without charging you an arm and a leg. Alternatively, look into getting a traveling data pass or bundle on your phone network and shop around for a deal that best suits your vacay needs.

14 Consider Tours & Activity Costs

If you’re a fan of guided tours on holiday or filling your days with as many attractions and activities as possible, just remember that the costs won’t stop at the price of the activity itself. In order to avoid paying through the nose on each day out, make sure you budget well for the transportation, food and other expenses throughout the day.

If you’re booked to go on a whale watching cruise, for example, make sure you’re not stuck adding the over-priced onboard refreshments to your bill and if you’re all set for a hiking adventure, plan ahead for each item you’ll need as rental gear costs can quickly add up.

13 Be Savvy About Tipping While Abroad

There are few things more uncomfortable when traveling than committing a faux pas in another country, particularly if there's a chance it might cause offense and the issue of tipping can be the most common form of overseas blunders for travelers.

Depending on where you travel to, leaving a tip for a service can mean a polite gesture or the most insulting thing you can do!

To avoid this mishap (and maybe even save money in the process) research your destination’s tipping etiquette in advance. Remember that tips don’t always only apply to restaurant staff – some countries may also expect tips for baggage handlers, taxi drivers and hotel maids etc, so be on your tipping etiquette game.

12 Room Service Is Rarely Worth It

Unless money isn’t much of an issue for you when traveling, few people are willing to blow bits of their travel funds on having a bottle of fizz and a three-course meal sent up to their hotel suite. Experiencing the local fare in a restaurant is a much more authentic (and affordable) way to dine while abroad.

This goes for using the minibars, too. Buying snacks and drinks from the local store will ensure you’re not tempted by ones marked up for double the price. And even if you are tempted but change your mind, it could already be too late. Some hotel minibars are fitted with sensors, so even opening the fridge door can get you charged (also a good tip to know if you’re traveling with curious kids!).

11 No Two Loyalty Programs Carry The Same Perks

Don’t get us wrong – signing up to an airline or hotel’s loyalty scheme can be a good way to invite a few extra perks to your holiday, but it should be known that having your name on a hotel membership card won’t necessarily mean you save money on the same services and amenities

Things like a free upgrade on your flight, for instance, aren’t always a guarantee within every loyalty card and most of the time, certain loyalty programs may only benefit the traveler on a first-time basis

by way of offering sign-up bonuses or discounts on hotel stays. Before being lured in by the new customer bonus, consider whether the membership fee will benefit you in the long-run.

10 Avoid Extra Baggage (In More Ways Than One)

You may have trundled into the airport with only one piece of luggage, but if it happens to fall foul of your airline’s specific size or weight dimensions, then this ‘extra’ amount is going to be charged to you as if it were 2 bags. Extra baggage in every sense of the word.

To make sure you’re not stung with an extra baggage fee at the airport, invest in a luggage scale to make sure you’re within the weight limits and if you must pack extra, then be sure to do your research about how much those extra heavy souvenirs might cost you.

9 Stock Up On Home-Bought Sunscreen

Typically, one standard sized bottle of sunscreen will suffice if you’re traveling as a couple to a romantic getaway in the sun. If you’re traveling with a family of 5 for a two-week beach vacation, however, you may want to rethink how much sunscreen you need to pack.

When you’re covering your kids and yourselves in several applications of sun lotion a day for every little dip in the pool, it can run out pretty fast, and the last place to buy your replacement bottles are at your holiday resort. Since different family members might require different factors/strengths of protection, you may need to pack even more than you anticipate you’ll need. Better to be safe (and frugal) than sorry and broke!

8 Renting A Car? Don’t Forget About Insurance

Once you’re in holiday planning mode, it’s easy to forget that things like car insurance will still apply to your rental while abroad, not to mention many more hidden fees that can go unchecked during the car rental process.

If your holiday destination legally requires you to buy car insurance, you might be able to save some money by scouring some online deals. Certain car rental loyalty programs offer international car insurance as a perk, so this could be worth signing up for. You should also try and budget for the parking fees you’ll encounter abroad while in your rental.

7 Don’t Get Tripped Up By Hidden Wi-Fi Charges

Since data roaming charges can be sky-high while abroad, the sight of a Wi-fi symbol in hotels and restaurants can make travelers giddy with the prospect of free internet access. Often though, this is only a temporary complimentary offer lasting no more than an hour at most. After that, you could be paying the price of a beach bar mimosa just to send one snapchat.

While most hotel resorts and public places will offer free wi-fi, the connection isn’t always reliable, so even if it does last longer than a day, it may not be worth the trouble to get it. Save money by taking a Pocket Wi-Fi with you – this is basically like carrying around your own personal router with you to stay connected anywhere.

6 Don’t Get Caught Short At The Toll Gate

In all the excitement that comes with planning an awesome road trip with friends or family, it can be easy to overlook all the little extras that come with it – one of which is how often you’re going to be passing through a toll gate on your journey. If you know your journey well enough, you’ll know that certain routes may be able to evade toll gates. If not, it’s a good idea to take at least $40-$50 with you before hitting the road.

If you’re driving a rental car, toll fees are often paid for by the rental car company if the windshield has a “to go” pass sticker.

Otherwise, it’s a good idea to research their individual policy on toll fares in case you’re not caught empty-handed.

5 Don’t Assume Everything Is Complimentary

If it looks like a hotel amenity waiting to be used, beware and hold off because certain items might not be complimentary in the same way that the bathroom soap is. The hotel minibar is an obvious no-no, but in certain hotels even making yourself a cup of coffee in your room can appear on your bill the next day.

While this might be rare for the majority of hotel chains out there, surprise in-room charges are becoming more and more of a thing compared with all-inclusive accommodation fees of the past.

For obvious reasons, these extra room charges aren't always advertised in plain sight, so it’s well worth finding out all you can about your stay before booking.

4 Don’t Rely On Airport Shops For Essentials

We’re pretty sure that no traveler has ever packed a clothes-only suitcase with no toiletries or necessities insight before catching a plane, but you’d be surprised by how many less-than-savvy travelers still buy everything from their sunscreen and swimwear to holiday books at the airport stores.

Considering that most airports charge the price of a restaurant meal for a small tube of toothpaste, it’s madness to leave even more than one essential purchase to the last minute. There’s no reason you can’t buy everything you need for your holiday back home and if you forget something or need an emergency item, that’s where they come in.

3 Consider All Possible Road Trip Expenses

If you’re swapping out airlines for cruising along Route 66 or having a similar adventure, you’ll still need to think carefully about your travel budget. Taking a road trip may not have all the complications of navigating through an airport, but if you don't make similar preparations in advance, you might find your travel funds draining pretty quickly.

Unlike air travel, you’re solely responsible for your vessel and need to budget accordingly for everything from gas and pit stops to the costs of getting your car into shape before the trip. And in case of emergency repairs, you’ll want to keep an emergency fund (and emergency food) for a breakdown – especially if you’re with young kids!

2 Last-Minute Airline Meal VS Home-made Snacks

Unless meals happen to be included in the price of your flight, then for reasons of taste and cost, you might want to reconsider airline food. The quality of your in-flight meal may change depending on which airline or class of cabin you fly in, but in most cases, it might be better to bring along some homemade snacks instead.

Since some flight attendants get a commission from certain snacks and drinks ordered on the plane, the price of a simple sandwich and soft drink can be marked up at a ridiculous price on the day compared with the pre-booked online price. To ensure you don’t fly hungry and get tempted, pack a sandwich that won’t spoil like peanut butter or take along some fruit.

1 Overprepare (Don’t Overpay) When Traveling With Kids

Raising kids is a costly enterprise, but traveling with them can be extortionate if you venture unprepared! Don’t let what should be a week of making great memories together turn into paying anti-boredom ransoms for the entire time. You can never pack too much when it comes to keeping the peace on family holidays (or keeping your wallet relatively healthy).

Bringing plenty of snacks, toys, and activity packs will save you a small fortune while traveling to your destination and picking a resort with lots of child-friendly features such as pools, water parks or free clubs (even better if these include free meals!) will definitely help.