Search Holidays

Hidden holiday costs to be aware of before jetting away

Hidden holiday costs to be aware of before jetting away

When going on holiday, it’s worth taking into account the extra costs that may pop up and dent your budget in the process. Since they’re often hidden charges and not the type of things that normally spring to mind among the excitement of jetting away, we want to bring them to your attention so that you can add them to your pre-holiday checklist and plan your pennies accordingly. So, here’s the hidden charges to be prepared for and our top tips on how to avoid them…

Paying with debit or credit cards

In the UK we’re now used to buying things with a simple tap of our contactless debit and credit cards but you might want to think twice about doing that when holidaying. Card fees are one of the most unexpected costs that sting us when we’re busy being carefree and sunning ourselves on holiday. In fact, a survey carried out earlier this year by Populus revealed that these fees were top of the list when it comes to family holiday rip offs abroad. The amount that you’re charged depends on your card provider so make sure you check their foreign purchase fee before pulling out your card!

Top Tip – Always pay in the local currency as opposed to pounds/ euros when paying via card in restaurants or shops etc. abroad as it gets you a better rate.

Cash withdrawal charges

If you’d rather wait until you’ve touched down in your holiday destination to get the local currency rather than exchanging your British pounds beforehand, then you may want to be aware of the charges that come with overseas cash withdrawals. Wondering how much you will be charged when using your card abroad? It totally depends on your card type and provider but will usually be a fee of around 2.5% of the amount withdrawn so we’d suggest taking out a lump sum to last you, instead of making a number of small withdrawals.

Top Tip –  Since we’re fortunate enough to have banks that are super safe and secure, it’s worth letting them know that you’re going to be using your card abroad so that they don’t block any withdrawals due to suspicious behaviour.

Attraction fees

Waterpark? Check. Zoo? Check. Theme park? Check. You’ve promised the little ones a visit to all three on your next summer holiday but have you taken into consideration the entrance fees? It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of all things rides, slides and splashes but upon arrival those feelings can easily disappear when you’re stung with on-the-day entrance fees that are a little more than anticipated. The good news is, many hotels offer discounts to nearby attractions, plus there’s usually family and group ticket options available to help keep the costs down.

Top Tip – Try one of the brilliant SplashWorld hotels where you’ll be given free, unlimited access to either a waterpark onsite or nearby!

Restaurant service charges

Service charges are very common throughout most of Europe, so much so they’re usually built into the bill. So when you get the cheque at the end of the night and it’s a little higher than you expected, the chances are if you have a closer look it will have a service charge added on. Of course, if you’re pleased with the service and your meal you’re welcome to leave a tip on top of this but the choice is totally yours. If there isn’t a service charge already added to your bill, you may be expected to tip but this can depend on the destination.

Top Tip – Check out our currency and price guides in our Hype blog to find out where and what you’re expected to tip in our holiday spots.

Beach extras

It’s all good and well having a beach on the doorstep of your hotel but more often than not, places can charge extra to use their sunbeds and parasols. While the cost won’t exactly break the bank, it’s worth setting some money aside for this. That’s if you don’t want to stretch out on your towel on the sands, which is a perfectly good, free option! Speaking of towels, if you can’t quite fit your beach towel into your suitcase among your new holiday wardrobe, don’t worry as you can usually hire them from your hotel. Again, there will be a little cost for this but it usually involves leaving a deposit down which you will receive at the end of your stay, so make sure you hand them back in before checking out!

Top Tip – Keep a copy of your deposit receipt when renting towels which can sometimes be requested as proof when handing them back in at the end of your stay to get your deposit money back.

Departure tax

As if your holiday coming to an end wasn’t upsetting enough, you may have heard that when you leave certain destinations you’re required to pay a departure tax. While unfortunately this is true, the good news is TUI and First Choice holidays include this cost within your holiday package. So there’s no need to set money aside if you’re jetting off to Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Aruba, the Dominican Republic, Barbados or Goa.

Top Tip – We always recommend checking with your tour operator when booking your holiday as inclusions are subject to change and not all operators include this cost.

Tourist tax

Ever wondered how holiday hotspots maintain their beauty? You may have unknowingly played a part in it, or are just about to, in the form of Tourist Tax. This is a small fee that’s charged to holidaymakers in a number of destinations as a way of generating money to use to protect the landscape and counteract any damage caused by tourism. Don’t worry, it’s not something that you have to arrange to pay separately, your hotel will usually take the payment as you check-in – it’s as simple as that! Anybody over the age of 16 will be expected to pay this tax too.

Top Tip – Check online before travelling to find out if and how much your holiday destination charges for Tourist Tax so that you can budget accordingly.

Overnight stay tax

If you’re off on holiday to Greece, note that there’s an Overnight Stay Tax that you’ll need to pay. This is required from all guests staying in any type of accommodation in Greece and is often between €0.50 and €4.00 per night. The amount does vary depending on the official rating of your accommodation.

Top Tip – You only need to factor in the charge per room per night, not per person.

Airport security tax

To cover costs for border security, prevention and safety, the African hotspot, Cape Verde charges a small Airport Security Tax. The amount equals approximately €31 and can be paid either prior to your arrival on the Cape Verde authorities website – EASE or at the airport.

Top Tip – If you’ve booked a package deal with TUI or First Choice this tax will be covered in the price of your holiday.

Board basis extra costs

Sometimes that All Inclusive holiday you’ve booked doesn’t quite cover everything that you had in mind. By that we mean those preferred premium spirits, endless visits to the a la carte restaurants and daily spa treatments – while some five-star luxury resorts do include these kind of perks as part of your package, expect to pay extra for them at the majority. Other things that may come at an additional cost include waterpark entry, water sports and certain activities available at the hotel.

Top Tip – Always double check with your tour operator what your All Inclusive package includes before booking your getaway so that you know exactly what is included and which leisurely activities you need to set some pennies aside for!

Data roaming charges

We’ve probably all heard of the phrase ‘Roam Like at Home’ when it comes to using our mobiles abroad at no extra cost, but you may want to be careful when venturing outside of the EU. That means holiday hotspots like Egypt, the Caribbean and Thailand to name a few, but not all of them.

As for when you’re in the EU, beware that those data roaming charges that are said to be ‘free’ may not necessarily be as free as you’re expecting. Some mobile providers can start charging once you’ve maxed out your UK data allowance. To play it safe, we’d suggest turning your data roaming off on your phone before travelling and making use of the Wi-Fi that most places tend to offer for free when using their services.

Top Tip – Roaming charges in the EU may change after Brexit on the 31st October 2019. We’d suggest checking with your mobile phone provider about the costs of using your phone in the EU if you’re travelling after this date. For more Brexit updates, click here.

Luggage fees

You’ve arrived at the airport bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to check-in your luggage, to then be told that you need to pay for it – we can all agree that’s not an ideal way for anyone to start their holiday! That’s why we always recommend double checking your package holiday inclusions before booking, that way you can pack accordingly and ensure you’re not hit with any hefty luggage fees. Fortunately, all TUI and First Choice package holidays already include luggage, however the allowance can vary.

Top Tip – If flying with a different airline, please contact them to find out if you have check-in luggage included in your holiday booking and your size allowance.


A number of our holiday destinations require visitors to have a visa upon entry. This is an official document that grants entry to the country legally and usually for a specific amount of time. The cost of a visa varies depending on the destination and is unfortunately something that is totally unavoidable since it’s a legal requirement. It’s definitely worth finding out if you require one for your next trip as not only can you then budget for it, you can also save some time queuing in the airport. Many destinations now offer E-visas meaning you can get them all sorted online before you even travel!

Top Tip – Pop your destination, citizenship and purpose of travel into the Travisa website to find out if you require a visa for your next holiday destination and if an e-visa is an option.

Airport transfer fees

We’ve all been guilty of it, the plane touches down in our destination and the excitement takes over, so much so we jump in the nearest taxi as we leave the airport in a bid to get to the hotel as quickly as possible. Only to get there and be charged an extortionate price for the journey.

Firstly, if you’ve booked a package holiday, more often than not your airport transfers will be included so always double check this first. In the case that your transfers aren’t included, there’s often still a number of cheaper alternatives to get to your hotel. We’d suggest either pre-booking your holiday taxi or checking out the local train and bus routes. If they take you to near your hotel, it’s worth the effort to save those pennies for all the more cocktails!

Top Tip – If your holiday doesn’t include airport transfers, research transit options in your destination beforehand. You’ll often be surprised at the alternative options that can be much cheaper.

At Holiday Hypermarket we’re all about saving you as much money as possible, so along with these tips on avoiding hidden holiday costs, find out how much you can SAVE with our fantastic deals.