Travel expenses we often forget

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Photo: Danielle Golds

When planning a holiday the main things we consider are how much flights or trains and hotels or hostels cost. After choosing a place to visit, questions of exchange rate and general expensiveness tend to be considered. These considerations make up the bulk of the trip and are major factors in choosing a location or whether to go at all. Travelling in groups can make it easier to lower hotel or hostel rates and sometimes train travel as opposed to plane travel can make a significant difference as well. But, we often neglect other expenditures when planning a trip, which can sometimes come as a shock when you actually get going.

Photo: Danielle Golds
Photo: Danielle Golds

So, you have booked a flight from Edinburgh airport or a train journey from Haymarket train station. But how are you going to get there? What would seem to be one of the most obvious questions can easily be forgotten in the rush of planning a trip. One of the simplest ways to get from St Andrews to Edinburgh is by bus. With a dayrider ticket (£9) you can get to Edinburgh in about two hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus to Leuchars and then take the train from there to Edinburgh for about £10. There is always the taxi option but that can be expensive, unless you are travelling with a big group.

Depending on the length of your flight (or even just your time at the airport) you will probably need to buy some food and maybe a magazine or newspaper to keep you occupied. Airport prices can be pretty high because they are the traveller’s only option. Airport stores also know that you can’t bring your own liquid through security so they can charge more for drinks because you can’t get them anywhere else. It’s hard to beat the liquid rule, but bringing along an apple and a book will save you on food and reading material!

Along the same lines, the trip from whichever airport or train station you arrive in at your destination to your hotel/hostel is also often neglected. Airports tend to be outside of cities, like in Munich where the airport is about a 45-minute bus ride to the city centre. There are often shuttle buses or metros that can take you to the city centre but they do cost money so it is important to have a little money in whatever currency the country uses right when you arrive. Train stations are often easier as they tend to be closer to the city centre so you may be able to walk to your accommodation. However, sometimes it is necessary to take another train or a bus to where you will be staying.

In addition to travel expenditures, people sometimes forget about meals, most significantly, breakfast. It is important when travelling to eat a healthy full breakfast to power that morning tour of a castle or walk around a city’s best, biggest museum. Grabbing a pastry or even not eating is never the best option. Some hotels provide breakfast with the room but most of the time it’s up to you to find something quick and yummy to get you going. Breakfast can cost around £10-15 if you get tea and the whole deal so it’s important to keep this in mind. Especially as you have to eat it every day.

The goal of most trips is not primarily to go shopping, but souvenirs of some kind are important but their purchase is easy to forget about. Because souvenir prices are often raised, particularly during high tourist seasons, it is important to set aside some money for these purchases. Especially when you just have to get your brother that drinking horn from Prague.

One final expense that is often neglected is buying bottled water. In some countries it can be dangerous to drink the tap water so you have to buy bottled water especially because you spend so much of your trip walking around. Even if the water is safe to drink sometimes a rapid change in water type can upset your stomach so it is important to stick to bottled. If you buy two or three bottles a day it can really add up. So budget around £10 a day for water.

While these costs seem low, they pile up quickly especially if you are travelling to multiple locations. Try to estimate how much extra money you might need on hand for things like water or transportation to and from the airport/train station before you go on your trip so that you are not surprised later.

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