Don't Forget These 4 Expenses When Traveling This Summer

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on June 17, 2021

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Planning a trip? Factor these costs into your budget.

In the course of planning a summer vacation, there are certain things you know to account for -- airfare if you're flying, fuel if you're driving, lodging, meals, and entertainment. But if you're in the process of mapping out a travel budget, here are four expenses you shouldn't forget about.

1. Travel insurance

Even if your credit card offers you some level of travel protection, it still pays to buy travel insurance. For one thing, travel insurance will generally be more comprehensive, covering things like emergency medical care that your credit card may not pay for. Also, with travel insurance, you can generally buy a policy that lets you cancel your trip for any reason. If you're traveling with kids, that's a good thing to have, because you never know when you might need to call off a trip due to an injury or illness. And while things are hopefully improving on the coronavirus front, you still never know whether the pandemic will impact your travel plans, so it's better to have some protection beyond what your credit card will give you.

2. Gear for your trip

Depending on your destination and the activities you choose to do when you get there, you may need to buy certain gear or equipment ahead of your trip. For example, if you'll be renting kayaks, you may need to buy your own life jackets and have solid water shoes that fit securely around the foot. If you're going on a camping trip, you may need a new tent or sleeping bags. And if you're planning to rent bikes, you might need to secure your own helmets and safety equipment. Think about the things you plan to do when you're away and be sure to account for any items you need to purchase to make your trip happen.

3. Entertainment for your car

If you're taking a road trip, there are certain items you'll want to invest in -- especially if there are younger kids in the mix. If your vehicle doesn't have a built-in entertainment system, you may want to buy some sort of portable device that lets your kids watch movies or TV while you're out on the road. Similarly, you may want to buy a good set of headphones for each member of your family who won't be driving. That way, if one child wants to play a loud game on a tablet while another watches a movie, there won't be fights when those noises conflict. Finally, you may want to upgrade your vehicle's GPS system. While your plan may be to use Google Maps, that won't work if you hit a stretch of highway in an internet dead zone, whereas a GPS isn't internet-reliant.

4. Baggage fees

If you'll be traveling by airplane, you'll probably need to check a few bags. Those fees could add up, so be sure to account for them. That said, it pays to use a travel rewards card to book your flight, because you may be able to score free checked baggage and save some money in the process.

It's always a good idea to create a budget when you're taking a trip to ensure that your travels don't land you in debt. Be sure to account for these items in that budget so your numbers don't get thrown out of whack.

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