Traveling Europe: How to spot pop-up costs
Friends from home have commented that I "must be rich" because of all the trips I take throughout the year. Little do they know (and how easily I remind them) that traveling within Europe can be a ridiculously inexpensive endeavor, especially after spending four years perfecting the art of the budget weekend getaway. When prepping my wallet for these short jaunts to neighboring (or not-so-neighboring) countries, it's possible to unknowingly omit a handful of hidden fees, ones that pop up unexpectedly and require me to dip a bit deeper into my travel budget. The following costs can be both expected and unexpected but should be considered as probable when traversing the continent.
Airline fees. Budget European airlines like to nickel and dime their passengers, and new restrictions seem to sneak their way into "Terms and Conditions" almost every month. (I'm looking at you, Ryanair.) But paying attention to the price changes ensures you won't be paying for your ignorance later. My motto: Always carry on (re: bags), but check to see if carry-on fees apply. With Ryanair, for example, only passengers who reserve a priority ticket (all of 7 euros more than the original fare) can bring their luggage on board with them. All other bags must be gate-checked, but for no additional fee.
City tax. Heaps of European cities (especially those that see high numbers of visitors) enact a tourism tax for visitors, which is usually a set fee per adult, per night. These taxes are not always obvious when booking a hotel room online, but collection may be required upon check-in, so having a few bucks in the local currency can be helpful in such a situation.
Terrace supplements. In some major cities in Europe, guests who opt to dine al fresco on a restaurant's terrace or patio will have to pay a bit extra to enjoy their aperitif or espresso in fresh air. Restaurants may list this surcharge on menus but often in small print, so be aware of this potential add-on when choosing whether to dine inside or out.
Last-minute transportation changes. As much as we try to plan, events don't always unfold as we might like. We miss our alarm and thus need to grab an Uber to the airport instead of relying on public transit, or we find that public transit won't be operating early enough to make it to the airport for our 8 a.m. flight, thus forcing us to schedule a cab. Private transportation is obviously more expensive but less time-consuming when in a bind, and can add a substantial amount to your travel budget.
What unexpected costs have you encountered in your travels? Feel free to share in the commesnts!