This article is not designed to put you off travelling (I’d never want to do that) but it is an article designed to make you think about what the hidden costs of travel might be post pandemic, post Brexit, and in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
*This is an article prompted by a request to appear on the BBC to discuss the topic and an article for BBC News.
- So what are the hidden costs of travel in 2022?
- Increased Flight Costs
- Booking Ahead – a Solution to Hidden Travel Costs?
- Hand Luggage isn’t the same anymore
- Increased Cost of Food
- Added costs of days out
- Rising Fuel Prices in the UK
- Rising Fuel Prices Everywhere
- Mobile Phone charges
- Car Hire Prices are Higher
- Taking Pets Abroad
- Passport Expiring earlier than expected
So what are the hidden costs of travel in 2022?
Increased Flight Costs
OK so the flight cost itself might not be hidden but Cathy from Mummy Travels feels like its worth mentioning as anyone who’s tried to book a flight recently has probably done a double take at the prices – even Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said the days of low-cost flying, where the train to the airport costs more than the flight, are well and truly over. One survey showed prices are up 30% this summer, with jet fuel costs up and airlines desperately trying to make up lost revenue during the pandemic.
Demand is outstripping supply too: people are desperate to travel once again, but there’s often a smaller choice as routes have been cut over the past two years plus thousands of flights are being cancelled for lack of staff, so even the basic ticket rates are spiralling.
The hidden travel costs are added again when you start factoring in costs for seat bookings for families and luggage, this might just be my experience but these extras seem to have increased too. You’ll also find airlines offering paid extras in case of cancellation or changes, as well as pushing additional options including car hire, which won’t always get you the best deal – be careful of these. We had an awful experience adding car hire onto a booking with Easyjet and using Goldcar when after the event I read all the reviews I really wish I hadn’t.
It’s something of a perfect storm this summer, so while fuel prices aren’t about to drop, the picture might look very different next year. For now, all you can do is book ahead, travel light and consider alternative travel options, whether that’s choosing the ferry or trying another airport.
With cost of living increases already hitting families, booking your 2023 holiday now might be the best way of securing your holiday at 2022 prices – and saving money in the long run.
Fuel is one of the biggest costs for airlines, but many large travel companies have already hedged their fuel prices this year making price increases unlikely regardless of what happens to the worldwide cost of fuel.
Booking Ahead – a Solution to Hidden Travel Costs?
With the likelihood of the cost of living increases still being in place next year, it’s likely that summer 2023 holiday prices will be affected. Travel companies may have to pass on the increased fuel prices to customers, and hotels will be reviewing their rates due to their increased costs of food and energy.
Jo at KiddieHolidays suggests that booking your holiday early means you can take advantage of 2022 prices plus there are some great early bird discounts to be had. Families can pay a low deposit if they book early and also start making payments towards their holiday using the part payment schemes which some of the larger travel companies offer.
Hand Luggage isn’t the same anymore
Another hidden cost is the change in what constitutes hand luggage and this varies from airline to airline. We used to travel for a week with just hand luggage, with as much stuffed into a 10kg roller bag as possible. Ryanair is just one of the airlines that’s changed the size of bag that you can take on the plane for free. The ‘free’ bag now has to be small enough to fit under the seat, the hand luggage back starts from £15.99 each way.
Increased Cost of Food
Jenny of Monkey and Mouse blog reminds us that with the increased cost of food throughout Europe it’s not as easy to eat as cheaply as before.
Traveling with kids limits options as they are often fussier than parents. But with even a McDonald’s meal in Italy currently around €30 for an adult and 2 children, it’s actually not as easy to eat cheaply as previous years! To keep costs down it can be useful to just buy bread and cheese, or other simple items that can be stored in a hotel mini fridge for lunch. At dinner choose options such as set meals if possible and drink tap or bottled water rather than expensive juices.
However, no matter what you choose to do, you will need to budget more than usual for food in Europe.
Added costs of days out
Holidaying at home and taking day trips is a tried and tested way to manage the family budget over the summer. But even that has extra costs attached in 2022 says Claire Hall, Editor of Devon with Kids.
I can’t think of an attraction that has been able to reduce its entrance fees as they are subject to the same increases in running costs as every other business. Add to that a staffing shortage and this summer is going to be another difficult year for businesses and families who are already struggling.
Expect attraction tickets, cafes and gift shop prices to have gone up since last year. Even packing your own picnic is pricier with the increase in food costs.
Rising Fuel Prices in the UK
It’s not news that the cost of fuel has gone up but have you factored it into the cost of going on holiday in the UK. Your holiday cottage in Scotland might be cheaper than the one in Devon but depending on where you live, and how far you need to drive to get to the accommodation you may use up any saving on the accommodation in fuel costs. Make sure you factor the costs into any holiday plans.
Rising Fuel Prices Everywhere
Do remember that rising fuel prices aren’t just an issue in the UK, Jenny editor of Explore Essaouira reminds us that rising fuel prices are everywhere and everyone is talking about it from France to Morocco to the States. Taxi fares, bus journeys, and self-driving are all going to be more expensive on your overseas adventures. So any blog posts or travel guides you read with suggested travel budgets, expect to pay more. And also keep in mind that if you are visiting a country where haggling is common, taxi drivers are also going to use it as an excuse to inflate the fare even more. It’s often difficult for a first time visitor to know exactly how much a fare should be, but keep your wits about you, and try not to be ‘taken for a ride’.
Mobile Phone charges
Mobile phone firms were banned from charging customers extra fees to use their UK allowance of minutes, texts and data (subject to ‘fair use’ limits) when in the European Union. But since Brexit, that has changed and so far, three of the big four mobile networks ( EE, Vodafone and Three) have brought back roaming charges.
So having had the luxury of uploading pictures to Instagram and Facebook to make people envious on holiday, that luxury will now be limited to wifi. Don’t get caught out with this hidden cost of travel.
Car Hire Prices are Higher
Car hire prices are noticeably higher in 2022 due to pent up holiday demand and as a covid knock on. Many places had to sell car hire stock in order to keep their business afloat when demand was low from tourists, and many more tourists are choosing to hire a car rather than travel on coaches or use public transport. Tales of long queues at airport rental desks are common.
In our experience book sooner rather than later as costs usually go up. You might be able to get a last minute cancellation but do you want to run this risk.
Carrie from Visiting Orlando with Kids suggests that one way to try and keep costs lower ( and to avoid the queue) is to look at alternative airports. Eg instead of Orlando MCO airport, fly into Tampa instead and rent a car which is a short distance from the airport instead.
Taking Pets Abroad
Driving abroad also used be easy and an effortless way to take pets on your travels but due to changes after Brexit all dogs must have an extra certification to take pets abroad. Some of these animal health certificates cost as must as £250 per dog making short trips not worth taking your pampered pets to the beach. Crossings to Europe such as by Eurotunnel have increased their animal fares too making it around £60 per dog for a return travel route.
Passport Expiring earlier than expected
This is not only an issue in terms of traveling but it may well be an issue in terms of the hidden costs of travel too. You thought you might squeeze in a holiday before your passports expire but if any of the family need a new passport because
- there’s less than 3 months left on your passport when you travel
- your passport is 10 years old or more the day after you leave the country – count this from the date your passport was issued
then you’re looking at extra additional costs from £77.50 for adults (online renewal) and £49 for children (online passport renewal) with further costs if it needs to be done quickly.