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The Travel Detective

Excess Baggage: How Much Will My Trip Really Cost?

Locations in this article:  Buenos Aires, Argentina Oslo, Norway Tokyo, Japan
What’s my trip gonna cost? For many of you, when you budget your travels you tend to focus on only the big ticket items like airfare and hotels, and that’s where you get into trouble. Because it’s the cost of local goods and services once you get there that can often make the difference. Let me give you some examples.

And when I speak about basic goods and services, I’m not kidding. Think about what you spend money on every day at home, then investigate what those items and experiences will cost in the destination where you’re going.
A taxi ride to the airport, a tube of toothpaste, a diet soda, a fast food burger–those are things that either add up and exceed your original travel budget or become a real bargain and can influence your destination choice.
For example, a cab ride in Tokyo, Japan from the airport can cost more than $120. But a ride from the airport to downtown Buenos Aires in Argentina can be less than $10.
How about a Big Mac in Oslo? It’s almost $8, but in India, it’s under $2.
Hotels and airlines can adjust their rates and fares to deal with great disparities in foreign exchange between foreign currencies. But what can’t be adjusted is what citizens pay in local currencies for meals, basic transportation, clothing and dozens of other items. That’s the key to proper travel budgeting. Your wallet will thank you and you won’t go into unnecessary additional debt every time you travel abroad.
Can a tube of toothpaste really make a difference? Well not on its own, but add up all those items individually and you can save hundreds of dollars every time you travel.
By Peter Greenberg for