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From Barcelona to the Costa del Sol, Spain attracts tourists in their masses, with an average of more than 18 million arrivals from the UK landing annually before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Now, as restrictions ease, these figures are set to return – but independent financial broker Norton Finance is warning Britons of some “hidden costs” which could “trip Britons up” on their next overseas jaunt.
They said: “While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of finding a cheap flight somewhere warm, consumers can sometimes forget the smaller associated costs of getting away – which can quickly add up and have a significant impact on the price of a holiday.”
Here are five “hidden costs” to be aware of
According to statistics from Finder.com, 21 percent of Britons still jet off without travel insurance.
While shelling out for insurance might feel like a waste, especially if things go off without a hitch, it is an invaluable purchase.
Norton Finance said: “Hopefully you’ll arrive home after your holiday thinking, ‘I didn’t really need that’.
“But if something does go wrong while you’re away then things can get very expensive, very quickly.
“For this reason, always make sure to take the cost of travel insurance into consideration when budgeting for your holiday.”
Exchange and transaction fees
Whether you’re swapping your money at a travel money shop, or choosing to spend on your credit card while abroad, spending overseas always comes with an additional cost.
Norton Finance said: “When travelling to Spain, it’s important to consider how you’ll be paying for any purchases you make there.
“If you’re planning on taking euros with you, consider what exchange rate you’ll be getting.
“Otherwise, you might find that once your UK budget has been swapped for euros, you’re left with less than you expected.
“Similarly, if you’re using your debit or credit card in Spain to withdraw money or pay for goods, you may have to fork out a transaction fee for doing so.
“This is generally just under 3 percent, so not a significant amount on smaller purchases, but it can certainly add up.”
Luckily, the experts do have one way to get around this hidden fee.
Holidaymakers are advised to look into whether an overseas card or a prepaid currency card could work for their trip.
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Tourist taxes are in place in certain parts of Spain, including the Balearic Islands and Catalonia.
Tourist tax or sustainable tourism tax is an amount that is charged by regional governments on the tourists visiting the area
Norton Finance explained: “These are charged per person for each night you’re there.
“While the per night cost varies depending on when you visit and how long you stay, this is another cost that can take you by surprise if you’ve not budgeted for it.”
Car rental fees
Renting a car is a great way to get around and explore your holiday destination, but there can be some secondary costs that holidaymakers don’t always think of straight away.
Norton Finance explained: “If you’re going to be renting a car during your stay, chances are you’ve factored in the cost. However, if you’ve only budgeted for the base rental rate you may be hit by some hidden costs on arrival.
“If you’re renting from the airport, there will be an additional airport tax to cover the concession fee the car hire company pays to the airport.
“While this fee is always charged, some companies won’t add it to your total until just before you pay. This means the original quoted price may not be what you end up paying.”
Much like travel insurance, rental car insurance is another cost that is essential, though often forgotten.
Norton Finance added: “Before paying this it’s worth doing some additional research to decide if you need more cover than the basic policy offers. If you’re paying with a credit card, consider whether it offers additional rental car cover.”
Post-Brexit rules officially came into force at the beginning of 2021, but with many Britons only jetting off this year for their first time since the pandemic began, there are some key changes to be aware of.
Norton Finance said: “Between 2017 and 2020, holidaymakers didn’t have to pay mobile data roaming charges – which means anyone taking a holiday to the EU for the first time since COVID-19 hit could be in for a shock.
“Charges vary depending on your supplier and phone plan, but you could expect to pay £2 per day for data roaming in Spain.
“Check with your provider before leaving to see if they offer any packages and use mobile data sparingly if you need to keep the cost down.”
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