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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Unexpected Costs When Travelling Abroad

A third of travellers have been caught out financially abroad – by picking the wrong insurance policy, getting stung by roaming charges and pricey airport transfers.

A poll of 2,000 adults who’ve been abroad found those who’ve been left out of pocket have found themselves around £200 down to date due to unexpected fees and hidden costs.

The most common ways they’ve been stung include currency conversion fees (35 per cent), data roaming charges (31 per cent) and city taxes (27 per cent).

And a disdain for pre-holiday admin might be partly to blame – with 27 per cent admitting they avoid tasks like shopping around for good exchange rates and arranging adequate insurance cover.

The study by Virgin Media O2, which offers inclusive EU roaming to customers, found 55 per cent of those hit with these costs in the past had less enjoyable getaways as a result.

More than a fifth (22 per cent) were left with no choice but to cut back on spending for the remainder of their trip. And 18 per cent were forced to use savings to cover the unplanned outgoings.

Other ways travellers have been caught out include ATM withdrawal fees, unexpected baggage costs, and overpaying for tours or excursions which were available cheaper elsewhere.

Roman Kemp, who has teamed-up with Virgin Media O2 in a short video to help travellers prep for their breaks, said: “Before take-off we'd like to share some important safety with you - data roaming safety that is. We've prepared some tips for you - the top four things to remember to avoid racking up a massive phone bill while on holidays."

The study also found 20 per cent of holidaymakers have been caught out by data roaming costs on holidays.

While 53 per cent of those with a mobile phone don’t know if their provider would charge them such fees if they were to travel abroad this summer.

However, 32 per cent could find out the hard way as they tend to forget to switch off data roaming when overseas.

It also emerged 61 per cent were ‘disappointed’ to see the return of roaming charges in European countries last year, with 46 per cent claiming they ‘need’ data roaming when visiting such places.

Carried out through OnePoll, the study found 39 per cent would worry about staying in contact with their loved ones if they didn’t have access to Wi-Fi or free data roaming.

While the same percentage would struggle without it because they’d be unable to use mapping apps on their phone as readily.

Gareth Turpin, chief commercial officer for Virgin Media O2, said: “Holidays are a major source of joy and relaxation, and people often splash out to make the most of their trip. But no one wants to fork out for extra costs they hadn’t planned for.”

Top 20 unexpected costs Brits have run into abroad:

  1. Charges to convert your cash

  2. Paying a fortune on data roaming charges on your phone

  3. Having a taxi bill much higher than expected

  4. Getting unexpectedly charged to use a cash machine

  5. Overpaying for tours/excursions

  6. Unexpected city taxes

  7. Last minute excursion costs

  8. Unexpected baggage costs

  9. Unexpected accommodation fees

  10. Attempting to haggle but still getting fleeced on a product

  11. A flight delay meaning you have to stay another night at a hotel

  12. Taking something out the minibar without realizing the price

  13. Additional airline costs

  14. Not realizing how much the airport transfer was going to cost

  15. Unexpected visa costs

  16. Travel insurance not covering something you thought it would

  17. Being tricked by a scammer

  18. Losing your passport and needing to sort out a new one

  19. Had bank card skimmed after using shady ATM or contactless machine

  20. Picking the wrong insurance policy

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