Hidden Costs

The trip hasn’t started yet and I already feel like we’re spending a ton of money on it. Sigh. Some expenses we predicted, while others hadn’t occurred to me. Here are a few of the items that are depleting our bank account before even leaving home:
  • Pharmacy items. I have a ridiculous number of first aid options packed in a variety of Ziploc bags, just in case. My loyalty points at Shoppers Drug Mart have been accumulating quickly. And I honestly hope we don’t need most of what we’ve bought!
  • Travel immunization fees. These were pricey even though we’re all basically up-to-date with our shots. We had to pay a consultation fee just to confirm that was the case! And a fee for the shot. And a fee for the person to give us the shot. I had to do some negotiating to make sure that we didn’t have to pay separate consultation fees for all 6 of us…
  • Visas. We knew we’d need visas for Vietnam and Cambodia, but for 5 of us they add up. What’s worse: we could ask for our 5 Vietnamese visas to be sent back to us in a single FedEx envelope, which we did and they were — but we were still charged $35 per visa for the courier!
  • Dog food. We always buy dog food — just not usually enough to last 3 months, in advance.
  • Shoes. When you have a 12-year-old son whose feet are growing quickly and who is a bit hard on his clothes, you need to buy him new shoes for a trip like this, even when his old ones still fit. For now.
  • Lost work opportunities. I’m thankful for the clients who have been willing to adjust timelines to accommodate this crazy adventure. A few have not been able to do so. Completely understandable, but that comes at a cost for us. (We knew it would, but still…)
  • Tuition. We pay tuition fees for Jonah to attend the Guelph Community Christian School and they are worth every penny. When he’s there.
  • Birthday gifts. Again, something we’d buy anyway, but the costs are usually spread out. This year, I’m buying several at once before we leave.
  • Utility bills while not at home. It’s a drag to pay for a phone line, internet connection, cable service, heat etc. that you aren’t using.
  • Cleaning. We didn’t want to lose our time slot with the woman who helps us with cleaning our house, so she’s cleaning it on her regular schedule while we’re away, whether it needs it or not.
  • Stolen sunglasses. My car was broken into a couple of weeks ago and my prescription sunglasses were stolen. I don’t wear my sunglasses much in the winter, so I probably wouldn’t have paid to replace them right away. But with heading to warmer places, I needed them replaced in time for our departure. Cha-ching!
  • Games. I’ve tucked a couple of new ones into my bag to pass the time at airports. If we were staying home, we’d enjoy them at The Boardroom Cafe instead.
  • Books. See above. I miss the library already.

You get the idea.

My parents used to refer to a line item in their travel budget called “Ignorance” — those things that cost you money simply because you don’t know any better in a foreign country. I suspect we’ll have a blog entry or two about such expenses once the trip gets underway. But for now, we just have to stop spending trip money prior to the trip even starting!

One thought on “Hidden Costs

  1. I like the idea of Ignorance as a line item. I’m curious whether, if your house doesn’t need cleaning, you and the cleaning person could arrange a giveaway where she cleans someone else’s house at your expense on some of the weeks. Not suggesting anyone in particular. Really I wasn’t. But if she does commute, I’d consider it…


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