Departure taxes were a hidden cost for me when travelling. From what I remember I had to pay to leave New Zealand and the Cook Islands and possibly Australia. It was never very much usually £10 - £15 but something you never welcome when travelling on a budget.
Does anyone know the logic behind this extra fee and why some countries have it and other do not; I would be really interested to know. Is it true that some air tickets include departure tax in the price or is this just a myth? Can a country charge for a VISA and also departure tax or is it one or the other?
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 29, 2008, at 5:14 AM by travbod579 ]
You may find this article from the New York Times of interest:
PRACTICAL TRAVELER: THE INS AND OUTS OF AIRPORT DEPARTURE TAXES
Realize this article is quite old - from 1983 - but it does describe departure taxes quite nicely. Just ignore the amounts they mention.
We try to make a point of inquiring about departure taxes when we arrive at a particular destination. We've always gotten an answer, though not always the correct amount, and it helps us keep money tucked away to cover the charges.
I don't mind the tax existing - I'm fine with the idea of those who use a facility paying for it - but I do really wish it was always included in tickets. I hate having to look up beforehand how much money I'm going to need to keep aside. (At least my Lonely Planets have always mentioned it, and have always been correct about the amounts.) Worse in countries like Peru, where you need to pay in American dollars rather than nuevos soles - and even at bus stations - and it's always a really weird amount like $3.17 (then again, I did have a much larger stack of useless pennies before I went to Peru, so it worked out okay in my case).
I think a country can do whatever it wants with these fees. I can't imagine there being any international regulations on it.
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 29, 2008, at 5:43 AM by Sander ]
I get why departure taxes are needed, but those "hidden" costs really do add up. I wonder how many budget travellers spent their last little bit before going to the airport to leave for home...
Speaking of hidden costs, I didn't realize until this upcoming trip how much a pile of extras can really add up to. Between getting a visa ($ for visa, $ for money order, plus $ for UPS cause there's no Mozambique embassy in Canada), to vaccinations (Hep A&B, Typhoid - neither covered by Medicare or my company insurance), to a backpack, sleeping bag, water purification tablets, etc. etc... it's sure made a big enough dent in the budget. All to semi-rough it!
Departure taxes are annoying, having to keep the correct amount of money aside for the airport. Some airports are automatically including them as part of the ticket but a lot aren't.
There was one particular time when the departure tax had increased at an airport and there had been no notification on the internet and we didn't have enough money. The airport staff had a 'whip round' and got the extra money together for us so we could leave...really nice of them!
We wish there would be an international agreement that the departure taxes are included in tickets as it's misleading when one ticket from a hub airport looks more expensive than a ticket from another hub in the same region only due to the fact that the more expensive ticket has departure tax included!
Yep, im one of those who always almost run out of cash to pay that last departure tax before the flight home.. Proud of it too...
I mean, one way or another, we have to pay them, so i really dont see why this cant be lumped in with the ticket price? Its annoying having to check out (and confirm) how much the tax is and carry enough of the desired currency to pay it for those of us travelling on a tight budget, and having to join the long queues to get the stickers etc...
I think the UK should demand departure tax when people leave to take the heat off some of us UK tax payers - a good way for the country to earn a little more income.
According to our travel agent who we booked our RTW ticket with it costs us almost £40 to fly from Heathrow in taxes which is included on the ticket...that shocked us!
My experience of hidden charges happened while returning on a flight to Australia from La Paz via Santiago, had purchased a ticket that included flights and all taxes, when arriving at Santiago we had to pay a $US40 transit tax, this only applied to a few countries such as the US, Canadians, Australians etc... we disputed the charges, but was told if they weren't paid, we wouldn't get on our next sector flight. As a result of speaking with a representative from the alliance Qantas was with, we boarded the flight... a week after arriving home I found an 'unauthorised' charge made to my credit card for the transit tax! After complaining to the CC company, the charges were reversed. Now that's a hidden tax!
joffre: I agree that those charges totally suck when you're not expecting them, but the thing to know about them is that they're reciprocal; Chile instituted them because the USA, Canada, Australia and Mexico (and only those countries) are charging Chileans similar amounts. (Note how the amount differs for the various countries; if you'd have been from the USA it'd have been $100.)
It's also a "one-time" fee (per passport); that is, if you pay it, you can fly in to Chile as many times as you want on the same passport without needing to pay it again.
Yes, it sucks, but you should put the blame on your own government, first.
[ Edit: Edited on Nov 1, 2008, at 4:22 AM by Sander ]