This winter, the Caribbean island of St. Lucia changed the way it collects its departure tax. Up until now, you had to keep $26 in U.S. cash on hand during your trip to pay at the airport on your way out of the country. But now, when you buy a ticket, the tax is automatically added.
(Note: For the handful of folks who bought tickets last year for travel this year, you still have to pay the tax at the airport on departure.)
As you may know, many countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa expect you to pay a departure tax when you check in at their airports. Some countries insist that you pay in the local currency; others in U.S. dollars. Some let you pay at the check-in gate. Others, such as Argentina, require you to go to a separate counter and pay.
I don't know about you, but I much prefer to pay a tax when I buy a ticket with a credit card. That way, I don't have to remember to save exact change in U.S. dollars to pay the tax at the end of my trip.
I also prefer to have the total cost of the flights be clear up-front, to help me with my budgeting.
Do you have any thoughts about travel taxes? Feel free to post a comment.