ADVERTISEMENT

Paying departure taxes in cash

By Sean O'Neill
October 3, 2012

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.

Keep reading
Inspiration

Rome: The Forum's no longer free

For about a decade now, anyone in Rome could wander among the city's most famous ancient ruins, known by the shorthand "The Forum," for free. But starting next Monday, March 10,* entrance tickets will be required. The Forum will be included in the ticket covering the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It will cost 9 euro -- about $14, or more if there's some kind of special show going on. BUDGET TRAVEL TIP To skip the frequently long lines for entry to the Colosseum, buy your tickets at the Palatine box office (200 yards away, on Via di S. Gregorio 30). Once you have your ticket, you can proceed past the line and straight to the entry turnstiles. BUDGET TRAVEL TIP 2 If you're visiting in the peak season of July, you may want to prebook your tickets through Pierreci (011-39/06-3996-7700, pierreci.it) and pick them up directly at the Colosseum will-call window, but there's a $2 surcharge. I'm personally sorry to hear about this because the policy will discourage locals from visiting the site. Especially during the off-season, you would see Roman families spontaneously visiting the amazing grounds, mingling with tourists. On a brighter note, ... also on March 10, four rooms at the Emperor Augustus's palace on the Palatine hill will reopen to the public. The frescoes in the rooms, including his studio and main hall, have been magnificently restored, according to the Chicago Tribune. The stop is included in the Forum/Colosseum/Palatine ticket. *UPDATE 3/5, at 1pmET: I mistakenly typed March 8 instead of March 10 on first posting. [Photo: Courtesy of Eye of Einstein, via Flickr]

ADVERTISEMENT