British holidaymakers warned of ‘visa traps’

British families travelling to long-haul destinations this half term have been warned that they could face substantial extra costs on arrival or departure from their destination. Costs they hadn’t bargained for, according to a new survey.


New research from the Post Office has revealed that compulsory tourist visas and taxes can set a family of four back as much as £145.


The US requires UK visitors to pay $14 (£9.27) for each ESTA visa, which needs to be purchased before travelling, allowing families to factor this into their holiday budget.


However some popular winter destinations collect payable visa and tourist tax charges on arrival or departure from the country.


Tourists in Antigua must pay £20 each in either Eastern Caribbean or US dollars before leaving the country. This means a family of four with children 12 and over must hand over £77.76 in foreign cash at the end of a holiday, when spending money may be limited.


Travellers have also been warned to be aware of hidden visa charges in holiday hotspots: Kenya, Turkey, Egypt and Mexico.


Families of four could be set back as much as £145 when visiting Mexico; the country charges tourists 700 pesos (£36.28) when leaving the country.


Sarah Munro, Head of Travel Money at the Post Office has said “families looking for a low-priced half-term holiday may get a nasty surprise if they have to pay tourist taxes on top”.


She added “This is likely to be particularly problematic for people who are on an all inclusive package, as they may not have budgeted to take foreign cash to cover the charge”.


“Unfortunately the issue of visas and tourist taxes is a confusing one and it can be difficult to find out what the charges are and how these have to be paid”.


Recommending that holidaymakers get in touch with their tour operator or airline to check whether their destination has tourist taxes, who must pay them and in what currency they need to be paid in.


Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh