Surcharges are a necessary evil we chose while traveling the world…More wildlife photos from Costa Rica…

Look closely to see the face, only a mother could love, of a live crocodile behind a chain-link fence at Zoo Ave.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Tom’s photo, early this morning, of a cute dog that stopped by to say “hola.”

Definition of “surcharge:”


an additional charge, tax, or cost.
an excessive sum or price charged.
3.   an extra or unreasonable load or burden.

Word Origin and History for a surcharge:

v. early 15c., from middle French surchargerfrom Old French sur- “over”
(see surchargier “to load” (see charge ). The noun is also first attested early 15c.

When most of us think of a surcharge, we believe in terms of an automatically imposed fee or tax added to a purchase over which we have little choice to accept as “the cost of doing business.”
Here’s a longer view of the above crocodile.

As world travelers these past five years, we find that we must bear the cost of a wide variety of surcharges that we chose to impart generally for the usual benefit of convenience.

Convenience is a huge factor in our financial lives. We choose convenience when we pay more than preferred or expected prices for many items, in an effort to ensure a better experience.
Let’s review some of these self-imposed surcharges, we encounter as a result of traveling the world:
1.  Baggage fees: Sure, we could travel “very light” hauling only backpacks and carry-on luggage. However, for the sake of having enough clothing, supplies, and digital equipment in our possession, we often pay excess baggage or baggage weight fees, depending on the airlines.
A curious turtle scurried quickly toward us.
2.  ATM fees: We do not go into banks or currency stores, paying exchange rate fees and credit card fees to obtain cash. More economically, we use ATMs to save money using our debit cards and thus incur only two fees; one, the cost of using the machine; two, the charge from our bank when using an ATM at an international ATM facility.
3.  Rental cars: At times, we pay higher fees for rental cars when we need a large enough vehicle to accommodate all of our bags; three checked bags and three carry-on bags.
4.  Medical costs: Recently, we incurred added medical fees to acquire a medical certification enabling us to board the upcoming Antarctica cruise, beyond the cost of the cruise itself. Soon, when we arrive in Buenos Aires, we’ll make an appointment at a travel clinic to update our vaccinations and get prescriptions for malaria pills prior to returning to Africa. We pay a premium for the few medications I use that aren’t covered by insurance and must be shipped to our location at any given time.
Turtles tucked away under the bushes.
5.  Tips: Particularly on cruises, we choose to add tips to the cost of the cruise at the time of booking which at this point, is running US $27 (CRC 15,372) per day. While on the ship, we may choose to pay additional tips for enhanced services and attention to detail befitting our convenience and experience.  In addition, for convenience, we may pay porter and bellman fees, depending on the circumstances.
6.  Flights:  On many airlines, they are now added extra fees for specific seats on the plane in the “coach” or economy section. At times, since we’re taller than the average passenger, we may choose a bulkhead seat or other seat with more legroom.
7.  Vacation Homes with added amenities: We prefer to rent a vacation/holiday home that includes Wi-Fi and all utilities paid, a pool, an upgraded kitchen with modern appliances and ample kitchen utensils, although we’ve had many exceptions. Of course, we always pay a premium for good views, which we’ve found is ultimately important to the our level of enjoyment.
8.  Mail and shipping fees: Since we’re unable to receive mail, piece by piece, in most countries, we often make purchases for clothing and supplies, accumulating them along with any snail mail that may arrive, placing them in one large box to be shipped. Most products we purchase include free shipping, but we must pay exorbitant fees to have all of the items sent to us at specific locations. For example, the box being shipped today which includes all the clothing we had to purchase for Antarctica, my new laptop and other supplies, we’re incurring a US $450 (CRC 256,199) shipping fee for the items to be shipped FedEx from Nevada to our upcoming hotel in Fort Lauderdale. This requires our mailing service to open all the arriving packages and boxes, toss the paper and packing materials and neatly place all the items in one box. Their fees imposed for this process are included in the above price.
A leopard atop a high perch.

9.  Internet/Wi-Fi/SIM card fees: We cannot travel without regular access to Wi-Fi; not at hotels, airports, and vacation homes. With our daily posts, photos and research, we chose not to be without Internet services for even a day. Ensuring a connection is always readily available often results in us paying added fees, including SIM cards for phone and data, when we chose not to pay the outrageous costs for roaming cell service in the US.

10. Visas – entering and exiting fees: Upon entering and exiting some countries, an arbitrary fee is charged for visiting their country. This is not the case in every country, but when we encounter such situations we may pay as much as US $40 (CRC 22,7773) at each immigration stop.
All of the above fees and more quickly add up to thousands of dollars each year. Although under many circumstances, we’ve opted for the lowest possible costs for each of the above, willing to forgo some conveniences, we’ve found paying these fees, although often begrudgingly, make life just a whole lot easier.
Sloths, known to by shy, are not easy to photograph when they tend to stay well hidden and out of sight.
We’re not backpackers. We don’t live in hostels. We don’t always use public transportation, preferring taxis and rental cars as an alternative. We aren’t 25 years old with minimal requirements. Nor, are we “high maintenance” always requiring the “best” of everything. Most likely, we fall somewhere in the middle, seeking a somewhat comfortable and somewhat convenient life as nomads.
May your life be comfortable and convenient.
Photo from one year ago today, November 14, 2016:
Tom’s shot of the sunset as we set sailed to our next destination. For more details, please click here.

Comments and responses Surcharges are a necessary evil we chose while traveling the world…More wildlife photos from Costa Rica…

  1. Anonymous

    Hello Jess and Tom. It's Gary and Judy from the desert in Arizona. We met not long after your adventure began. . . The bride had a full knee replacement 1 Nov. and will have the second mid December. Thrilled that you are still living the life ! ! ! We hope to resume travel sometime in early to mid 2018.

    Peace love and happiness and thanks for trailblazing a new path for retiree's ! ! !

  2. Jessica

    Gary & Judy,
    We are so excited to hear from you! Sorry to hear Judy had to have the knee surgeries but surely in no time at all she'll be on the mend and you'll both be rearing to go back to traveling. Ironically, we spoke of the two of you in the past week prior to receiving your comment.

    Stay well and travel safely and do stay in touch!
    Much love always,
    Jess & Tom

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