Though the U.S. is well known for having some of the best plastic surgeons on the planet, the cost of getting cosmetic work done in America can get pretty steep in a hurry.
People want to look “like a million bucks,” but few are interested in spending that kind of money to dial in their features.
That’s why close to a million Americans a year choose to go under the surgeon’s scalpel outside of the United States, jumping aboard the medical tourism train while saving a mountain of money along the way.
(The safety of this practice will be covered elsewhere; for the moment, let’s look at the additional costs involved in it. To avoid the most common pitfalls of plastic surgery tourism, see this guide from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.)
Unsurprisingly, though, there are often some surprise costs that you may overlook when researching the best place to get inexpensive (but still top-quality) cosmetic surgery taken care of.
Below we run through six things that are sure to cost money that you might not be factoring into your total bill just yet; expenses that can add up in a hurry and may push your budget beyond comfort if you’re not careful.
1. Air Fare
If you’re going to be traveling overseas to get cosmetic work done you are inevitably going to need to do a bit of traveling, and that means ponying up for airfare.
A quick jump to Puerto Rico for some work done (or a jaunt down to Mexico) likely won’t blow up your bank account, but if you’re thinking about going to Southeast Asia or India to court plastic surgery, your airfare prices are going to jump big time.
Be sure that you are factoring in the cost of round-trip airfare (and maybe a passport fee) when working on your budget.
2. Hotel or Other Accommodations
Hotel rooms, surgical recovery centers, and other accommodations (AirBnB for example) present other fees that have to be paid. Depending upon where you travel to for plastic surgery, your non-US provided may include these fees as part of an all-inclusive package.
Most every locale that offers quality plastic surgery abroad has a wide variety of accommodation options to pick and choose from.
You’ll have the freedom to pick rooms and spots to rest and recover that fit your budget perfectly, and you’ll usually (depending again on your ultimate destination) be able to spend a lot less on accommodations abroad than you would here in the US.
If you have the opportunity (and the budget) AirBnB–or something similar–is one way to go.
You’ll have more privacy, access to more facilities and amenities, and will likely feel a lot more comfortable recovering from plastic surgery than you would up in a hotel room.
Just be sure your accommodations are safe, and that they are in reasonable proximity to your plastic surgeon, should you need to rapidly return for check ups, or in the event that something has (or may have) gone wrong. You do not want distance, or a lack of transport, to prevent or dissuade you at all from reaching out to re-visiting your surgeon if symptoms indicate that you should.
3. Local Transportation
Local transportation to and from the plastic surgery facility, out and about around town, and to and from the airport can look inexpensive at first but starts to add up pretty quickly.
Taxi fees are (almost always) going to be more expensive than Uber fees unless.
You might even consider renting your own personal vehicle or hiring a driver service to show you back and forth during your stay. You might be surprised at how affordable this option can be compared to what it might run you in the US. Again, safety and reliability should be high on your list of prerequisites for this service.
4. Dining Out and Entertainment
If you plan to spend any actual vacation time in the country you are getting plastic surgery in, you will have to fit this time in before your surgery, not after it.
After surgery, your biggest focus will be on recovery, and it’s unlikely you will have the physical capacity (or desire) to play tourist in the great country you’re now in. Recovery is a painful process, and one that shouldn’t be interrupted with anything that causes your body physical stress.
The chances are high that you’re going to be spending a lot more time resting and recovering after a surgical procedure than you will be spending time out on the dance floor or scuba diving.
That’ll help to keep costs lower than a standard vacation for sure.
Finally, you may or may not be on the hook for any medications you need following your operation and procedure.
Some plastic surgeons abroad offer full service packages that include the cost of medications needed for recovery, while others encourage you to purchase medications from local pharmacies and clinics out-of-pocket.
That’s something you’ll want to square away before you make your final decision.
All-Inclusive Surgery Packages
A lot of the all-inclusive plastic surgery vacation packages available on the market today are going to be more expensive than taking a piecemeal approach to planning and budgeting your trip. On the plus side, these packages are going to give you less stress and help ensure you don’t inadvertently overlook something that causes you stress while in a country you don’t usually call home.
Even still, though, some people like the all-inclusive nature of these kinds of packages even if it does come at a premium.
Knowing that everything but your airfare is going to be taking care of up front and center, that you’re going to have great accommodations to recover in, and that all of your extra expenses are going to be rolled into one flat rate bill–almost always paid ahead of time–offers a lot of peace of mind to be sure.
This approach is at least worthy of some consideration.