Getting away can be a restful, nourishing and peaceful experience. There’s just something about sleeping in a hotel where you don’t have to make your own bed or clean your own room that can rejuvenate the body and mind. But that peace might be crushed if you look at your bill upon checkout only to find that you have paid for a bunch of unexpected fees you didn’t see coming.
At every step of the process, from booking to arriving to dining, using the internet and cleaning your hotel room, hotels have learned to work in fees that quickly add up. Here are 10 hidden hotel fees to look for and avoid when possible.
Last updated: Sept. 23, 2021
If you’re staying at a location that has amenities beyond the basics, they may charge you a global "resort fee." While there aren’t many ways to avoid paying them if the hotel charges them, you can learn to identify them in advance when booking, according to Forbes, by clicking “view total price” on any online booking. This should break down all the taxes and fees in addition to the main price. Additionally, if you have a card with points, or belong to a hotel’s loyalty program, they often waive fees for members, according to The Points Guy.
Some hotels anticipate high demand for Wi-Fi usage and charge a fee to log on to their network. If you wind up at one of these hotels, and you have the data to spare, you can instead use your phone or other tablet as a hotspot, or purchase a hotspot device you can travel with, according to Travel Insider.
While most guests probably know that anything included in a minibar or snack bar in a hotel room comes with a cost, occasionally, what looks like complimentary items such as water or certain snacks also have a price. The best option is to avoid eating or drinking anything in the room until checking with the front desk, and better yet, pack your own snacks.
While many hotels are able to offer free parking, don’t count on it, especially if your hotel is in an area with limited external parking. To save on these fees, plan ahead and look for more affordable, or even free, parking within walking distance, or use a ride-share service to get you from your car to your hotel. Sometimes the cost of a Lyft or Uber to go a few blocks for free parking is worth it by comparison.
Some hotels with a gym add on a fee for its use, whether you plan to use it or not, according to Kiplinger. If you don't plan to use the gym, you can ask to have this fee removed. If you actually want to use the gym, but don’t want to pay the fee, see if they have a branch of your regular gym nearby, or consider traveling with some light equipment or exercise videos you can do in your room.
Early Check-In Fees
If you show up hours before official check-in time, or even if you call ahead, some hotels may want to charge you a fee for early check-in. If negotiating with the hotel gets you nowhere, you have a couple solutions: avoid checking in early or avoid hotels with these kinds of fees.
Additional Guest Fees
If you booked a hotel room for only two people but show up with three or four, you may be hit with an additional guest fee, ranging from $20 to $50 per person, per night, according to Smarter Travel. You can always try to negotiate away those fees, and some hotel loyalty programs waive them, but you should check with the hotel in advance to avoid this fee.
Online Reservation or Booking Fees
Booking a hotel online is the easy and convenient way to go. But in some cases, it might also be more expensive, according to Consumer Reports. Some hotels or third-party booking services add as much as $25 per room, per night simply because you booked online. You might try calling the hotel directly to avoid paying such a fee.
If you stay in a hotel that contains a safe in it, check with the front desk to be sure you aren’t be charged for it unless you use it. Some hotels tack on a safe fee just because, according to Consumer Reports.
While it’s only good etiquette to leave housekeeping a cash gratuity, double-check that you aren’t already being charged a mandatory housekeeping gratuity so you don’t pay double.
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