Buyer Beware: Hotel's Hidden Charges

Hotel Fees Can Run Up Your Bill
By: Peopleimages

Hotel fees are one of the most aggravating things about travel these days. According to, 4 of people's top 11 pet peeves are fee-related. We all hate resort fees, valet charges, lounge chair charges, and WiFi charges. 

The hotel that looked like a bargain based on its daily rate can quickly turn into an over-priced experience that leaves you feeling cheated. When you check a hotel's price, look out for these fees that can run your bill up in a hurry.

Hidden Hotel Fees to Look Out For

These are some of the most common extra fees that could run up your hotel room's daily rate. Don't assume that the fees don't exist just because you don't see them. In fact, some hotels have been cited for deliberately hiding them. An old-fashioned telephone call may be your best defense against surprises later.

  • Resort fees: Once common only at places with "resort" in the name, they're now popping up in other places under various names and may bundle things like WiFi, newspaper, or fitness center use. Even if you don't use any of them. It's always worth a try to get the fee waived, but that may be easier to negotiate when you're checking in than when you're checking out.
  • Internet Wi-Fi Fees: If your mobile phone can create a WiFi hotspot and your plan will cover the extra data usage, try that, or walk down the street to one of those coffee shops that offer it for free.
  • Parking fees: In larger cities, this can cost $50 per day. That can make a $100 room cost 50% more than you expected. Instead of parking at the hotel, use an app like ParkMe to find a lower-priced spot nearby.
  • Fitness center fees: If you want to work out, you may not be able to avoid this one. First, find out if your home gym has reciprocal relationships with one at your destination.
  • Early departure fees: If you check out before the end of your reservation, some hotels charge an early departure fee. It runs $50 or more. You can avoid it by joining the hotel's loyalty program which often exempts members from it. You should also check your reservation confirmation to see if it mentions the fee. If you have an emergency, ask to speak to the manager. They may be able to grant an exception or give you a credit for a future stay.
  • Cancelation Fees: These fees are more common at small, privately owned properties, and they can be exorbitant, as much as the cost of your entire reserved stay.
  • Telephone Fees: You probably know by now what to do about this one. Take your cell phone and use it instead, or use another telephone service like Skype or FaceTime.
  • Minibar Charges: Some hotel minibars use motion sensors to detect when someone moves things around. Then they assume that you took something out and charge you for it. That can happen even if you only popped your bottle of water in there to cool it off. The best way to avoid these charges is simple; don't open the door.

Ways to Cut Costs at Your Hotel

If your hotel charges any of the fees mentioned above (or others), it might still be the best bargain overall. Before you pass on it just based on how much fees add to your fill, check these freebies. They can reduce the overall cost of your stay compared to other hotels.

  • Free breakfast or afternoon wine and snacks (if you will eat/drink them)
  • Free coffee and tea and a coffee maker in your room (if you will use it)
  • Free newspapers (but only if you read them)
  • Free WiFi