When you’re planning a trip, lodging can easily be one of the costliest aspects to budget for, especially if you’re opting for a luxury resort and/or you’re planning an extended stay. And when it comes to lodging, there are often other fees you’ll be required to pay, whether when you’re making your reservation or at checkout. These can be additional fees that you’ll be required to pay, for things you may not even or want or use, or they could be rolled into your nightly rate. As such, it’s important to remember that sorting your options by price and picking the lowest rate isn’t always the ideal way to find the best value—sometimes the costlier nightly rate at the nicer hotel could potentially save you money in the end. Because you have to account for the extras you might have to pay for, it’s important to check the fine print and find out if you’ll be charged any of the following hidden fees:
Even if it’s not technically representing itself as a “resort,” many hotels these days implement daily resort fees for use of the property’s amenities. This could include an extensive list of things, such as recreational activities, rental equipment, and so on. On the other hand, it could just be for a couple things, such as the hotel’s on-site gym and free coffee in the lobby every morning. It’s one thing if you know and understand these daily resort fees, but it can be another to be caught off-guard with these fees when you’re booking your room or checking out. If you’re going on vacation, there’s a good chance you’ll be using a lot of the hotel’s amenities anyway. But if you’re traveling for business or just need a place to sleep for the night, you might paying for extras that you’re not even taking advantage of. And when a hotel imposes a daily resort fee, this added expense applies to all guests, regardless of whether you even use those amenities. So whether you do or you don’t plan on using what’s included in that resort fee, be sure to check for it when you’re making your booking decisions. You might be better off paying a hotel that imposes a slightly higher nightly rate, but doesn’t also include resort fees.
Unless you’re staying somewhere very remote with a poor connection, just about any hotel you’ll stay at these days will have Internet available. However, some hotels will impose daily or even hourly rates for Internet use. While guests on vacation might welcome the break from technology temporarily, business travelers may not have that option, and will need to be online during a good portion of their stay. If you’ll definitely need to use the Internet during your stay, you might be better off paying more money for a hotel that offers free Internet to guests. Depending on how much you’ll need to be online, this can potentially save you a significant amount of money.
Some hotels will provide complimentary bottled water for guests, but usually anything inside that minibar will cost money, and most guests know this. However, many guests are surprised to learn that some hotels also charge restocking fees on top of the price for the actual item. That means if you think you’re paying five bucks for that drink, you might have to pay extra to have it replaced with a new one during your stay. Additionally, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t even touch anything in the minibar if you’re not prepared to buy it. Many minibar items have magnets underneath in order to detect movement, and even if you were simply browsing through the different options, you could have charges on your bill for items you didn’t even remove from the minibar.
Will you be arriving to your hotel early, or will you have a later flight and prefer to leave your room after the normal check-out time? As long as there is availability, many hotels are willing to let guests check into their rooms a bit early or even check-out a few hours later, and at no extra cost. However, be sure to confirm that an early check-in or late check-out would be complimentary, unless you are willing to pay those extra fees. Sometimes, checking in early or late can cost just as much as an extra night, so you’ll certainly want to double check ahead of time if you’ll be charged.
Will you have some time to kill before your flight after you check out of your room, and won’t be able to receive a late check-out without paying extra? Most hotels are happy to store bags for their guests as a convenience. While many will do this free of charge (gratuity is often expected), not all hotels do. Before you book your next hotel, double check your flight schedule and find out if you’ll need to store your luggage for a few hours. As you narrow down your hotel choices, you might want to consider eliminating the hotels that charge extra for this service, as there are plenty that will offer it at no additional cost. Alternatively, if you already booked your hotel, but you haven’t chosen a flight yet, consider booking one that’s closer to checkout time. This way, you can just head to the airport after checking out, and won’t have to worry about paying extra in storage fees.
Additional costs for pets
If you’re bringing Fido along with you, be prepared to likely pay for it. Bear in mind, however, that some hotels have better pricing for furry friends than others. While some will just require deposits that are completely refundable (assuming there’s no damage), others impose non-refundable pet fees that could be as much as $100 or more, per pet. Sometimes, these are flat fees—regardless how long you’re staying. Other hotels, however, charge these fees per night; you could end up doubling or even tripling your lodging costs this way. If you know for sure you’ll be traveling with a pet, be sure to keep this in mind when exploring your lodging options.