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Hotel Fees You Should Know About

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 11:56
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dv1794022If you are ready to book your summer vacation, chances are that you have been researching hotels available in your vacation destination. Booking hotels has gone high tech: Instead of calling the individual hotel, you’re likely using travel websites to get the best deals. While this might save you money in the short term, it’s important to get in touch with the hotel itself before booking so that you can find out the policies on fees that are not included in the nightly rate. Here are a few to watch out for and to ask about so that you can avoid nasty surprises when you go to check out:

  • Early Arrival Fees  Check the hotel website or ask what their check-in policy is. Many hotels will allow you to check in early for free, but others charge a fee or disallow it altogether. One way around this, if you are arriving to your destination in the morning or early afternoon, is to leave your bags at the hotel while you make use of the amenities or simply sightsee in the area. Watch out, though: Some hotels are now charging a fee to store your bags. Make sure that you ask ahead of time.

  • Resort Fees  One way that hotels can sometimes offer what seem like lower rates is to tack on an additional “resort fee” of $10, $20 or $30 (or more!) per night. Some travel websites will make this clear, but others don’t, so it’s important to check with the hotel. These fees might cover things like tips to bellhops and valets, use of the pool and fitness room, and wi-fi in your room. Or, they might not. Find out what the resort fee includes as well as what it doesn’t. Also, if you are only staying in the hotel for the night and will not be making use of any of the amenities, talk to the manager to see if you can have the resort fee waived.

  • For-Fee Wi-Fi  Many hotels offer free wi-fi, but it might be bare-bones basic and load slowly. If you need  higher speed wi-fi, it can cost you. Other hotels offer free Internet access in the lobby or other common areas, but not in the rooms themselves. Seeing “free wi-fi” in a hotel’s listing might not mean what you think it means, so be sure to find out the details before booking if you plan on working from your room.

  • Snack and Mini-Bar Fees  Most of us know that the items in a mini-bar are not free. Some hotels will actually charge you a fee if you move the items around, though, because they have sensors installed that will indicate that an item was removed. Make sure you check your bill upon checking out, and if you see charges for an item that you did not consume, speak up right away. There have also been incidences of hotels leaving a basket of snacks or bottled water in the room; if you aren’t sure, call the front desk to find out whether they are complimentary or if you will be assessed a fee to partake.

  • Parking and Valet Service Fees  Some hotels charge for parking, and some have mandatory valet service for their parking lots or garages. Although the valet service might be touted as free, you will still need to tip the valet each time he retrieves your vehicle, and that can add up. If you are staying in a city, it might be worth looking into parking garages or even street parking in the area. A full-day (or full-week) pass at a nearby parking garage can end up costing less than valet tips if you plan on being in and out throughout the day or week.

The best way to find out about hidden hotel fees is simply to ask. Remember that if you are getting a great deal on the room rate, paying resort and other fees can still work out to you paying less than you would if you had stayed at a higher-priced hotel with no fees, so it pays to ask some questions and do the math.

The post Hotel Fees You Should Know About appeared first on Atlas Cruises and Tours Travel Blog.


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