The hospitality industry, like many others, has its fair share of extra charges. These “junk fees” can turn what seemed like a good deal into an expensive affair. From WiFi fees to resort fees, parking charges to towel fees, these added costs can be frustrating and unexpected. This article takes a detailed dive into the world of hotel junk fees, outlining the worst offenders and offering tips on how to avoid or minimize them.
Resort fees are one of the most complained-about hotel junk fees. This daily charge, often ranging from $25 to $45, is imposed by many resorts and some hotels, supposedly covering the cost of amenities such as the pool, gym, spa, and even newspapers. The frustration arises from the fact that the fee is charged regardless of whether or not guests use these amenities. Plus, this fee is usually disclosed only at the time of check-out, leading to a higher-than-expected bill.
In this digital age, charging for WiFi access can feel like a slap in the face, especially when budget hotels and even coffee shops often provide it for free. Some high-end hotels charge exorbitant rates for WiFi, which can be particularly burdensome for business travelers or families.
Many city and resort hotels charge a daily parking fee. While this may be expected in urban areas with limited parking, it can come as a surprise in more remote or suburban locations. The fees can vary wildly, from a modest $10 to a hefty $40 per day.
Early Check-In / Late Check-Out Fees
If you arrive early at your hotel or wish to check out a little later, you might be hit with an additional fee. Some hotels charge a fee for early check-in or late check-out, often as much as half the nightly rate.
Mini-Bar Restocking Fees
While most travelers expect to pay a premium for mini-bar items, few anticipate a restocking fee. Some hotels charge a fee just to restock the mini-bar, regardless of whether you replace the item yourself.
Some budget and resort hotels charge extra for pool or beach towels. While it’s not a huge expense, it’s an irritating charge that can add up over a long stay or for families.
In-Room Safe Fee
Even if you don’t use the in-room safe, some hotels include a small daily fee for it. This fee is usually non-negotiable, adding to your final bill.
Tips to Avoid or Minimize Junk Fees
- Do Your Research: Before booking, read the fine print and check for any additional fees that might apply during your stay.
- Ask Directly: Contact the hotel to clarify any unclear charges. Ask about resort fees, WiFi costs, parking, and other potential charges.
- Negotiate: Try negotiating fees away when you check-in. Hotels may waive some fees, such as WiFi or parking, especially if you are a frequent guest or member of their loyalty program.
- Consider Alternatives: Vacation rentals, like Airbnb or VRBO, often have fewer hidden fees, though you’ll still need to check for cleaning fees or service charges.
Hotel junk fees can add a significant amount to your travel budget, but being aware of the most common ones can help you anticipate and potentially avoid these extra costs. Transparency, assertiveness, and a bit of negotiation can go a long way in ensuring your hotel stay doesn’t break the bank.
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