This blog post was updated on July 12, 2021.
When you receive your final hotel bill, you might be in for sticker shock. More and more hotels are tacking on fees and they aren’t necessary charges you see coming. Internet, parking or even breakfast charges are becoming more and more standard at hotels that they aren’t surprising travelers anymore. However, there are a number of fees that are still unexpected when you check out of your hotel. Here are four surprising fees your hotel might be charging you and how to go about avoiding the charges.
Early Check-In Fee: Check-in is in an hour or so and you decide to see if you can check-in early. The hotel clerk allows you to check in early. You happily accept the offer. When you go to check out, you have been charged a fraction or even half of a night’s stay, just for checking in early. The early bird does not get the worm when it comes to early hotel check-ins.
One easy way to avoid the early check-in fee is merely to examine check-in times before you book properties. Hotels with late check-ins should be avoided as you are more likely to want to check in earlier and you are usually paying a pretty price for even less time in your room on properties with late check-ins. Travelers can also avoid the early check-in by booking properties that are known for allowing you to check in early.
Mini Bar Restocking Fee: Most travelers know that there is usually a charge for those little liquor bottles and bags of peanuts. What you might not know is that you are also going to incur a mini bar restocking fee. Hotels often charge a few more dollars just to replace what you ate or imbibed. To avoid the dreaded mini-bar restocking fee you can pack your own drinks and snacks. Not only will you be saving on the restocking fee but you also won’t be paying $10 for three peanuts.
Resort Fees: Hotels that advertise as being resort properties probably have a resort fee too. Resort fees are usually daily amounts tacked on to the room rate. They are fees to cover hotels with grand pools, gyms and other resort-like amenities. Even if you didn’t swim in that giant pool, you will pay for it. The easiest way to dodge the resort fee is merely to read the fine print before you book. You can generally find hotels that might cost a few dollars more in their base price, but they don’t charge a resort fee. Also, you should avoid resort fee prone properties if you are planning on just spending a night at the hotel. You will almost never get your money’s worth and use all of the amenities they are charging you for in the first place.
Service Fees: This past summer, I would search for hotels in Europe. I would eventually find one that I wanted to book, only to see a grand total much different than the original price I was quoted. Upon further inspection, I could see that a massive service fee was driving up the room rate. Some hotels charge a service fee, usually to cover gratuity for housekeepers and bellhops. Other properties will leave the tipping up to you. If you want to avoid the massive service fees, don’t book places that put the tipping choice in the hotel’s hands. If you check into a very dirty room, you basically just left a tip for such poor service if you pay these service fees upfront.