9 Tips to Avoid Irritating Hotel Fees

Hotels have increasingly turned to the fee model adopted by many airlines, in which services and amenities that used to be included in the price of your stay are now priced separately and added to your bill.

In some ways, hotel fees are even more annoying than airline fees, because it is difficult to get information about every fee charged by a particular hotel without calling the front desk, which can be time-consuming if you are comparing several different hotels in a particular location.

Do you find these hotel fees as annoying as I do?  Here are some tips on how to avoid those irritating hotel fees. 

Avoiding Hotel Fees

Some hotel fees are unavoidable. For example, if your hotel charges a parking fee and there is nowhere else to park your car, you can either pay to park your car or leave your car at home.

It is possible, however, to avoid some hotel fees. If your hotel charges a resort fee and you don't plan to use any of the services or privileges that fee covers, talk with the desk clerk when you check in and ask if you can have the resort fee waived. You can avoid telephone fees by using your own cell phone or by not making any calls from your room. If you skip watching movies and premium television, you will not have to pay extra for them.

Irritating Hotel Fees

Resort Fee - Hotels that charge resort fees claim that the fee covers a bundle of amenities such as bottled water, newspapers, WiFi and pool / gym use. If you don't plan to use any of the resort fee "privileges," make your case at the front desk and see if you can get this fee waived.

Early Check-in / Late Check-out Fee - Some hotels charge extra for the privilege of checking in early or checking out late. The Hilton Washington Dulles Airport, for example, charges $50 for early check-in and the same amount for late check-out. To avoid this fee, plan your arrival and departure times carefully, or join the hotel's rewards program and ask for this benefit.

Early Departure Fee - A few hotels charge a fee if you change your plans after you have checked in and decide to leave on an earlier date than was specified on your registration. The best way to avoid this fee is to ask about it before your trip begins so you can make an informed decision if your plans change.

Fitness Center Fee - While most hotel chains offer free fitness center use to their guests, some do charge a daily fee. To avoid paying for fitness center use, ask for a map of the city and go for a walk. Some hotels even provide special walking trail maps for their guests.

Minibar Fee - If a minibar is part of your room's furnishings, do not touch anything inside without first notifying the front desk that you do not plan to consume anything from it during your stay. Some minibars have sensors inside that trigger a charge to your bill if the item on top of the sensor is moved.

Room Safe Fee - A small number of hotels add a daily room safe fee to your bill. This fee normally ranges from $1 to $3 per day. It is difficult to find out about this fee when you reserve your room unless you talk with a reservation clerk. If you reserve online, also call and ask about room safe fees. If you don't plan to use the safe, ask to have this charge taken off your bill.

WiFi Fee - Many upscale hotels charge $9.95 per day or more for WiFi use. A few offer two levels of WiFi access, with higher bandwidth available at a higher cost. You can avoid this fee by bringing your own mobile hotspot or by going to local businesses or libraries that offer free WiFi.

Business Center Fee - A few hotels charge for use of their business centers. The specific charges are usually only available at your hotel. 

If you plan to use the business center, consider calling ahead to learn about possible charges.

Rollaway Bed / Baby Crib Fee - If your hotel charges for the use of a rollaway bed or baby crib, expect to pay $10 to $25 per day. This fee is difficult to avoid if you are traveling with an adult guest, but you can bring your own portable crib if you plan to travel with a baby.

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