Deceptively Hidden Travel Fees to Watch Out For

What I am learning as I get older is that the real enjoyment that you get out of a vacation comes more from budgeting and not spending spontaneously. For most American family budgets, only about 2% is allocated for family vacations annually. The average cost for a family of four to go on a vacation is almost $5,000. Most domestic plane tickets cost about $400 while an international plane ticket costs about $1,000.

The basic $5,000 vacation budget covers transportation, lodging, and basic food costs for 10 to 14-days. Travelers have to pay more for extras like alcohol, costs for recreational activities, and more. Like various hidden travel fees. Unannounced and hidden travel fees that are only revealed during check-in procedures at hotel and resorts.
Hidden fees are becoming an expensive scourge of inconvenience that more travelers should be aware of.

Most travelers come home from vacation at least $1,500 more in debt, above their original travel budget, than before they left. Before you head out on your next vacation, be aware of these fees before they bust your next vacation budget.

Resort Fees

These are hidden, vaguely defined amenities and fees that are added to a previously advertised hotel room or resort reservation rate after check-in. Its basically a sizable and hidden fee that is only revealed when you check-in and right before you are handed a key. In most cases, your accommodation key won’t be handed to you until you pay the resort fee.

A resort fee pays for whatever additional fees or services that a hotel or resort decides is not a complimentary part of your original accommodation. This could include access to the mini-bar, WiFi, exercise facility, pool, and whatever else a hotel or resort decides justifies a resort fee. Most hotels and resorts do not advertise resort fees. It is a good idea to call ahead and ask before making a reservation. The average resort fee ranges between $21 to $25.

They are much higher at hotels and resorts located in large, metropolitan cities like New York City or Las Vegas. Be on the lookout for the sneaky, “per person resort fee,” whereupon each person in the reservation party is charged an individual resort fee.

Occupancy Tax

This is also known as a transit occupancy tax, bed tax, hotel unit tax, or some other definition clarity-adverse term. Basically, if you stay at a hotel, inn, or resort for less than a month, then you are charged a daily tax or fee. This could be $1.50-a-day, 15% of the overall cost, or more.

Charity Donation Tax

Yes, this is a real thing. Some hotels will charge you a hidden fee to make a donation, on the behalf of the hotel, to a charity of the hotel’s choosing. It could be just a few bucks. However, the hotel may not tell you about the fee or the charity destined to receive your donation tax. Wow. We live in a world where, the phrase, “donation tax,” exists.

In-Room Safe Fee

Some upscale hotels are charging patrons for the convenience of having a safe in their room. This is a service that usually had to be requested in the past, but now many hotels are trying to take choice out of the matter.

Why Are These Fees Hidden?

Hotels and resorts want to make as much money as possible. So, these hidden fees make reservations inquiry quotes, and published advertisement prices, look cheaper than they really are. They also don’t have to pay commissions to online lodging reservations websites if the hidden fees are not advertised publicly. When in doubt, call ahead and ask direct questions.

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