Surprising Hidden Hotel Fees (and How to Avoid Them)

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Anyone who has been a hotel guest in recent years knows that hotels are finding ever more ways to sneak additional fees onto guests’ bills. Some of these tactics have become common knowledge, like the fact that many minibars now have sensors that detect when items are moved and adds a charge for them on your bill, regardless of whether or not you actually consume them. But others can be harder to spot, and can quickly make a dent in your final bill if you’re not prepared. To avoid the majority of the charges below, the best strategy is simply to ask in advance whether there is an additional associated fee, inquire about free-of-charge alternatives, and plan your stay accordingly.

Airport shuttles—This service was once almost exclusively complimentary, but more and more hotels are now beginning to charge for shuttle transportation to and from the local airport. If you’re planning to take your hotel’s airport shuttle and there is a fee, be sure to check that cost against other forms of airport transportation, like public buses or trains.

Bottled water and snacks—Never assume that any food or beverage left in the hotel room, even a small bottle of water on a bedside table, is complimentary. Always check with the front desk first.

Early check-in and late check-out—Some hotels will say that they allow guests to check in early or check out late without mentioning that an extra fee will apply in these cases.

In-room safe—Even if it’s never opened, an in-room safe can add an extra charge to your hotel bill just by being there. If you’re not planning to store anything valuable during your stay, it can be a good idea to request a room without a safe to avoid this surprise cost.

Internet access—Some hotels charge for wireless internet access by device rather than by room, so setting up Wi-Fi for both your smartphone and your laptop can actually double your costs in this category.

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