Avoiding Hidden Hotel Fees

Staying in a hotel can be an enjoyable experience. Regardless of whether it’s for business or pleasure, it gives you the feeling of being on vacation as you spend some time away from the normalcy of your life. This experience, however, can drain your pockets dry. Hotels like to add charges to a guest’s bill for services available, but not necessarily used. They also like to charge exorbitant prices for commonplace items, such as toothpaste or soda. Here are a few hotel fees that you should keep an eye out for and some hints on how you can avoid them.

Reserve Online

Visit websites like Orbitz.com or Expedia.com to reserve a hotel room. These websites are usually more transparent regarding the fees that hotels charge in addition to room rates and taxes. With this information in hand, you can compare hotels to get the best deal by avoiding hidden fees. You may also get a better rate through one of these websites than you could by reserving a room on the hotel’s website.


Some hotels charge you a gratuity for service from housekeepers and from bellmen. To avoid tipping for housekeeping, simply put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door for stays of more than one day. Housekeepers are not allowed to enter your room if this sign is displayed. For bellman, simply handle your own baggage. If you tipped housekeeping or the bellman out of your own pocket, inform the front desk attendant. This may get the charge removed from your bill as well.

Checking In or Out Early

If you want to get into your room before the standard check-in time or plan on leaving prior to your scheduled departure date, you may be charged for this as well. Contact the hotel where you will be staying to see if there is a charge for either of these. Housekeeping usually has up until check-in time to prepare rooms for new guests and some rooms will be completely cleaned early. Use this fact to your advantage when trying to check-in early. As for gaining reprieve from the early check-out fee, simply requesting it be removed may be enough to avoid the charge.

Safe Warranty

Some hotels which offer a safe have an amenity charge for this service regardless of whether you use the safe or not. Try to find out if the hotel you’re visiting has such a charge. At check-in, simply request the charge removed if you do not need the safe. Request that the charge be removed at check-out as well if you notice it on your bill.

Minibar Items

Visiting hotels that offer minibars in their rooms can add some serious charges to your bill. Minibar items can be quite expensive and all you have to do is open them. It’s not odd for a bottle of water or Coca-Cola in a hotel room to cost five dollars or more. You may even be charged a fee because housekeeping will have to restock the minibar. Avoid these items at all costs by bringing your own refreshments.

Upon checking-out, make sure to review your bill carefully. Ask questions about any charges that seem odd or unnecessary. Hotels expect guests to leave in a rush and not take the time to review the charges on their bill. Don’t let this happen to you. Try to get your bill the night before or request a wake-up call early enough that you have time to prepare for departure and review your bill. Hotels are usually pretty flexible with some of their fees because they want you to return as a guest. Take advantage of this fact and save yourself some money.