How to Avoid These 5 Gotcha Travel Fees

November 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s no secret that it’s becoming more and more expensive to travel. If you think that airlines are the only ones tacking on additional fees, think again. Thankfully, most of these fees are avoidable. Whether you’re flying, renting a car or staying in a hotel, there are a slew of hidden fees that everyone should be aware of when traveling. After reading USA Today’s article on gotcha fees, we pulled a few of our favorites, add weigh in with our own experiences.

1. Telephone booking fees

Do you prefer to book your flights through a telephone customer service agent? If so, you may be surprised to learn that you’ve been paying extra for this privilege. At $25 per telephone booking through several major airlines, it might cost you more to book a flight than it would to call Ms. Cleo’s psychic hotline.

To avoid this fee, use the same tool you’re using to read this blog post: your computer or your tablet. Visit the airline’s website to purchase your ticket. If you need assistance, you can still call and speak to an agent without incurring a charge, as long as you book your ticket online.

2. Hotel parking fees

Visiting a big city and planning on bringing (or renting) a car? Expect to pay big bucks for hotel parking. Parking in most big cities is already quite expensive, and hotels typically charge even more than the norm. If you must bring a car, do your research. There are plenty of websites you can use to find the cheapest nightly parking rate in the area you’re staying. If you’re renting a car, consider picking up your rental only when you need it, or renting it for the day and returning it at night. Other services like Uber ride sharing service, a taxi, or even public transportation like San Francisco’s BART or Boston’s T are much less expensive and sometimes faster.

3. Car rental insurance

English: Car rental counters of New Chitose Ai...

English: Car rental counters of New Chitose Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Renting a car? The insurance the car rental agent insists you need can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of your rental. If you already have car insurance, you may not even need this insurance. Call your insurance company to find out if your existing policy covers rentals. Additionally, some credit cards (such as American Express) offers low-cost car rental insurance. Do your research before you book a rental car and avoid the need for this redundant insurance.

4. Resort fees

Surprise. The hotel you’re staying at may not resemble a resort in the traditional sense of the word, but they may still be charging you a resort fee, especially if you’re in a tourist town. These fees generally run about $25 per night, which add up if you staying long enough. The best way to avoid this fee is to simply ask the hotel if there are any additional fees before you book, and negotiate your way out of them. If you wait until checkout, you’re too late.

5. Early check-in fee

If you arrive at your hotel too early, it may cost you. Many hotels charge an early check-in fee for travelers who arrive before the official check-in time, which is usually around 1pm. If you arrive earlier in the day, be sure to ask about any hidden check-in fees before going through the check-in process. Don’t want to sit around the lobby for hours? Most hotels will store your bags for free until your room is ready (don’t forget to tip the bellman though).

What’s the craziest hidden fee you’ve run into when traveling? Share with your fellow travelers in the comments section.

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Matt Sill

Matt Sill is the Marketing Product Manager for Travelpro Products, creators of the original Rollaboard luggage, carry-on luggage, and suitcases.

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