7 Tips to Beat Hotel Fees

Photo (cc) by Rodrigo_Soldon

The average price of a hotel stay is expected to jump 4 percent this summer, according to the consulting firm STR. Soon, you might spend an average of $106.64 to spend a night in a hotel.

But there are ways to beat that price. In 8 Tips to Save on Any Hotel – Even the Nation’s Trendiest, we give you tips for getting a cheaper rate – like booking early or simply asking for a better deal. But even with a better rate, hotels have found another way to get your money: fees.

Some hotels are tacking on mandatory fees for everything from an in-room safe to daily paper delivery to an “energy fee.” In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson describes a long list of hotel fees – and how to beat them. Check it out and then read on for more tips…

Stacy gave you an idea of just how ridiculous these fees get. Let’s review his solutions and add some others..

1. Stay in a mom-and-pop hotel

The simplest way to avoid the extra fees is to stay in a smaller, privately owned hotel that doesn’t charge them. Many small hotels and resorts compete with the big chains by not charging for local calls, umbrellas, towels, or anything else. So consider mom-and-pop places when you travel.

Unfortunately, there’s no meta-website that lets you search all small hotels around the country. Your best bet is to search the official visitor information site for your destination. So, for example, if you’re heading to DisneyWorld, check out Visit Central Florida, which lists hotels both big and small.

2. Ask for a list before you check in

Many hotels don’t list their fees as prominently as their rates. For example, the Hilton New Orleans Riverside lists its fees for self-parking and valet parking at the bottom of its Hotel Policies page, which begins:

Here you can find details of our Hotel Policies on items such as Check-In/Check-Out times, Cancellations, Payment, and much more. For additional details, please contact the hotel and speak to one of our helpful Team Members.

Expedia and Hotels.com list a few fees for their partner hotels – like a non-mandatory Internet charge and a rollaway bed fee – but suggest calling to learn about additional fees. It’s a pain to do that, but the alternative is that a great deal online might not be one when you arrive.

3. Request a waiver for mandatory services

During check-in, ask to see a list of fees. Then ask to speak to a manager. Ask the manager to waive any mandatory fees you won’t use. For example, if the hotel charges a fee for the hotel gym, but you know you won’t work out while you’re staying there, ask the manager to waive it. You shouldn’t have to pay for something you won’t use.

4. Find cheaper alternatives

If you usually use an optional service provided by the hotel, do some research ahead of time to find a cheaper nearby alternative before you check in. For example, hotels charge an average of $13.95 a day to use their WiFi, according to HotelChatter. Spend $2 on a cup of coffee and you can surf the Internet free at many coffee shops.

WiFi isn’t the only way to save. You can save by picking up your own morning newspaper, finding a late-night diner for after-hours meals, or washing your own clothes at a local laundromat. If you have a smartphone, use a free app like Yelp to help you find local businesses.

5. Check before you tip

“Gratuity included.” Those two little words cost me a ton of money on vacations simply because I forget to check before I tip and end up doing so twice. Before you tip anyone at a hotel, ask if the tip is already included. For example, I used to leave a tip for the housekeeper when I left the room – until I found out that many hotels include a housekeeping gratuity fee on the bill.

6. Bring your own

Some hotels will nickel-and-dime you for everything you use during your stay – way beyond the bag of mixed nuts in the minibar. For example, you might get charged for beach towels or gym towels. Save the cost and bring your own stuff from home. Pack a beach towel in your suitcase. Pick up some snacks and bottled drinks from a grocery store near your hotel. And if you’re going to use something in the hotel, ask what it will cost before you do.

7. Dispute before you pay

Give yourself plenty of time during check-out. Go through your entire bill and dispute anything you don’t agree with. Did the manager say he’d waive a charge? Make sure it didn’t show up on your bill anyway. Are you getting charged for the minibar when you didn’t use it? Some have a sensor that will automatically add a charge if you took something out but decided not to use it.

Ask the front desk to remove any extra charges you don’t think you deserve. If they won’t, get a manager.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
16 Products You Absolutely Do Not Need
16 Products You Absolutely Do Not Need

There are plenty of great ways to spend your money, but you can safely leave these products on the store shelf.

21 Purchases You Should Never Skimp On
21 Purchases You Should Never Skimp On

With some items, it makes sense to pay a little more rather than hopping on the lowest price.

5 Home Improvements That Help You ‘Age in Place’
5 Home Improvements That Help You ‘Age in Place’

These safety-conscious home upgrades can help retirees stay in their home.

Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State
Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State

Are you on track to retire at the same age as most residents of your state?

15 of the Most Outrageously Overpriced Products
15 of the Most Outrageously Overpriced Products

Retailers mark up products by hundreds of times their cost — but you don’t have to pay the premium.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach
10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach

Does the pandemic have you reaching for bleach more than ever before? Learn the ins and outs of using this powerful disinfectant.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.