Avoid Hotel Fees – Tips for Saving on Accommodation

in Trip Planning

Gone are the days when paying the hotel tariff entitled us to enjoy all the perks our accommodation offered. Today our rooms are full of traps which can drain the pockets of the uninitiated. Here’s our guide to avoiding those pesky accommodation fees.

Look out for parking. The days of complementary hotel parking are all but over. These days you’ll likely spend a significant amount on daily parking, and even more if you hand your keys to a valet. These charges can add up, particularly if you are enjoying an extended getaway. Consider parking off site, such as in the local council’s parking lot or in a well-lit back street. Or perhaps leave your car at home altogether. Using public transport rather than your own vehicle is often a more economical choice.

Beware the mini bar. Those in-room candy bars and alcoholic beverages may look tempting, but they come with inflated prices. The treats may be convenient, but you’ll find similar items at a local store. Don’t think you can outwit the hotel either by enjoying the snacks, then replacing them later. Many high tech mini bars have sensors which signal to the front desk the moment an item is removed!

Hang up the phone. Most accommodation comes with in-room phones, but resist picking them up. Many hotels even charge for local calls, and the price for dialing long-distance can be astronomical. Using your own cell phone is generally a much smarter option, although remember to consider international roaming charges if you’re holidaying abroad.

Re-use your towels. This tip isn’t simply about saving the planet; it could also save you serious coin. Most hotels have a warm, fuzzy sign encouraging guests to re-use their towels as an environmental measure. It seems like a gentle note, but most guests don’t know they could face charges if they don’t oblige. New towel fees are common in Costa Rica’s eco-friendly accommodation options, but they’re becoming more prevalent in other parts of the world.

Consider breakfast. The promise of breakfast the next day is a real selling point for bed and breakfast accommodation and many larger hotels. But it’s smart to know exactly what your accommodation entitles you to. Sometimes the hot portion of a buffet will cost extra, sometimes your entire morning meal will incur a charge. Consider this, as often bacon and eggs at a local café will be much cheaper.

Room service could cost more than you think. Most of us know the prices on the room service menu are greatly inflated. We’ll happily pay the surcharge to indulge our midnight cravings for mac and cheese. However the money we’ll spend doesn’t always end at the cost of the meal. Many hotels add a gratuity of between 15 and 20 per cent to the base room service charge. Unknowingly, many guests also leave the staff an additional tip. And on top of that, you could even face a clean-up charge if you leave those dishes in the room, rather than at the door. Your craving may be satisfied, but your wallet may smart.

Watch the work out. The use of the gym is often included in a hotel package, but this isn’t always the case. Don’t assume a gym key and access code entitles you to sweat it out at your leisure. Some establishments will slap you with a charge the moment you access the workout room. Reject those fees and burn those calories with a run around the local area. The view’s sure to be an improvement over the hotel gym’s four walls!

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