Hidden Hotel Fees: What Naive Tourists Pay For? What Should You Be Aware of?

Hidden Hotel Fees

Hotels collect over $1 billion annually in hidden hotel fees. Have you ever checked out of a hotel with an unpleasant aftertaste and feeling like you’ve been cheated? This happens when you are forced to pay for additional services at the hotel. Moreover, it is not at all a fact that you used everything that is indicated in the invoice. Hidden hotel fees are called “hidden” because hotels try not to advertise them. To help you avoid unexpected expenses, we have collected the most common tricks that hotels use to ease the wallet of the naive tourist.

Hotel Fees and Surcharges You May Not Be Aware Of

Early Departure Fee

This is one of the most unexpected things that can await all tourists. Let’s first figure out what the early departure fee is? This is a fee that you may be charged if you decide to move in or out earlier than you planned. Typical situation: your plane flew in early in the morning, your hotel reservation indicated the check-in time at 2 pm, but you were kindly checked in earlier. You are already on the hook and ready to pay your early check-in bill. Such bills can be commensurate with the daily room rate, so ask in advance how much it would cost you to check in or check out earlier than the specified time. Of course, some hotels would not charge you even a cent for early check-in, but it’s better to play it safe.


Minibar fees

The hotel minibar can be a trap. Cashews, pistachios, biscuits, and mini candies come in small jars that can be very expensive. It is very common to find a bottle of water on the bedside table. It may seem that it is free, or at least is already included in the general bill. However, in most cases, its cost is included in a separate fee.

In hotel practice, there are cases when cunning guests, taking one or two treats from the mini-bar, replace them with a similar product from the store around the corner. Warning: don’t do this! Many minibars are equipped with special sensors that send a signal to the front desk when something is removed from the bar. In this case, the payment is instantly added to your account and cancellation can be difficult. If you want to have a snack before bed, or while watching a movie, then take care of this in advance and buy nuts, candy, or cookies at the store.

Additional Amenities in the Room

There is a large category of fees in hotels, which may include such necessary things as a safe, air conditioner, or refrigerator. Usually, upon check-in, the hotel administrator or staff immediately announce that the use of these things is paid, and specify the rental amount. Sometimes this is a fee for the entire period of stay, and sometimes for a day, so be careful.

Resort and Other Vague Fees

It is a pleasure to visit the beautiful resort complex and enjoy all its amenities. In many places, they are included in the room rate, making them a welcome addition to the sun, surfing, and ocean breezes. But sometimes you can find that this “resort fee” has been added to your bill. And from time to time, it even appears in places that you cannot accurately classify as a resort. Our advice, in this case, is simple: always ask the administrator what this or that fee means because very often it is worded vaguely. You may not be able to remove this item from the general account, but clarification would help you avoid it in the future.

Extra Guest Fee

A quick way to increase the price of your hotel room is to get the hotel extra person fee. If the room is for two people, inviting a third adult may cost you an extra $20 to $50 per night. Let’s figure it out, do hotels charge per person or per room? In general, it depends on the hotel. But in most cases, the cost of rooms in hotels is indicated per room, not per person. However, you may be charged extra for a roll-away bed. How to avoid extra person charges in hotels? Always indicate the exact number of guests when booking to get an accurate price. Some resourceful tourists plan to bypass such a fee by spending an extra person in a hotel room in secret. But if you get caught, then you risk paying even more than you would have originally.

Internet and Wi-Fi Fees

Internet and Wi-Fi Fees
man paying bill at hotel front desk

In many hotels, wireless Internet is available free of charge. Some guests simply cannot do without WI-Fi and would pay almost any price, which is what hotel owners use. If it is not important for you where to surf the Internet, you can use the nearest Internet café, saving a significant amount.

Parking Fee

Free parking in urban hotels is a fading perk. Parking fees at the hotel can be daunting. But there are ways to avoid this. One of them is to simply drive a little further along the block in search of parking. They may be less convenient but are much cheaper than hotel parking.

In-Room Movie Rental

With the advent of entertainment on handheld devices and the Internet, the demand for in-room movies in large hotels has plummeted. In most cases, this leads to the fact that the prices for watching movies get even higher. It is best to avoid watching hotel movies so as not to increase your bill.


As a rule, even the cheapest hotel room has a telephone. International negotiations are almost always paid, but it also happens that even for city calls, a tourist receives a large bill when checking out. The best, and usually the most economical, solution to this problem is to buy a local sim card upon arrival and use it for local calls.

Be vigilant and always ask the administrator if you are not sure whether a fee is required for a particular service. If you want to avoid as many of these unforeseen expenses as possible, then always check the prices of rooms and services on the hotel’s website. Also, be sure to inquire about local taxes and additional fees from tourists. And of course, don’t forget about courtesy. After all, the hotel workers are the same people. If you behave kindly, they would be happy to help you and some problems can be solved easier and faster.

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