The cost of comfort
Find a great air fare to Paris? A deal on that charming boutique hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Before you feel too smug about your prowess, you might want to take a look at some of hidden costs of travel.
The price of comfort is rising – even in some cases for services you don’t use. According to a U.S. study, consumers spend about $1.75 billion on hotel fees and surcharges every year.
Resort amenities fee. Many hotels are charging a resort amenities fee to cover amenities such as the fitness centre and swimming pool. In some cases these fees can be as much as $40 a day – even if you don’t use the services.
Mini-bar blues. You probably know that items in the mini-bar are expensive, but did you know many hotels charge re-stocking fees of around $2.50 on the first item for everything you remove?
Energy surcharge fee. Some hotels are now charging what is called an energy surcharge fee that can range from $3 to $6 per day.
Cancellation fees. Some hotels charge a hefty fee if you don’t cancel 48 hours in advance – and in some cases even 72 hours in advance. Early departure fees are also on the rise.
While you can’t usually avoid the charges, you can be forewarned. Be sure to ask about all surcharges and fees when you make your reservation.
Tip: not all websites detail fees and surcharges, so you may want to speak to a live person.
After adding taxes, fees and other surcharges, some ticket fares can nearly double. Need to change your reservation? Some airlines charge as much as several hundred dollars to switch flights.
Tip: depending on your airline, it could be cheaper to ship heavy bags to your destination rather than to take them on board. Excess baggage fees range from $25 to over $100 depending on the weight of the bag and the airline.
The rental car
To avoid a hefty “fill ‘er up” fee, be sure to fill up the gas tank before returning your rental care.
Tip: Try to find a gas station far enough from the airport to offer more reasonable prices – but not too far that your tank doesn’t register as being full.