Header Ads Widget

Why You Should Never Overlook Hidden Fees in Holiday Travel

A man checking in to a hotel.

Image source: Getty Images

Americans plan to spend an average of $2,005 to travel this holiday season and will likely encounter hidden fees for their hotel rooms and airfare. These "junk fees" are often out of sight when looking for travel deals and then rear their ugly heads just as consumers are about to tap the purchase button.

A Consumer Reports survey found that 35% of respondents encountered hidden fees for air travel, and 37% saw them when booking hotel stays. And these fees are more than just a minor nuisance. Pre-pandemic, hidden hotel fees cost consumers $2.9 billion annually.

The junk fees can quickly bust your holiday travel budget and wreak havoc on your personal finances. Here's what fees to look out for when booking your holiday travel and how to avoid them.

Common hidden travel fees

In your search for great travel destinations, you've likely come across an airfare or hotel room that was priced suspiciously higher once you added it to your cart and made it to the checkout page. Many hidden fees -- travel and otherwise -- can add up to 20% to the original price.

Here are some of the common travel fee culprits:

  • Baggage fee: Some airlines charge a fee for extra checked bags and may even charge for one checked bag.
  • Parking fee: Many hotels charge a daily parking fee, even if it's not valet parking.
  • Resort fee: Many hotels now charge a resort fee for amenities.
  • Airfare seat selection: Some airlines charge to select a specific seat or to sit with others in your travel party.
  • Early check-in/late check-out fees: What was once a courtesy move by hotels has become an additional revenue source.
  • Gym fee: Yes, some hotels are now charging you to use the gym.
  • Online reservation or booking fee: When booking travel plans, you may encounter a general booking or reservation fee added to your final cost.

While hotels can charge many hidden fees, it hardly compares to what airlines charge. Data from the consulting company IdeaWorks shows that baggage fees increased 39% between 2021 and 2023, totaling $20.9 billion worldwide.

How to avoid fees during holiday travel

The bad news is that it's not always possible to avoid paying fees when traveling. But completely overlooking them is a mistake, too, because there are a few steps you can take to steer clear of them.

When making your travel plans, check multiple booking sites and go through the full booking process, but stop short of buying your hotel or plane ticket. Doing this will show you all of the applicable fees.

The downside is that you'll have to spend time putting all your travel information into a booking app to see all the potential fees. To speed up the process, you may want to try the website Resort Fee Checker. You can search cities and specific hotels to see which ones charge fees and how much they are.

The good news is the government is taking steps to help consumers avoid paying these junk fees. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has already proposed a rule to ban businesses from charging hidden fees. The government has also taken some steps to help consumers find fees, including creating the website Flight Rights to show travelers which airlines charge families fees to sit together.

Hidden fees can demolish your travel budget, so be mindful of them as you plan your next trip. And if fees are putting a damper on your holiday travel plans this year, remember that a staycation is always a good option.

Alert: highest cash back card we've seen now has 0% intro APR until 2025

If you're using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money. Our experts love this top pick, which features a 0% intro APR for 15 months, an insane cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee.

In fact, this card is so good that our experts even use it personally. Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

Read our free review

We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Citigroup is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Chris Neiger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


댓글 쓰기

0 댓글