The cost of a hotel stay is almost as confusing as the cost of a hospital stay.
That’s because you often don’t know the actual price until you’re staring at your bill in horror: $10 water, $20 Wi-Fi and a $50 resort fee! And you only stayed two nights!
Certain hotel chains are great about free parking. Others? Not so much. The cost of parking can run $25 a night or more—even for self-parking. This isn’t always clear when you make a reservation, so be sure to call and ask.
Be appreciative and leave a couple bucks per night or leave a note that you don’t need your room cleaned daily. Either way, budget for a little something at the end of your stay.
Hotel restaurants usually have subpar food and overpriced menus. But they have a captive audience, so they can charge whatever they want. Find a local dive around the corner and immerse yourself in the culture for a lot less cash.
You’re paying for convenience. And the cost is high. In New York City, for example, the average cost of a club sandwich is $24! Then there’s the tip, which is usually tacked on at 20%. If you must order from the hotel, go downstairs, order your food, and wait until it’s ready. This can save you a bundle.
Many hotels offer a certain number of complimentary bottles of water or K-cups. But here’s the tricky part: They put extras in your room that aren’t free. Read labels carefully to see how many drinks you’re allowed.
Are you a new mom who needs a refrigerator in your room? Do you want to lock up your valuables at night? In-room refrigerators and safe are usually available upon request—and for a price. Call and ask about this before you go, then budget for the fee.
The resort fee is probably the most hated fee of them all. What does it even cover? It’s free money for the hotel, so don’t expect them to waive the fee for you. If your hotel has the word resort in the name, that’s a signal you’ll be paying more. Make sure the amenities are actually worth it to you.
You’re a valued guest—until it’s time for you to leave. Checkout times differ by hotel, so be aware if you need to be out at 11 a.m. or noon. If not, you’ll pay more. If you know you’ll need more time, ask the front desk. They may be able to work around you for an hour or so. But don’t assume!
Hotels are expensive enough, so don’t tack an extra $20 or $50 to your tab without budgeting for it! Pick the hotel you can pay for. That way, you’ll leave calm and rested, not angry and asking to speak with a manager.