Extra-Fee Frenzy: What Hotels Are Hiding in the Fine Print

Extra-Fee Frenzy: What Hotels Are Hiding in the Fine Print

The number of Americans hitting the road this Labor Day is finally expected to surpass pre-recession highs—with almost 35 million people projected to travel over the long weekend.

Translation: Annual Labor Day airport lines and traffic jams will be more prevalent than ever this year.

But, unfortunately, new research finds that bumper-to-bumper gridlocks likely won't be the only nuisance wreaking havoc on your holiday this year: Hotel fees and surcharges are also reaching new records.

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According to a new study by New York University hospitality professor Bjorn Hanson, hotels will rake in roughly $2.25 billion in revenue this year simply from added fees—a new record and almost double the amount they collected 10 years ago.

Sneaky add-ons are now taking the form of everything from mandatory tips and paying for the ability to store your luggage in the lobby post-checkout to even wackier fees, like charges for placing personal items in the mini-fridge or checking into a room with a safe for your valuables.

What's more, reasoning with the receptionist to waive those irksome fees is increasingly no longer much of an option. Thanks to stricter management rules and more established pricing, it's also "the most difficult it's ever been to get a charge removed," Hanson told the Associated Press.

Bottom line? With fewer and fewer amenities coming complimentary, and hotel chains increasingly pinpointing new opportunities to nickel and dime guests, it's more important than ever to read the fine print of your bill—and make sure your travel budget accounts for some inevitable add-ons.

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