Hidden fees and charges.

Travelers Confused by Hidden Fees and Charges While on Trips

  • Travel Team
Jun 06, 2012



When travelers are budgeting out their future getaway, they may not think to include a special category for hidden or unexpected fees. Many airlines, accommodations and even tour operators add charges to their services beside standard taxes, many of which may not be listed in the rates found online.

Many travelers are surprised to find they may be paying more than they expect for their vacations and business trips. While the majority of passengers on planes know that several airlines will charge for things like additional baggage, other, smaller fees quickly add up. This can greatly affect those who are looking to enjoy a wallet-friendly getaway, only to unknowingly experience a larger bill in the end.

“Our research shows that ancillary fees have a significant impact on travel budgets and policies,” said Joe Bates, senior director of research for the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

Of the top 10 hidden charges that travel companies add to their fares, four of the most pervasive are from airlines, according to the GBTA. Most stem from food and beverages services, though entertainment costs were also considerable.

If travelers are unsure about fees associated with airline snacks or entertainment, they can simply pack their own before boarding to save on these charges, especially when taking a flight with children or large groups.

Car rentals can have excessive hidden fees

Besides airlines, another sector that charges travelers additional fees is the car rental industry. When searching for a vehicle to use in your new destination, you may think the advertised rates are what you will pay. However, some companies up the price for rentals not dropped off at the same office, or have patrons pay extra for gas when they fill up their tank at the car rental location.

Many fees can be avoided with the proper preparation. Individuals renting vehicles may wish to speak with the company ahead of time to see if fuel prices are higher at their private pumps, so save money by filling up before returning the car.

Common fees associated with car rental organizations also included drop-off fees and additional overages for passing tolls while using the car.

Accommodations often charge for seemingly free amenities

Hotels are not immune to cloaked fees either. Since many places require a credit card on record before the traveler is able to check-in, these small fees can quickly add-up, sometimes without a guest’s knowledge. For instance, many know that minibars often charge for anything consumed inside the fridge, but sometimes the seemingly complimentary treats or bottles of water that are commonly left out as a greeting may not actually come included with the posted rate.

Checking ahead of time to make sure any consumables in the room are free can help travelers save on their bottom lines. While speaking to the hotel, checking on ancillary fees can also be helpful, as you may lower the rate by not using the fitness center or reading the delivered newspaper, which can sometimes be automatically added to a hotel room rate.

When choosing to take a vacation abroad, travelers need to be well prepared for all types of scenarios, whether it be an unexpected hike in hotel fees or handling a trip cancellation. However, investing in travel medical insurance can be a great way to start planning for an upcoming getaway by ensuring that travelers’ health and safety are taken care of while on the road.


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