When life gets you down, even a short weekend away does wonders. The hard part of taking a holiday, no matter how short, is the (often) steep price tag that comes with it. Things get even more expensive when you don’t carefully read the Terms and Conditions of the services you hire. Hidden fees: they’re artfully buried under fancy terms and long sentences in the T&Cs. No matter how unfair it may seem to you, hidden fees are 100% legal as long as they’re declared in the contract and are within the bounds of the law. Yes, even when they’re not in the advertisement.
Check your Facebook or travel blogs, you’ll probably come across horror stories about some poor tourist needing to pay over 400% the advertised rates after booking “cheap airfares” or “cheap hotels”? The worst part is that those “surprise charges” were actually in the T&Cs. To make sure there are no nasty surprises in your travel bills (and maybe even find a way to take some charges out), here are Hidden Fees you should watch out for.
Flights & Airports
Before booking online or over the phone, be sure to check whether or not they charge you for reservations. You’d find this in either the Terms and Conditions or you can ask the live agent over the phone. I remember being offered to reserve airfare over the phone by a live agent — for an extra $14. I know, crazy right? If you go direct and don’t use a ‘specials’ website you can often avoid ‘online booking fees’ if you ask.
You know all those frequent flyer programs that give you “free flights”? Well, they’re not so great if you have to pay for so many extra fees for them. You might want to check the airport fees, rebooking fees, and even “refund fees” and additional fuel charges before booking using Miles or some other frequent flyer point program. The good news is, this varies from airline-to-airline. If you’re lucky, your preferred airline would let you book through your miles without them. HOT TIP: Having frequent flyer points or being a member can however give you an advantage to upgrades.
Did you know that some international vendors charge you exit fees? Also known as departure tax, an exit fee is a fee charged by a country whenever a person is leaving the country by air.They can go up to $30 and sometimes aren’t even included in the advertised ticket price. Remember that research is key in saving, so do diligent research
You know those snacks on the counter, juices and softdrinks on the fridge, and liquor in the minibar? Newsflash: they’re not complimentary. Just don’t touch any of the food items. Don’t even peek in the fridge. Some of them have sensors for whenever someone opens which can become an automatic charge for a restocking fee. Yes, you don’t even have to take anything. The best tip I can give you is to find the closest 7/11 or convenience store and stocking up – you will generally pay half the price!
No, I’m not talking about the ones in your room. In most cases, those are already part of your bill. What I’m talking about is the towel or two that you grab in the pool area or other service areas before you head to the beach. If you’re iffy about using the same towel to sunbathe as you do for actual bathing, then you may want to bring your own towel so the hotel doesn’t charge you for extra towels.
With most car rental companies, there’s always a surcharge for drivers under 25 and over 65. This is because, statistically, people in these age brackets are more prone to accidents. Often times, if you belong in these groups, you won’t be able to get excess waivers and such. Remember that the surcharge can go up to $30 daily, so you might want to rethink letting Nana drive during your holiday.
Don’t ever lose your keys! Whether it’s a room key or a car rental key, aside from the hassle of not being able to get to your room or car, key replacements can cost you hundreds. So if you’re not using your car hire that day, you might want to just leave your keys in your hotel room. In case, heaven forbid, you get pickpocketed you have one less thing to worry about.
For easy, comfortable travel with no hidden costs, book a cheap car hire or airport parking space from Alpha. If it’s time for you to get a car of your own, make everyday travel easy with a reliable car from Alpha Car Finance. Have a happy, easy trip and good luck!