Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in Living on the Cheap.
We are about to enter what is traditionally one of the busiest travel seasons of the year. If you’re planning to travel this season and you’re a Living on a Budget reader, chances are you’ve done your homework and researched the best travel deals on hotels, attractions, and packages on our site. But you should also be aware of additional costs that can creep into your travel budget.
These expenses may not be advertised beforehand, but don’t allow yourself to be billed for something that is unnecessary or cheap. Here are seven sneaky travel expenses, and how to avoid them.
Hotel self parking fee
You can save money by choosing not to use your hotel’s valet parking option, but be aware that many larger hotels will also charge a fee to park your own car on their premises. This fee can add an additional $15 or $20 to your daily room rate. Make sure you ask about self-parking costs before booking a room. Depending on your travel plans, it may be cheaper to use a shuttle service than to rent and park your own vehicle.
Many hotels charge $10 or more per day to bring wireless internet to your hotel room. But what hotels often don’t tell you is that many offer free services in lobbies and other public areas. If you only plan to go online for the occasional check email or surf while on vacation, consider skipping the cost of in-room Wi-Fi, and taking a trip to the hotel lobby with your device.
Another option is to look into a hotel chain’s loyalty program. Joining is free, and many networks offer members free in-room Wi-Fi.
Hotel mini fridge
Do not open the hotel mini fridge door. Even if you fight the urge to grab a midnight snack from him, you may still end up being charged on your bill: Some hotels charge a fee if they determine that the mini fridge door has been opened or contents moved around.
Business center printing
Many hotels make it very clear that you will be charged for each page you print from their business center. But some hotels make exceptions: For example, some hotels don’t charge a fee to print a boarding pass for your return flight. Check with your hotel before you score anything to see if there are any exceptions to the fee.
Are you planning to take a gift with you when you travel? Sometimes, you can save money by sending your package early so it doesn’t count against the weight of your luggage on the plane. However, if you are going to stay at a hotel, be careful with the incoming package fees. Some hotels will charge $5 or more for each box they receive on your behalf. Before you ship, check with your hotel to see if there is a box pick-up fee. If so, ask if they can be released.
Even if you avoid the fees mentioned above, some hotels charge a lot of extra fees at checkout. Many travelers are surprised to find a gym use fee or newspaper delivery fee tacked to their bill. If you’re staying at a resort, ask for a special list of extra fees for extra services, and be sure to avoid the ones you don’t want.
If you plan to go somewhere warm, be aware that some beach areas or resorts will charge a daily fee for use of the water toys. It is very convenient that you do not need to pack water cannons, inner tubes and rafts, but those costs can add up. It might be better to go to the local big shop for cheap toys, and then leave them for the next guest.