8 Hidden Hotel Fees to Look Out For

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iStock

A few decades ago, the listed price of a hotel room was the amount that you paid, and any unexpected fees slipped into your bill at the end of your stay would have been unusual. Today, hidden hotel fees are the norm. A room that seemed like a great steal may turn out to cost much more than advertised when you’re charged for basic services and amenities you thought came standard. To avoid an unpleasant surprise at check-out, research these common hidden fees before planning your next trip.

1. RESORT FEE

man pays bill at the hotel desk
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Resort fees may be one of the sneakiest ways that hotels trick customers into paying more. Here’s how they work: On a booking search engine or a hotel’s website, a certain room may be listed for a flat rate—$150 a night, for example—and you book it because it falls right within your budget. Then, when you arrive at the hotel, you're charged an extra $50 a night. In the past, resort fees were exclusively charged by actual resorts in order to help maintain expensive facilities like fitness centers and tennis courts. But now, even budget hotels are tacking the charge onto their bills to cover basic (and sometimes unnecessary) services such as Wi-Fi, newspapers, phone calls, and faxes. The fee may only add up to a couple bucks per night or as much as $65. To see if you’re being charged a resort fee, read the fine print before booking as the extra cost often isn’t included in the total price.

2. EXTRA PERSON FEE

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A quick way to inflate the price of your hotel room is to bring an extra guest along for your stay. If a room is meant to fit two people, inviting in a third adult may cost you an additional $20 to $50 for every night they’re there. (Kids can usually get away with staying without the extra charge.) Give the exact amount of guests when booking to get an accurate price, and if you plan on sneaking someone in, just be aware that you might end up with a surprise on your bill if you get caught.

3. WI-FI FEE

woman drinks from cup and uses laptop on hotel bed
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If you’re traveling for work, or if you can’t go more than 24 hours without Netflix, make sure Wi-Fi is included in the cost of your hotel room before you reserve it. Many places offer complimentary Wi-Fi, but there are plenty of popular chains and luxury hotels still charge up to $20 a night just to browse the internet. Check a hotel’s Wi-Fi policy before you book, or if you want to save some cash, be prepared to stay unplugged for the duration of your stay.

4. PARKING FEE

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Are you taking your car to the hotel? Leaving it in the parking lot may come at a high price. Some hotels in major cities offer valet-only parking, which can cost upwards of $75 a night. Then, there are the hotels that charge all their guests an automatic parking fee whether or not they parked their car there. If you find that you’re being charged for a parking spot you never used, ask the hotel if you can get the fee removed from your bill. And if you do have a car you need to find space for, save some money by leaving it in a public parking garage that’s not far from the hotel property.

5. EARLY CHECK-IN/EARLY CHECK-OUT FEES

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Checking in to a hotel room before the agreed-upon time—even if the room is ready—could land you with a fee up to $50. This one can be avoided easily by killing time leading up to check-in, but fees for early check-out are a bit trickier. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to end your scheduled hotel stay a day early, you may be asked to pay between $50 and the cost of a full night.

6. SAFE FEE

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Safes are one of those hotel room staples that many guests rarely use. Regardless of whether you touched your safe between check-in and check-out, some hotels may charge you just for being in the same room with one. At some budget hotels this fee can come out to about $1.50—just small enough to go under your radar when the bill is calculated. But if you do notice that you’ve been charged a safe fee, don’t be afraid to contest it. It may be hard to prove you never used one, however, so it’s best to ask a hotel if they have a safe fee in advance when possible.

7. PET FEE

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Finding a pet-friendly hotel may not be enough if you want to take an affordable vacation with your four-legged friend—you also need to research any potential pet fees the hotel charges. Some hotels ask customers with pets to pay a flat “cleaning” fee of $50 to $100 even if their pet didn’t make a mess. Other hotels charge on a nightly basis, usually between $10 and $25. Fortunately there are plenty of hotels out there that try to appeal to pet owners by waiving these extra fees and even offering pet beds and treats.

8. COFFEE MAKER FEE

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You may think that complimentary coffee first thing in the morning is the very least a hotel can offer, but even that can have a hidden cost. Some hotels have started charging guests a few extra dollars just for using the coffee makers in their rooms. If you read the fine print on your hotel bill and see the words “coffee-maker fee,” you’re better off scrounging for free coffee in the lobby.

This Gorgeous Vintage Edition of Clue Sets the Perfect Mood for a Murder Mystery

WS Game Company
WS Game Company

Everyone should have a few good board games lying around the house for official game nights with family and friends and to kill some time on the occasional rainy day. But if your collection leaves a lot to be desired, you can class-up your selection with this great deal on the Vintage Bookshelf Edition of Clue for $40.

A brief history of Clue

'Clue' Vintage Bookshelf Edition.
WS Game Company.

Originally titled Murder!, Clue was created by a musician named Anthony Pratt in Birmingham, England, in 1943, and he filed a patent for it in 1944. He sold the game to Waddington's in the UK a few years later, and they changed the name to Cluedo in 1949 (that name was a mix between the words clue and Ludo, which was a 19th-century game.) That same year, the game was licensed to Parker Brothers in the United States, where it was published as Clue. Since then, there have been numerous special editions and spinoffs of the original game, not to mention books and a television series based on it. Most notably, though, was the cult classic 1985 film Clue, which featured Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, and Lesley Ann Warren.

As you probably know, every game of Clue begins with the revelation of a murder. The object of the game is to be the first person to deduce who did it, with what weapon, and where. To achieve that end, each player assumes the role of one of the suspects and moves strategically around the board collecting clues.

With its emphasis on logic and critical thinking—in addition to some old-fashioned luck—Clue is a masterpiece that has stood the test of time and evolved with each decade, with special versions of the game hitting shelves recently based on The Office, Rick and Morty, and Star Wars.

Clue Vintage Bookshelf Edition

'Clue' Vintage Library Edition.
WS Game Company

The Vintage Bookshelf Edition of Clue is the work of the WS Game Company, a licensee of Hasbro, and all the design elements are inspired by the aesthetic of the 1949 original. The game features a vintage-looking game board, cards, wood movers, die-cast weapons, six pencils, an ivory-colored die, an envelope, and a pad of “detective notes.” And, of course, everything folds up and stores inside a beautiful cloth-bound book box that you can store right on the shelf in your living room.

Clue Vintage Bookshelf Edition is a limited-release item, and right now you can get it for $40.

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7 Online Tech Course Programs That Will Help You Build New Career Skills

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dusanpetkovic/iStock via Getty Images Plus

It's always a good time to build new career skills, and with these tech-related courses, you can learn anything from the basics of Python to the ins and outs of G Suite. These courses will boost your knowledge of the digital world and help you put some valuable new bullet points on your resume. Many of these courses allow you to read through the materials for free, but if you want to take advantage of graded coursework and earn a certificate of completion to include on your LinkedIn profile or resume at the end, there will be a fee of anywhere from $39 to $49.

1. UI/UX Design Specialization

In this four-class specialization on UI/UX design, you’ll discover how to design digital experiences that users can navigate with ease. Over about four months, you’ll learn the basics of visual communication and you’ll be able to practice gathering user feedback to build intuitive, attractive websites and interfaces.

Sign up on Coursera to take all four courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

2. Python for Everybody

Python is quickly gaining ground as one of the most in-demand programming languages for employers. Plus, its fans say it’s highly readable and approachable for new programmers just starting to learn a coding language. If you want to understand the basics of Python, from 101 principles to more advanced database design, these courses will get you started.

Sign up on Coursera to take all five courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

3. Data Science Professional Certificate

Data science is one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In this nine-course professional certificate program, you’ll start by learning basic data science methodology before moving into how to use Python and SQL to analyze and visualize data to forecast future trends. IBM estimates that you’ll complete the entire certificate in about 10 months if you commit four hours per week, but the timing is flexible enough to suit any schedule.

Sign up on Coursera to take all nine courses in this specialization for $39 a month.

4. Computer Architecture

This course, taught by an electrical engineering professor at Princeton, teaches students how to design computer hardware that supports powerful software. But be forewarned: This is an advanced class intended for students with extensive knowledge in computer science. If you’re looking for a beginner-level course, this class—also from Princeton—may be a better fit.

Sign up on Coursera for free.

5. AI for Everyone

If you’re worried that artificial intelligence will drive you out of the workforce, this course will help. Over the course of four weeks, you’ll learn the basics of what is and isn’t possible through AI—and you may even gain some ideas for how to use AI to augment your own career.

Sign up on Coursera for $49.

6. G Suite Administration Specialization

Become a Google Cloud expert with this series of courses put together by Google itself. Over about two months, you’ll learn management tactics and security guidelines for using Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Calendar. This specialization prepares participants to become G Suite administrators at their respective companies and organizations.

Sign up on Coursera to take all five courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

7. Introduction to Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is near the top of the list of skills employers are looking for, according to LinkedIn. In this introductory course, you’ll gain a basic understanding of cloud-based networks and get some practice working with IBM Cloud.

Sign up on Coursera for $49.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.