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Careful! All those items in your hotel room may cost you

SmarterTravel

Ever had an otherwise-pleasant hotel stay turn bad upon receiving your checkout bill? As many travelers are discovering, extras on a hotel bill often go way beyond the minibar. Fees for Internet access, phone calls, use of the in-room safe, and other charges can really add up—and are especially unwelcome if you’re unaware of all the costs.

When deciding on a hotel for your trip, be sure to call the property’s front desk (not a central reservations line) to determine what’s included in your per-night rate. Items to ask about include using the hotel’s fitness center, per-day parking charges, Wi-Fi service, business-center access, and fuel or energy surcharges. Additionally, be sure to ask if the hotel has a daily fee—this is more common at resorts offering multiple services. Finally, if you like to use room service or request pay-per-view movies, find out what charges are associated with your preferred extras.

The last item to ask about? Taxes and user fees, particularly in Europe. European hotels may have value-added taxes (VAT) that can add an extra punch to your bill. Find out in advance what you’ll have to pay so there are no surprises later.

Have a great travel tip you’d like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to editor@smartertravel.com.

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