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Watch out for hidden hotel fees

Stealthier than a mosquito, and much more painful: Hidden hotel fees can add a nasty sting to a previously pleasant experience. Ranging from daily resort fees, phone call charges, and state and local taxes, plus a plethora of other creative charges (Internet access, pay-per-view TV, or fuel and energy surcharges), these extras can really add up.

The best way to avoid these surcharges is to call the hotel directly before you book. Be sure to call the hotel’s front desk, not a central reservations line. Ask if there are any per-night charges beyond the room rate, such as daily resort fees, phone calls, etc. Inquire about parking, breakfast, and business-service rates such as Internet access and printing. Finally, ask what the area’s hotel tax rate is—that way you’ll get a better perspective of what your total hotel price will be.

Armed with such knowledge, you can compare true costs among the properties that interest you, and won’t have any (unpleasant) surprises later.

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