Sneaky vacation surcharges that can blow your budget

Don't Waste Your Money
Posted at 2:47 PM, Jul 15, 2016

I just got back from a wonderful week on Florida's panhandle.

We had  a great rental condo, a beautiful beach, and good weather, but wow, the extra surcharges sure added up.

So I have a caution before your next beach getaway.

Lower Initial Price....but....

More and more travel destinations are lowering the initial price --so you find them in your web search --  then adding features a la carte.

For instance, many beach hotels want to keep that initial quote below $199, so they find all sorts of ways to do it.

We certainly found that on our recent vacation, where they wanted $50 a day to rent a pair of beach chairs and umbrella.

So we  ended up wandering down and sitting in the outcast section of the beach, in the middle of other families who had run out out to Target or Walmart once they got to their destination, to grab beach chairs.

Fees to Watch For

The most common fees to watch for, according to Smarter

  • $25 a night resort fee (which can be as high as $40 a night at some upscale hotels)
  • $10 parking fee at many beach hotels.
  • $25 housekeeping fee, if its a suite or condo.
  • $10 a day speedy or "premium WiFi fee, if the free WiFi is too slow for your needs.

Owner Sites Have Hidden Fees Too

But from the "doesn't that stink" file, why  rental-by-owner sites may no longer save much compared to booking through a resort.

VRBO and Home Away recently raised fees for owners, which most are passing on to renters.

For example: one beach condo  listing we found in the Destin, FL area. The initial price was $300 a night for a 2-bedroom, 2-bath luxury beachside condo.

But read the fine print, and you learn you have to add a:

  • $79 reservation fee.
  • $99 damage wavier.
  • And a whopping $350 cleaning fee.

Doesn't that stink? I'll come clean your condo for a lot less than $350.

So watch for hidden fees, whether it is at a hotel, condo complex, or by owner rental:  Any of them can nab you for an extra hundred bucks or more if you're not careful.

So don't waste your money.


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