Fees Keep Increasing!
Cil Burke BSN
Fall is quickly becoming the travel season at the Burke household. We’re in from the latest meeting in another wonderful city and while we were away we did the usual:
- Ate too much
- Slept too little
- Exercised lite
- Learned a lot
One of the most fun things we did was take a trail ride on our bikes in Winter Garden, Florida. We were headed to a meeting in Orlando, just a few miles south of one of the most beautiful ‘Rails to Trails’ bike paths around, the West Orange Trail.
So, we took our bikes and made the time to stop in and take a great little ride through a gorgeous part of central Florida. The weather was on its best behavior so, close to the end of our ride, we had a ‘picnic’ lunch at a terrific little cafe in downtown Winter Garden. If you get a chance, we highly recommend this scenic ride. It’s not a training ride nor is it long, it’s just a pleasant way to get in some exercise and see some stunning flora and fauna.
The relaxation had to end and the purpose of our trip loomed, so on to the Dolphin Hotel in Orlando, the site of our meeting. If you’ve visited Disney, you know they have developed a world like no other. The Disney corporate folks know how to put a beautiful image out there and I have admired this concept since my first visit to the emerging ‘destination’ in the early 70′s.
As I said, we had a good trip and learned much, the point of attending the meeting. We also endured the usual list of chronically annoying ‘fees’ that hotels tack on to your bill. There was a not too distant time when our biggest complaint was the hotel tax that cities applied to a hotel stay. As the travel industry has struggled along with the rest of corporate America in these heavily taxed and business unfriendly times, the result is the plethora of charges that show up on your bill at check out.
For this trip, I was armed with some information I’d run across in an article in Kiplinger Magazine. The author reports that a record $1.95 billion will be collected by hotels in the way of fees this year. Below are some of the more common charges and some we encountered during our Disney trip. Yes, sometimes you can save yourself some money by getting the charges reversed or better yet, not incurring them in the first place.
The Fees and What to Do About Them
- Resort Fees are new to me, but are alive and well at the Dolphin. Be sure to check with the hotel staff and determine if you will use any of the services covered under this fee. If you do not use the services and the fee is not required, check and make sure these charges don’t turn up on your bill.
- Mini Bar and Snack Bar fee. Most folks have been shocked at the prices charged for these little temptations and so keep their paws away from them. Careful, though, even moving an item can trigger a sensor and therefore a charge for the item. Check your bill and prove to a clerk that the item still exists if you have not succumbed to the fatal attraction.
- Housekeeping Gratuities are often added to your bill. If you usually leave a tip in the room, check the bill and see if you are already being charged a 10% housekeeping charge for this service.
- Telephone Surcharges can be for long distance or local. You’ve got a cell phone, be sure to use it instead of the that germ ridden relic in your room.
- Gym fees have become a staple. If you don’t use the facility, watch for the fee to turn up anyway and have it removed.
All of these charges and fees and many more just like them have begun appearing on the bills of unsuspecting travelers. Keep a sharp eye out and a sharper pencil and eraser at the ready to prevent unnecessary additions to your lodging fees.
Traveling can be fun but expensive. Let’s keep saving those pennies, that’s kinda’ fun, too.
Have you noticed all these crazy fees turning up on your bill? Have you been able to do anything about them? We’re always looking for help-please share.
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